The 2012 annual Canadian Open Poker Championships finally came to a close at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino in Calgary. A total of 10 events were played and managed to produce some respectable attendance numbers. But what was once considered to be one of Canada’s top live tournament series has sadly been on the decline over the past couple of years. The 2012 COPC closed off with a total of 700 entries and a combined prize pool of $474,275 over 10 events. By contrast, there were a total of 1,657 entries in 2010 for a combined prize pool of $1,355,000 over 11 events played.
There have been several inconsistencies with buy-in amounts year to year. Granted, some of this can be due to fine tuning, but overall the numbers speak for themselves. Poker players like to keep things simple and when it comes to big tournaments, they are creatures of habit and drastic changes are not always well received unless they are done right.
Here are a few examples:
Last year’s main event was a $1,650 buy-in with 116 players and a prize pool of $166,750. This year the organizers went a bit more ambitious with the buy-in at $2,200 but saw a drop in the prize pool to $123,500 with only 65 participants. Richard Quach of Calgary won that event and $40,000, the largest payout of the tournament.
Another event was the PLO. Last year it was a $550 buy-in with a $42,975 prize pool from 90 entrants and in 2012 it became a $1,100 buy-in with 25 players and a $23,750. Kenneth Tarabula won the PLO event this year and $12,000.
The signature Heads Up Challenge, a $5,000 buy-in event traditionally with a very good structure, was changed to a $2,000 buy-in in 2011 and back to a $5,000 buy-in 2012. The winner in 2010, Matt Jarvis, took home $100,000. In 2012, the entire prize pool was a mere $52,440 leaving this year’s winner Terrence Chan with $34,000. In all fairness, the Heads Up format doesn’t appear to be as popular as it used to with poker players, with other well known HU tournaments such as the LAPC also not achieving high numbers with 16 players, despite their added marketing power and having more poker players in close proximity.
With the overall prize pools dropping, it’s becoming less and less attractive for out of Province players to invest in travelling to play in the series.
The COPC organizers need to do something drastic or promote better for that matter if they are to keep the COPC series alive and prominent.