Barry Carter: Negreanu Takes a Stand Against the EPT

Barry Carter discusses the merits of Daniel Negreanu's recent protest against the EPT's policy of penalising the stacks of latecomers into tournaments.

Daniel Negreanu
Negreanu Speaks His Mind
If you are one of the 131095 people who follow Daniel Negreanu on twitter, you may have noticed over the last few days that he has taken a stand against the European Poker Tour because of their policy of penalising the stacks of latecomers to their events.

So if someone has registered in advance but doesn't arrive at the start they get blinded away until they take their seat. If they buy in late, they receive less than the initial starting stack.

Negreanu is not happy about this, and chose to boycott the remainder of the side events at EPT London in protest.

Here are a selection of some of his tweets:

"@PokerStars please tell the tournament directors that the rest of the poker world. Including PokerStars does it right and they do it WRONG.'

'Please tell the floor #EPTLondon that late registration without a fresh stack is absurdly wrong. WSOP, WPT do it right. #ANNOYING'

'Players LOVE the option of late registration so MOST tours cater to them but not the EPT guys. They are driving me absolutely crazy.'

'I've always promised to be a "truth speaker" regardless of who deserves the venom. This is so retarded.'

'I'm doing it for the players. They are all supporting my effort to fix things.'

One of my pet peeves in life is lateness (I am usually the first person to greet the dealer), but even more, I hate bad customer service. I can't help but think KidPoker is on to something with his latest protest.

Someone who registers late is after all a customer, and this practice is surely only going to alienate players who arrive late (Or arrived on time and were forced to be alternates).

They paid their rake like everyone else, and in the case of an event like an EPT high roller they paid a lot of rake, and I have never been a fan of any practice that looks like punishment to a paying customer.

My local gym used to fine people £1 for forgetting their membership card, a petty pointless practice which somehow enraged me more than some of the biggest injustices I have suffered. I can see why small things like this can piss poker players off.

Let us not forget also that our target audience, poker players, are among the tardiest consumers in the world. If we are going to start penalising them for being late, we may as well fine people for being drunk in bars.

Critical Decisions

Customer service aside, let us look at the actual impact of a late player arriving with a full stack vs a depleted one. The old adage of 'you cant win a tournament on day 1' is very appropriate here. The stacks are usually deep and 95% of the field is still in attendance during the late registration period. So a few orbits worth of blinds should never really factor into a critical hand decision yet.

Some people will make the argument that arriving four levels late with a full stack is an advantage, because you have already outlasted X number of players without losing a chip. I can only see such an argument applying to a really weird satellite overlay situation with a small field and a lot of guaranteed seats.

When you start a tournament on level 4 with the normal starting stack, you are already at a disadvantage, because you have less than the average stack. Starting late in a tournament actually has an opportunity cost attached to it, the later you start, the bigger the disadvantage. Penalising players further is only really going to put players off late registering in the first place, which is a lose-lose for both the tournament prize pool for the players, and the loss in rake for the organisers.

There is of course the issue that pre-registered players who arrive late have their stack waiting for them, and are thus blinding away from the start, whereas players who register late have their stack brought to the table with them. This could be said to be a disadvantage for those who register in advance but get held up.

This could be solved easily, by simply having the stacks being put into play when the player arrives at the table. This would also surely make it easier for the dealer to do their job beforehand, by not having to manage the stack on the late player's behalf.

I can imagine hundreds of small situations where giving late players a full stack can have an impact, but none of them being more significant for the players or organisers than negatives of latecomers deciding not to play at all.

Standardising The Rules

Is it worth Daniel Negreanu taking a stand against the EPT like this and boycotting the side events? I notice rather sensibly he didn't do this during the main event. There are bigger issues affecting poker right now than blinding off late stacks, that is for certain.

But you cannot fault a man for calling out his sponsor's flagship tour when he thinks they are wrong about something. Especially when you consider the turmoil that is taking place over at Full Tilt Poker, where 99% of the Red Pros have remained silent on monumentally bigger issues.

I happen to agree with him this time, but should we change the rules just because Daniel said they are wrong? Absolutely not. Negreanu has established himself somewhat as the 'Robin Hood' of poker, and regularly finds himself speaking out on issues others in his position would avoid like the plague. He tends to speak his mind about a lot of things, but it doesn't mean he is always right.

But where he does help poker is that, right or wrong, he gets people talking and taking notice. This issue is not the biggest issue to affect poker, but perhaps if it brings a few more of the right people into the larger discussion of standardising the rules of live tournament poker, maybe Kid Poker has done his job.

follow @Barry_Carter on Twitter.

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Comments (9)

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  • datsmahname


    I can see EPT's point. If you're allowed to late reg with a full stack or reg early, insure your spot, and blind down... this creates another problem.

    Then theres an argument for registered players who show up late to not being blinded down until late registration ends. This opens up a whole can of worms for players who are already in the field that are obviously playing blinds.

    Players do love late registration in the live events, but it sounds like even this is going through some growing pains.
  • sinsas


    this rule of EPT is just dumb
  • fishlock


    Simple, don't turn up late
  • i5bet72o


    i agree with negraneau here, the rule is stupid
  • NatRPheM


    So retarded by EPT, I agree with Daniel 100%

    If people keep taking piss and not standing up against all the bullshit the world becomes well... kinda what it is today. It starts insignificant, but have enough individual "insignificant" changes you or people in general don`t believe in and you end up with a major problem.

    Lets say nobody said anything about this, that would mean that the EPT or whoever else would simply think "ahh nobody will disagree if we change that or that without having any logical reason to do so".

    Silence is the most idiotic thing ever if you disagree, it portrays the opposite image since silence equals acceptance.

    I do not agree with DN on everything, but I love that he speaks his mind and tells you if he agrees or disagrees and why.
  • Tim64


    Is it's quite clear that, having registered, you need to start paying your blinds from the beginning of the tournament. Anything else would just be unfair to the players who are sat at the table having to pay the blinds.

    As to late registration, I would say it confers no particular advantage to the late registrant. Yes, they have the advantage that some players will already have been knocked out, so the field is smaller and they will have to fight through less people if they eventually get to the money. On the other hand, the blinds are higher in relation to their stack when they arrive which means they probably get to play less speculative hands, thereby reducing the possibility of getting an early double up.
  • svendeucer


    late reg is fine .it seems like ept just wanted to be different from other series. they should however review the pre reg players getting blinded out sitch. just logical.
  • supergaijin


    @6 if you are going to allow full stack for late reg then you can't blind of late arrivals; that would be unfair.
  • svendeucer


    @9 agreed , and really so long as late reg is not ten levels in you are only doing yourself a disfavour by not being there.