Rant: It's Time We Put an End to Deal-Making Nonsense

Possible deal
Deals really hammer the buzz, you know?

A poker writer is always on the lookout for a good story, so I was delighted at the beginning of January when I caught the social media hullabaloo over Simon Deadman’s score at the Genting Poker Series Leg 8 at Dusk till Dawn (DTD).

The World Poker Tour (WPT) National Series Dublin winner had picked up £70,000 in the £440 Main Event, and I had my headline:

Simon Deadman wins the Genting Poker Series Nottingham for £70,000

I duly wrote the article and decided to conclude with the final-table payouts. It was then I realised that Simon Deadman had not won the GPS at DTD. Instead, he was beaten in heads-up action by satellite qualifier Michael Richardson.

It seems there was a three-handed deal that saw Deadman take the lion's share of the cash and left a few shillings to be played for during heads-up, the trophy and the right to be named in my headline.

Tim Slater finished in third place for £42,500, Deadman finished in second place for £70,000 and Richardson finished in first place for £39,000.

Deadman definitely won at WPT Dublin.

The winner didn’t even get as much money as the player who finished third and received nearly half of what Deadman banked. I had to quickly change my headline:

Michael Richardson wins the Genting Poker Series Nottingham for £39,000

That doesn’t look right, does it?

Trophy or no trophy, Simon Deadman won this poker competition because he took home the bacon. And by bacon I mean all of the dough.

I have the opinion that a trophy and title only counts as bacon if the money comes with it. Even Richardson would be the first to admit that it’s slightly embarrassing to tell people that you "won" and yet the person you beat took home nearly 50% more Wonga than you.

It’s time we put an end to this nonsense once and for all.

Zimnan won when it counted.

Now That's What I Call Squeaky-Bum Time

Whilst I understand the mathematical reasons behind deal making on final tables, it just hammers the buzz for me. I can’t feel it. It’s blunted and dead.

I have been at enough final tables to feel the atmosphere go down the drain once a deal has been made. The phrase "anti-climax" doesn’t give some of those heads-up matches justice. "Paint" and "dry" come to mind.

There isn’t a game or sport in the world where the end of the tournament isn’t the most celebrated part and yet in poker this is exactly what happens.

When you allow deal-making to take place you rip the heart out of the contest. I remember watching the final three players duking it out at the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Loutraki back when Zimnan Ziyard took the title and it was exhilarating stuff.

What was the difference? Greek regulations meant it was very difficult for a deal to take place. There was €90,000 between third and second and €126,000 between second and first.

Now that’s what I call squeaky-bum time. That’s when boys become men.

An End to Phony Heads-Up Action

OK … so I know what I am asking for is never going to happen in a million years, so how about this instead?

The trophy
Make the deal, hand out the trophy and call it a day.

When Simon Deadman, Michael Richardson and Tim Slater sat down to make the deal and it was agreed that Deadman would take the most money, it should have also been agreed that he was the champion.

No phony heads-up action where the will to win is severely diminished; just make the deal, divide the money as per the negotiation, hand over the trophy, smile, say cheese and call it a day.

If the trophy and title means that much, then the deal is dropped and the poker community gets to see an enthralling final few hands with some serious money, pride and machismo at stake for the winner.

So that’s my rant. What’s your opinion?

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