Are tournaments worth it?

Apr 9, 2001 3:05 AM

   During the early years of my video poker life, although there were not many tournaments that I knew about, I always looked forward to participating in them when I could. Whether they were video poker or slots did not matter. I had just as much chance as anyone in the short time allotted for play, and I could be the lucky one. And that was the general feeling among players. Plus, you got to meet and talk to quite a few other interesting players from around the country — something gamblers seldom do while involved in their favorite games on the casino floor.

   Today it seems some of the luster is gone, even though the prizes are at an all-time high. A $50,000 invitational is common these days, and many of them go much higher. Those invited are usually the casino’s best players — the ones most likely to do exactly what it is the casino asked them in for — lose money, and plenty of it.

   It’s common sense that if the casino were not taking in far more than they gave away in comps and prizes during the tournament, we would rarely see such events. But that is not the case. The odd thing is that we are always reading about folks who regularly attend these things, and I have to wonder why. Are they trying to impress us with the fact that they can sustain losing, or that they are simply special because they were invited? Either way, you can almost be guaranteed that these are nothing more than big-ticket losers strutting their stuff.

   Regardless, the half dozen or so slot tournaments I’ve been to in the past four years have been enjoyable. Contrary to this, I’ve been to one video poker tournament during that timeframe, after which I immediately made up my mind to never again waste time on such an event.


   Well, it certainly was not the fault of the casino, which almost always puts on a great show. It was an atmosphere filled with play strategizing, egos, and little fun. Unlike slot tournaments, where everyone has an equal opportunity to win every prize, there are some who attend video poker tournaments that actually think they can beat everyone using some type of strategy.

   Forgive me if I’m wrong, but what strategy other than hoping for a lucky streak can any attendee use during the short time allowed for play? Superiority complexes are a turnoff in such tournaments, and it ruins it for all the others who are just there to try and win something while having a good time.

   And it’s all in the cards…