What do you do if you promote a large poker tournament, but nobody shows up?
That was almost the problem that tournament organizers in Dublin had to deal with this week, as what was hoped to be a major poker event turned into a rather large dud instead.
The Mega Poker Series (MPS) Dublin is being held at the Clayton Hotel Dublin Airport, where both tournaments and cash games are taking place in the venue’s conference room.
The series was expected to center on a Main Event that would begin on Tuesday with an €800 ($907) buy-in and the option for players to re-enter on Day 1A and 1B, as well as before the start of Day 2.
The Mega Poker Series Dublin Main Event didn’t feature a prize guarantee, but nonetheless, organizers could not have been happy with what took place on Day 1A.
A total of only seven players registered for the first day, and the group played down to two before play was halted for the day.
Of the opening group of seven players, only David O’Kelly and Fintan Gavin remained to play on Day 2 of the event. Eliminated runners included Unibet Open Glasgow winner Daniel Chutrov, Spaniard Manuel Garcia, and Irish player David Lappin.
Coming on the heels of the Irish Poker Cup, which took place from September 1-6, it seems as though the MPS was hoping for a much larger turnout: on the Irish Poker Boards forum, a poster named “carfax” said they were told to expect 65 or more players on Day 1A. So what caused such a disappointing turnout?
At least one player has laid the blame on advertising and promotion for the tournament. In a comment left on a PokerNews story about MPS Dublin, posted “WithoutAir” noted that there was very little advertising and few live satellites in Ireland for the tournament, and that the Irish Poker Cup may have been seen as a better option by most players, as that tournament had a €250,000 ($283,000) guarantee.
Of course, there was always the hope that Day 1B might attract a bigger field.
The later starting flights almost always attract more players in poker tournaments around the world, and that was likely to be especially true for this relatively small tournament, where many may have seen in as a waste of time and money to come a day early and play in the first flight.
Sure enough, Day 1B did see a better field, if one that was still below expectations. A total of 56 players bought into the second starting flight, with players including Lappin and Andy Black making it through to Day 2.
The Chip lead went to Spain’s Francisco Fernandez, who bagged 346,500 chips to put himself well above the pack.
While the Day 1A turnout may have been extremely low, it produced some very good runs for the two players who survived it.
Both O’Kelly and Gavin were among the final five players during the dinner break on Friday, with Gavin holding the chip lead. David Lappin was also still in the tournament at this point, meaning there were three Irishmen battling for the title.
MPS Dublin paid the top nine players, with a minimum cash being worth €1,000 ($1,130). The winner will take home a top prize of €15,600 ($17,700).