Already billed as the “most prestigious tournament ever to take place in Canada”, The Grand Loto-Quebec $25,000 buy-in Poker Tournament will award a $1,000,000 seat into “The Big 1 For One Drop” during the 2012 World Series of Poker.
In what could quite certainly turn out to be considered a “winner take all” format, the May 19th & 20th satellite of sorts will most likely be met by mixed opinion in the poker community; the humor based story lines of “The Micros” animated poker series and 2007 poker satire “The Grand” seem to jump immediately to mind…as extravagant and in the upper atmosphere the idea seems on the surface however, one has to remember that one of poker’s most serious humanitarian undertakings is the reason behind all of this and will truly change the world of far less fortunate people.
The format is sure to met with mixed opinions however; even without any rake it will take 40 players just to eliminate any overlay on the seat into the million dollar buy-in alone. Throw in another $80,000 to cover the $5,000 “VIP” packages to attend the event that will go to the top 16 and you are looking at about one seat for every 45 players that participate; not the kind of odds most professional poker players are looking for and big risk to most bankrolls. On top of that, there is the fact that this is simply a satellite, and not a million in the bank; the winner will then have to face a field of what will have a fair number of the best high-stakes players in the world…though it may also award the largest 1st place prize in poker history.
With only a handful of players bankrolled to buy right in and even less with the guts (or bankroll management sense) to do so, satellites like these as well as the smaller “steps” events leading up to it on Espacejeux and at Casino du Montreal, Lac-Leamy, Charlevoix, Mont Tremblant, Salon de jeux de Quebec and de Trois-Rivieres are the only realistic way this massive vision is going to meet the high expectations. A “scratch & win” campaign is also set to begin in Quebec beginning in February; with $2 and $5 tickets putting winners into both the $25,000 Grand Loto-Quebec Poker Tournament and “VIP Experience” packages.
The sheer randomness of who might actually ended up playing in Montreal next month is a double-edged sword that just might end up making it work; we predict that a lot of “high-rollers” outside the poker world might just find the cause and the stakes worth getting dressed up for…business tycoons who also “like them some poker” or Canada’s professional Hockey players, who time and time again have happily “donated” large buy-ins or a ridiculous amount of re-buys simple to support charity while having some fun at the felts.
Poker also has many solid ambassadors that can recoup the cost of this long shot entry on any given night of their nose-bleed cash sessions; knowing that they will be feeding and participating in a prize-pool that will help others in need against a softer field with a much high percentage than normal of “dead money”, might just put enough check marks on the positive side of the checklist to take part.
Others will definitely shun the whole format all together; already there has been much debate on how the “Big 1 For One Drop” event during the 2012 WSOP will provide those with deep pockets to “almost” buy themselves a bracelet while taking over the top spot on the “All Time Money List” in one single event; the numbers and accomplishments accumulated over the last thirty years will now be severely askew depending on point of view. These might not be the best reasons morally not to be in support of a charity event, but they are what they are, and most definitely have been “put out there”.
One thing we know for sure is that players and fans alike will be curious to see who shows up, what the “numbers” will be. From start to finish, everything leading up to this unprecedented tournaments could very well make for a Hollywood worthy “Rags to Riches” story.
What do you think? Will we a new poker celebrity rise from obscurity? Will this the start of a new “Moneymaker” story the poker world has been praying for? Will The Grand Loto-Quebec Tournament earn it’s claim of being the most “prestigious tournament ever to be held in Canada” or have the sights been set just to high?