Speed Championships In Estonia 1
Keith Sloan is a well
respected Tournament Director from
down-under who, like all Aussies, has
mastered the art of subtlety. So it was no
surprise that to launch his 'World Speed
Poker Championships' he promised
uncompromising paint ball sessions, and a
bevy of beautiful models (disguised as
'clock' girls). As usual, I fell for his
patter, hook, line and sinker, and made my
way over to Estonia.
The paint ball was a bluff, but the bevy
of beauties was not. They were not the
only pleasant welcome in Estonia though.
The event was held at 'The Monte Carlo'
casino, which was right next door to my
Scandic Hotel. To add to this convenience,
they kindly placed a sauna behind the
shower in my room. (I may have even lost
weight on the trip!) Generally though, the
thing I noticed most was the attitude of
the taxi drivers, hotel staff and bar
staff. Everybody was nice, pleasant, and
always smiling. What a refreshing change
from Blighty. Even the bar staff were
pleasant when I couldn't speak the local
lingo! Errrr, just like Paris?
Most players had got exactly the wrong
impression from the title of 'The World
Speed Poker Championship'. We thought the
word 'speed' referred to the structure,
and that the event may be a bit of a
'crapshoot'. This could not have been
further from the truth. Each player was
only allowed 15 seconds to act. So when we
had 30 minutes for any given level,
instead of getting the normal 10 to 15
hands in the half hour, we did in fact get
approximately 40 hands in half an hour. So
there was in fact more play in the
tournament than usual. (So I have no
excuse for finishing a lowly 7th).
The speed of the game, combined with
playing short handed, brought an extra
level of intensity to the play. There were
no stoppages in play (a second dealer
would shuffle a second pack while the
current hand was in play), no
concentration gaps, and the five minute
toilet breaks every hour were most
welcome. The funny thing was that when all
the players got into 'the flow' of the
game, most decisions were instantaneous,
and unfortunately, this meant that the
clock girls were rarely used. Although the
models may have got a little bored, the
Players didn't. Every player who took part
in the tournament loved it.
I should add that the winner was a very
nice chap from Norway: Henning Granstad.
He played an excellent balanced aggressive
game, and was thought of as a worthy
winner by everyone I spoke to. Yes, the
best player won. How unusual?
Hopefully in the future, normal live
tournaments will find some way of
incorporating a player decision time
clock. It will certainly help the TV
Producers. Not to mention the poor old
viewers. Of course, this has been standard
practice, and one of the great advantages
of Internet tournaments, since their
inception... Look out Carlo and Surinder,
this is the future...
See you next week!