In a time where buy-ins are dropping to accommodate a slumping economy, leave it to Monaco to make people feel poor again. Not content with the highest buy-in tournament to date being the $100,000 Aussie Millions High Rollers event, Casino Monte Carlo in junction with the IPPA (International Poker Player’s Association) is hosting a $250,000 buy-in shootout in late November. Before you ask, “who could afford this nonsense?”; evidently 14 pros have already signed up, with names ranging from Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan all the way to Robert and Michael Mizrachi. There are a few things with this tournament that help it stand out beyond the absurd high buy-in:
- It will be “limited” to 48 players total and played out in a shootout format, with $5 million guaranteed to first place. Which means that if this is a true guarantee and not just a projected prize if all 48 slots fill, mean that you would need 20 players minimum just to break even (sans rake, and only if it’s a winner-take-all tournament).
- The IPPA is not…well known, at least certainly not in the US. Their website is equally sparse in terms of action information, but they may be trying to put themselves on the map with a tournament of this size.
- There are satellites running in at least two confirmed places, Monte Carlo (naturally) and The Bicycle Casino in beautiful Bell Gardens, CA. How does one even satellite into this tournament? Think the step tournaments online, except the stakes are much, much higher. The Bike already ran $100, $1k and $9k satellites during the Legends of Poker tournament series, but their site does not have any results for the $1k and $9k satellites so its unknown how many takers they got.
- It will be a televised event, but with the field the way it is so far the IPPA and/or Monte Carlo hopefully will be pushing hard to get some whales in the game, or it may deter other pros from throwing their hat in the ring.
Still, the organizers have to cover their “overlay” first, which will be no small feat when pros are being asked to drop $250,000 in one go into a shark-filled tank. If this tournament happens it certainly will be an interesting sight, not just for the prize pool but the revival of a lingering question regarding how we keep score in poker. Already there has been talk of what “counts” on the all-time money list, so if someone like Ivey did win the $5 million for what amounts to a 48-person (or less) SnG it could lead to some gripping from a few pros (quite possibly including the #2 man on that list…who could become a distant #2 or 3 after this tournament).