Allen Kessler Boycotts Quantum Reload Tournaments

August 23rd, 2014 | by Greg Shaun
Poker pro Allen Kessler

Allen Kessler believes the quantum reload format is bad for tournament poker. (Image: Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa)

Quantum reload tournaments are a relatively new innovation in the world of tournament poker, allowing players to buy in at a high level to enter the tournament at a later level with more chips.

But while such entries may give players more options, there are more than a few who feel they are bad for poker tournaments, and professional player Allen Kessler is among them.

As explained on the quantum reload tournament website, a quantum reload allows players two different ways to enter a poker tournament.

First, as usual, they can buy in for the nominal buy-in and entry fee at the start of the event. However, the players then have a second registration deadline where players can buy-in for a higher amount. In exchange, players also receive more chips to start with.

Kessler Boycotts Bike Series

It’s a fun idea that might appeal to many players in casual and low buy-in tournaments. But in events with pros, Kessler says, it’s a dangerous concept.

After all what recreational player wants to play in a field with 6 Brian Rasts or 5 Daniel Negreanus

According to a post he made on the Two Plus Two forums, Kessler will be boycotting the Bicycle Casino’s Legends of Poker series over the fact that the main event, which is part of the World Poker Tour, will be using a quantum reload format.

“It was not an easy decision, but I cannot support their concept called ‘quantum reload,'” Kessler wrote. “The quantum reload format has not really been advertised extensively but has been added to the $4m guarantee wpt legends of poker main event.”

Reentry Tournaments Have Taken Many Formats

As Kessler points out, this is just the latest in a series of innovations in the world of re-entry tournaments.

Originally, the idea was simply to let people buy in once per flight, essentially giving players who joined a large tournament on the first “Day 1” to play later opening flights if they busted out.

That then evolved in some tournaments to allowing players to enter as many times as they liked after busting. While this has allowed for some massive prize pools to be built, Kessler believes it causes more problems than it solves.

“The problem with this format is that deep pocketed skilled players are free to enter as many times as needed on any flight, creating a much tougher overall field and discouraging recreational players from even entering,” Kessler wrote. “After all what recreational player wants to play in a field with 6 Brian Rasts or 5 Daniel Negreanus.”

That then led Kessler to discuss the new quantum format. According to Kessler, players can enter once per starting flight for $3,500, receiving 30,000 starting chips.

However, the quantum reload format allows them to also buy in on Day 2 for $10,000. One issue, he says, is that the Bicycle Casino hasn’t made it clear exactly how many chips players will get if they choose this option.

An Unequal Playing Field

But regardless of the details, it’s the concept itself that has the poker pro bothered.

“It really doesn’t matter what the $10k buys though, as this format creates a gap between the haves and have nots,” he wrote. “Players who struggle to make it through day one but ultimately advance, will have to face a whole new wave of skilled players who are eager for the extra chance to buy an average day two advancing stack.”

Kessler says that while this format has been successful for small buy-in tournaments where players had to overpay to buy into later days of a tournament.

However, he believes that using this format in a large, high buy-in tournament will dissuade casual players from even trying, and that it is counter to what the World Poker Tour should be.

“World Poker Tour titles are not up for sale to the highest bidder,” he wrote. “If a player cannot earn their way to day 2 via several starting flights, that has to be the end of the road.”

While it’s unclear whether any changes are likely to be made to the tournament format, the response to Kessler’s post appeared to be largely against the quantum reload format.


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