It’s a touchy subject to many poker fans and poker players, but this week saw the World Poker Tour tournament director Matt Savage bring up the age-old question on Twitter.
Having seen a three-way deal dominate the recent $3,500-entry WPT Borgata Poker Open, here’s what the final three players won:
With the best will in the world, those prize amounts presented like that at the end of the event don’t do justice to the action that has gone before. Some fans commented on the deal, preferring poker players to have more to play for in the last knockings of any event.
Players, however, struck a different note, and plenty of them were prepared to wade in on Twitter to tell us their own ideas.
“Allow deals but keep 10% to play for and all seats and trophies.” said former WPT Player of the Year and Champions Club member Matt Salsberg. If anyone knows narrative, it’s Salsberg, who currently writes for the Jim Carrey series Kidding.
Another prominent voice in poker is Kevin Mathers, who had his own view on the perfect solution.
“Play for WPT [Tournament of Champions] seat and set aside portion of prize pool to the winner,” said Mathers. “Publicize details of the deal on recap/updates. If final table is streamed, deal discussion between players out in the open [and] evenly distribute WPT POY points among the participants in deal. You could even add an #ActionClock on the amount of time players can discuss a deal.”
Others weren’t even so dismissive of any deal as something that needed to be accommodated. According to some, there’s just as much of interest in the deal itself as in the poker.
“Allow deals.” said 2019 WSOP bracelet winner Ari Engel. “Points are awarded proportionally per $ received. Have it all out in the open. Deal talk is actually fascinating and often makes for great TV/entertainment.”
Dan O’Brien was another to insist that deals should be allowed and even encouraged.
“Very player unfriendly not to allow deals.” P’Brien declared, also stating, “I’d allow any monetary deals but force the true winner to take the seat and if there’s any collusion cut their hands off.”
Slightly over the top, but it opens the question as to how you’d police it. Players have done deals in many different ways over the years. Both heads-up players ask for a 5-minute ‘restroom break’? A deal probably went down. If three players discuss a deal and get a laptop out, you can guarantee that they’re looking at the ICM numbers.
Whether the World Poker Tour – or any tour for that matter – approve deals, they’re going to happen. Should they be part of the coverage? That’s another question, and one that poses problems either way whichever answer you choose. But for the WPT and Matt Savage in particular to reach out to fans to find out their thoughts at least tells us one thing – the World Poker Tour actually care about what the players and viewers think before committing to any decision.
In this new age of poker, that’s a good deal for anyone.