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CSI Special Private Side Pool

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Wednesday, 11 March 2015, at 10:31 a.m.

In Response To: CSI Special Private Side Pool (Phil Simborg)

I got a relatively nasty email from someone about this, saying they didn't want to post their remarks, but asking that I not disclose their name.

Basically they were saying that

a) this dilutes the general pool in the main and;

b) only helps non-Giants and in effect, tends to take a little money away from the Giants.

My answer was: what's your point?

Relative to "a," I agree that some might go into this pool and not the main pool, and that is why I only did this after getting Bill Davis' permission. By the way, I am going into both pools and I will be interested to see how many others do the same. Even if some go into my pool, they might not have gone into the main pool anyway.

Relative to "b," I think to say it hurts the Giants is not necessarily true. It helps the non-Giants, and in the long run, this might well help the Giants.

Why? Because the Giants already have a huge advantage in the Open Division. People playing at under 4 PR, competing with people who play as high as 10 PR and more have a monstrous advantage, and I am sure that any study of where the prize money has gone over the past 10 years will verify this.

I know for a fact that many people who are newly-arrived from the Intermediate Division and forced to play open feel like chicken-fodder for at least a few years, if not many years, and I know many in that category that have come out and told me that they feel it is a great waste of their time and money to go to many tournaments. Many feel that if there was a Pro Division that separates the real Professional-level players from the average Open players, they would be much more inclined to come.

This kind of side pool, for non-Giants, gives the non-Giants a little more hope and a little more chance to make a little more money when they compete. Also, the $100 bounty bet for beating a Giant is a nice, fun way to reward us non-Giants if we are lucky enough to beat a giant. And by the way, it's not all luck when one of us beats a Giant...after all, we had to have the guts to put up our money to enter, not to mention the cost of travel, hotel, and giving up our weekend with our families and other pursuits. We paid for the right to get some good dice and beat someone who plays far better.

How would you like to enter a golf tournament as a 12 handicap and play against scratch golfers and pay a lot of money to do so week after week? Not fun.

I know that the person who wrote me this email is not the only one who feels that trying to spread a little of the booty to the lower-level players is not "sporting." And one top player even personally attacked me on this site for stating this kind of sentiment. (I have no problem with people who disagree with my ideas, or anyone's ideas, but I have a major problem with people who personally attack people when they express an idea.)

The bigger point is that the more we can make backgammon tournaments fun and fair for more people, in the long run, the bigger the prize pool for the Giants, and everyone else. The more people, the better it is for the tournament promoters and the game as a whole. And right now, because we have a division that costs a lot of money to play in and has such a huge divergence of skill from the top to the bottom, doing something that just a little levels the playing field and spreads a little more money around the lower levels is a good thing for everyone. Of course, I can understand why a Giant's immediate reaction is that this takes money out of their pocket and can't see this from another perspective or see why this is fair and good for the game and even good for them in the long run.

I hope some day we do have a separate division for the Pros, but for now I agree we need to keep one division...we need to keep our top players incentivized to travel around the world to play in tournaments, and its largely the entry fees that the lower-level players provide that makes this possible. We simply don't have enough money-added events to support the pros without this additional income. But giving the rest of the players a little more incentive to come and to play is also a good thing. A little extra side action to make us non-Giants feel a little better about playing and have a little more fun isn't going to change anyone's lifestyle who was excluded from this action.

Anyway, that's my opinion, and I have no problem with people who disagree, as long as they don't attack me personally and question my motives or try to assume what my motives are. I think I have explained my motives more thoroughly than I should have to. I think any fair-minded person can at least see my point, even if they don't agree. Obviously, others agree with me, as I already have quite a few responders getting in this pool.

I will do this at every tournament where the TD permits. And if the TD does not permit, I will do what I, and many others have been doing for years--I'll make a few private side bets of my own to get some extra action that is fair action for my level of play.

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