With online numbers rising (Online poker has seen a 30% growth this year by some estimates) it was surprising to see roughly 50% of the FTOPS tournaments fail to reach the guaranteed amount. Upon closer inspection, Full Tilt might have no one to blame but itself.
You see, a mere 5 minutes after each event Full Tilt ran a similar tournament Ėwith a smaller buy-in- dubbed the MiniFTOPS, and these were the tournaments that attracted the huge fields. Obviously smaller buy-in tournaments will attract larger fields, but one has to wonder at the prudence of Full Tiltís bigwigs to offer a cheaper alternative so close together.
Perhaps the most telling statistic is that the main event of the FTOPS failed to reach its $2.5 million guarantee, drawing only 4,581 entries and requiring a $200,000 overlay by Full Tilt! Starting just minutes later, the MiniFTOPS event easily overtook the guaranteed prize pool, with a buy-in one-tenth of the FTOPS Main Event. It would appear that the cheaper tournament (with a very respectable $500,000 guarantee) cannibalized the larger tournamentís entries.
With the buy-in being 1/10th the amount, and the prize pool being 1/5th you can see how many players would choose the cheaper tournament to play in.
I also have to wonder if the FTOPS suffers from overkill; Full Tilt runs these tournaments quarterly Ėcompared to Poker Stars version which runs once a year- and it may be that the events have simply lost the luster they once had.
However, Poker Stars recently ran into a similar problem when 9 of the 22 events in their SCOOP series failed to reach the guaranteed prize pool. Hopefully the two giants of the industry will learn from their mistakes, and make sure the larger buy-in events are the focal point of their tournament schedule.
Even with the tournament fees collected from 4,581 players Full Tilt lost about $39,000 when they had to kick in $200,000 of the guaranteed prize pool. What should have been a whirlwind of money coming into the site turned into one of the bigger gaffes an online site has committed in recent memory.
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May 18th, 2009 #1
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Lower than expected turnout for Full Tiltís FTOPS XII
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