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Side Events --about the money

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Wednesday, 11 February 2015, at 4:06 p.m.

In Response To: Side Events (1st of a few posts) (neilkaz)

One thing Neil listed as a reason for more side events is another way for the tournament to generate some income. And that is valid. If they take a little higher rake, many players seem to get upset and many feel that will hurt attendance. First, that surprises me...remember, only the winners pay for the rake, and that means it doesn't affect most of us unless we are a winner, in which case what if we do win a few bucks less? We're still very happy. Why, most of us hedge along the way anyway and are still happy when we win.

Tournaments that charge an additional $25 fee for hospitality or for registration don't seem to raise the ire of the players too much. I would recommend that.

I agree also with Neil that the Calcuttas don't raise the kind of money it used to now that we have fewer high rollers and "gamblers" in the crowd pushing up the numbers. But offering special odds bets and pair-mutuels allow those of us who want a little extra action to place bets, and that can also sweeten the pot.

But there is one other thing that has been happening a lot more at tournaments that didn't happen as much in the past. The winners are tipping the staff out of their winnings, and now that is pretty much of a common practice and most all of us do it, and usually pretty generously, doesn't that amount to the same thing as increasing the rake? It's like when you go to a restuarant and you know it's going to cost you another 15 to 20 percent. If the tip is included (higher rake) you might still leave a little extra. So again, I don't see raising the rake to 15 percent to matter very much to anyone, and if they did that I would simply leave a little smaller tip when I win, but the TD could be sure to have a little more money to pay his staff and cover expenses.

Of course the real answer is to find sponsors to add money, and those few tournaments around the world that do that get a terrific response in terms of attendance. How do we get more money into the game? Well, of course we must grow the numbers (chicken and the egg problem) but how do we grow the numbers?

I have written articles and many posts with my opinions, and I won't bore everyone with all the details again, but put simply we need to make tournaments LESS EXPENSIVE for most players, particularly the non-championship division, and we need to make them more friendly for newbies and lower level players to get more of them coming, and we need to make the weekends more fun for the family to join people so players can turn a tournament experience into a vacation for the family and be able to come more. The big money part need only be for the Masters and Championship divisions, and even those could have lower entry fees and multiple side pools for those who want to gamble and feel they have a better chance to cash.

How do you lower the fees and still allow the promoter to make more money? 1. You have a $25 registration fee for everyone; 2. greater attendance means more hotel rooms and more total income; 3. fun, short side events for people knocked out and other optional activities; 4. with more people coming there will eventually be more interest from sponsors; 5. more people coming will feed into the higher divisions over time and the higher priced and higher level play will increase; 6. the Federation membership will grow as a result of greater participation and they too can do more to support the tournaments, have money-added free rolls, and do better marketing for the game overall.

So I am say JUST THE OPPOSITE of many, don't raise the fees, lower them, and schedule more fun and interesting things for lower-level players. Give them a workshop the entire first day on how to play and supervised play, and the second day give them a short, not-too-serious competition that is fun, with lots of breaks so it is not overwhelming. Give them time with their families. And then give them some short side events where they don't have to compete against Open players...like mini-matches and 2-point matches restricted to non-open players. This will bring in more money, more people, and tournaments and the game will grow over time.

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