POKER

Is it time to bin Poker’s Triple Crown and replace it with a Grand Slam?

TAGs: grand slam, PartyPoker, PokerStars

With the PokerStars Championship losing its sheen, and the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS making an important beginning, is it time to give poker’s Triple Crown a makeover?

When Chris Moorman won his World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet this week, I mentioned in my write up that he was one title away from winning the Triple Crown.

But what title is that exactly?

In 2008, Gavin Griffin became the first person to win a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet, European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event, and World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event.

The poker media declared the triumvirate: The Triple Crown.

Abseiling into the frame like a bunch of puffed up paratroopers came Roland De Wolfe, Jake Cody, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, and more recently Davidi Kitai. And by the end of the World Series these seven players could join them:

1. Roberto Romanello
2. Mohsin Charania
3. Andrey Pateychuk
4. Mortiz Kranich
5. Harrison Gimbel
6. Niall Farrell
7. Mike Watson

Ten players require a WPT title to make the grade:

1. Ram Vaswani
2. Jason Mercier
3. Adrian Mateos
4. Rob Hollink
5. John Juanda
6. Sebastian Ruthenberg
7. Carter Phillips
8. Maxim Lykov
9. Kevin MacPhee
10. Liv Boeree

And then you have 48 people who need an EPT title to also fall underneath the sewing machine needle and woven into poker’s history.

Wait.

Is it time to bin Poker’s Triple Crown and replace it with a Grand Slam?Nobody can win an EPT title because PokerStars killed it.

Dead.

Buried.

The end.

Triple Crown; Grand Slam; Thank You, Mam

As I type, I am aware that I am as premature as a teenage boy, but bear with me.

The PokerStars Championship Main Event seems like the obvious choice to replace the EPT Main Event in the Triple Crown feel of things. After all, they are the same thing. But I get a distinct impression that the players don’t feel like they are the same thing.

I am sure that PokerStars were hoping that a Championship win would set of a fanfare of Kalashnikov AK-47’s firing into the air, but since they began, all I hear are BB Gun Pellets.

Mohsin Charania is a WSOP bracelet win away from joining the Triple Crown. Here is what he had to say about the standing of the PokerStars Championship.

“I don’t think it’s as prestigious {PokerStars Championship} because the prize pools are so low and the buy-ins aren’t the same. I guess I’ll say prestige is partly tied to how big first place is and it’s hard to say PokerStars Championship with 1st being $400-500k is any different than say a random WPT in Jacksonville with the same prize pool. I think the EPT’s were a bigger deal because of how big the fields got but again winning it for a big amount I probably have a bias.”

 Niall Farrell also needs a WSOP bracelet to join the illustrious crew, and he feels the same as Charania when it comes to which tour is the most prestigious.

“The EPT hands down. They had bigger prize pools and bigger first places, and just the overall ‘feel’ of the EPT is much grander than the Championships so far.”

 And on that point about prestige, Charania had this to say, from the perspective of a high-stakes professional poker player.

I think the term prestige is kind of old school. It’s like the concept of winning 5+ bracelets. I don’t think people under 30 really care about these things. I don’t think anyone says, “Oh man, I would rather win a 1500$ NL WSOP bracelet event for $390k instead of a $5k side event somewhere that no one’s heard of for $410k for example. Maybe if you are Phil Hellmuth, the bracelet means more to you.

“And the “prestige” that comes with it? I think most youngish players nowadays don’t really care as much and don’t find most things as prestigious as older players. They just play what’s on the schedule and hope to make the most money they can.”

And there is a new tour on that schedule.

In April, Maria Lampropulos defeated a field of God knows how many live and online players to win the £1m first prize in the £6m Guaranteed partypoker LIVE MILLIONS, and like Stars Wars Episode IV you get the feeling they have only just plugged their lightsabers into charge mode.

Ironically, partypoker installed the EPT founder John Duthie, into the position as partypoker LIVE President, and the pull of the potential is so strong, Mike Sexton left his post at the World Poker Tour to become Chairman. And the players they are adding to the ambassadorial team all seem to be singing a beautiful, inspiring message.

Let’s take a look at the recent shenanigans in Sochi, Russia.

Partypoker was the first to enter the space when they held a $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Millions event and Dmitry Chop beat a field of 1,170 entrants to take the $225,000 first prize.

Then came the might of the PokerStars machine with the PokerStars Championship, but the PokerStars National Championship event (the buy-in equivalent to the Millions) only attracted 756 players when Georgy Philippovich won the $112,712 first prize.

I can’t wait until September to see if the Millions bigger brother beats the 387 entrant field created by the PokerStars Championship Sochi event.

I expect it will, and so does Charania.

“Absolutely, Party can surpass PokerStars in the live arena and in some ways has already done so. I don’t think players are loyal to any one company because companies aren’t really loyal to players. It may take another year or two, but if Party is churning out these big prize pools and having tournaments in fun cities like Montreal, I think people will go.”

So, although we are early doors, is there a possibility that sometime in the future the partypoker LIVE flagship tour becomes prettier and more prestigious than a PokerStars Championship and if so what happens to our coveted Triple Crown?

Should We Act Now?

I say we get ahead of the curve, save any embarrassment and change the Triple Crown to the Grand Slam. Wipe the slate clean, and make this club even more elite by making it harder to take a seat.

If we add the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS event to the mix, then we have four events, putting us on par with tennis. But poker is better than tennis, so why don’t we make it five events with the addition of the Aussie Millions Main Event?

If we made this change, then the current Triple Crown incumbents remain the front-runners with Aussie Millions and partypoker MILLIONS titles needed to create a Grand Slam, and Gus Hansen also joins them as a previous WSOP, WPT, and Aussie Millions winner.

Thoughts?

Will the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS overtake the PokerStars Championship regarding prestige, largesse, and popularity? And if that happens, should the Triple Crown change?

Or should we change the Triple Crown to the Grand Slam and include the MILLIONS and Aussie Millions Main Event to make it a quintet?

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