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The Multi-Entry Revolution
While Full Tilt Poker has always been better known as a home for high-stakes cash games than big-time tournaments, the site's Multi-Entry Tournaments have started a revolution.
Introduced in January, Multi-Entry Tournaments allow players to register for the same event more than once, effectively allowing players to multi-table a single event.
The result has been ballooning field sizes and massive prize pools across the board, suddenly making Full Tilt's tournaments the talk of the poker world.
Full Tilt's $1K Monday usually carries a $600,000 guarantee. The first time the site allowed multi-entries into the event it drew 1,454, creating a $1,454,000 prize pool and more than doubling that guarantee.
In the end, online poker star Shaun Deeb took the title and a hefty $312,610 first prize.
Fast forward to the latest edition of the Full Tilt Online Poker Series and the numbers are simply staggering.
While FTOPS XVIII drew 61,309 entries over 34 events, creating a $20,734,087 total prize pool, throwing Multi-Entry Tournaments into the mix for FTOPS XIX helped smash almost every tournament record ever recorded on the site.
The total prize pool almost doubled to a whopping $39,599,432, a record was set for the most number of total entrants at 116,901, the main event marked the largest prize pool ever recorded on Full Tilt at $8,687,400 and Event #22 drew the largest field the site had ever seen at 23,342.
The FTOPS XIX main event also marked the first time Full Tilt ever awarded a seven-figure prize, when Blair "blur5f6" Hinkle agreed to a chop that left him with $1,145,000.
It's no surprise he's a big fan of Multi-Entry Tournaments.
Hinkle entered the FTOPS main event the maximum of six times, claiming it was worth laying out the extra cash because with a first prize of over $1 million posted, a lot of inexperienced players, possibly entering multiple times, would be in the mix.
"Personally I really like the Multi-Entry Tournaments," he told PokerListings. "I really like the fact that I can get a tournament session going quickly and the prizes become much larger than usual."
"I don't think Multi-Entry should be used for every tournament though. I think buy-ins under $100 would be the best because it wouldn't just be pros or regs adding all the multi entries."
With well-known names like Hinkle and Deeb walking away with big scores from the first big Multi-Entry Tournaments, it would appear on the surface that the format gives an advantage to the more skilled and venerable tournament pros.
But in reality, the sample size of tournaments is too small to be judged right now and Hinkle says outside of the obvious advantages skilled players enjoy when given a few extra kicks at the can, the playing field is as level as ever with multi-entries.
"I don't think that Multi-Entry gives pros an advantage over satellite winners or inexperienced players," he said. "I would say that it hurts the players who aren't as good and only buy in once, in that the field sizes are much bigger and thus it becomes harder to final table.
"Also, there may be a few more good players getting deep just because they had more entries. I would think that it will just increase the variance for players not buying in more than once, which I suspect can hurt them if they are a casual player with not much of a bankroll or bad bankroll management."
All in all, Hinkle loves the format and, like anyone else interested in massive prize pools and huge winner paydays, is just hoping to see more of it.
"For me, multi-entries are helpful because you can get a tournament session started quickly," he said. "I prefer to play 5-8 tables at a time when I play, and that used to take over an hour to find that many tournaments to play. Also, I would be playing a wide range of buy-ins so it was harder to make decisions quickly because the average $20 player is making different mistakes than the $100 player.
"Another advantage for me is that I know the regs are playing more tables than they are used to so their play becomes a little more predictable at least in the early and middle stages.
"I really like the way FTP is using this feature and would like to see a few more regularly scheduled Multi-Entry Tournaments pop up in the future."