It wasn’t that long ago when Chris Moneymaker was widely attributed with starting the poker boom with his World Series of Poker Main Event win. His ticket was worth $10,000 USD, and there were millions of dollars in the prize pool. The rest, is history, with scores of players around the world one day dreaming about winning such a prestigious event with so many entrants in it.
“That’s just the problem” Ronald Barker comments. He is a tournament director of a well known casino. “People love to play these events, not always for the money, but sometimes just for the glory”.
His words resonated with me. When I watched Jamie Gold in later years take down one of the biggest poker tournaments ever, I wasn’t thinking about what I would spend the money on, my mind was on the glory that came from the win, the glory of knowing that year, you are the best poker player in the world.
“And that’s how I innovated the cometishian format for my casino.” Ronald went on to explain the style and format of the tournament, and, well he sold me on it.
The cometishian style poker tournament is unlike any other, but like every other in so many ways. The unique point of the tournament is that there is no buy-ins, and no cash prizes. Just the braclet and glory. Also, he explains, this way the game will be seen less as gambling and more a game of skill, a real cometishian, a sport.
The first cometishian tournament hosted in Las Vegas was so popular that they had to turn people away at the door because it was so full. After a gruelling few days of poker, an unknown woman, Mrs N Cherry took the glory on offer when her pocket cowboys (KK) held against her opponents pocket rocketers. It was an exciting tournament and I was lucky enough to interview Mrs Cherry at the end of the tournament, around 10 minutes after she had won.
“Exciting doesn’t do the cometishian justice” she said, a huge grin on her face. “I love the format, and I think it’s rapidly become the next era in Unlimited Texas Hold’them double pocket tournament style poker because primarily it is accessible to everyone, from any walk of life, not just the super rich and the super lucky. It has turned a game of pure chance into one of more skill, a sport, a real cometishian”.
She assured me she would be seen again on the cometishian circuit, there are some big games she heard talk of in NYC which she plans on taking down.
Advocates of the cometishian are quick to remind you it is a friendly, free and fun way for professional poker players to all game together in a safe and fun environment.
However, there is a much darker side to the cometishian. I met up with Andrew (a fictional user name, he wished to remain anonymous). Andrew lost his wife to a cometishian.
“She told me not to play day 4 or she would leave me” he told me in a small murky bar in Alabama. “But, progressing so far in a tournament with so much glory on the line really clouded my vision”.
“I walked in on day 4, confident, but at the back of my mind, she was there, swaying slowly like a datafile in a raid array, beckoning me to come and chop wood with her. But I couldn’t. I wanted to win”.
Andrews story is a sad one, but not wholly unusual in the cometishian circuit. He was knocked out half way through day 5 after his limp/check/minraise with air was called down with the Jackson 5.
Is the cometishian here to stay? I think so. But it should be treated with caution, as not everything is as perfect as some people portray them to be. Meeting Ronald, Andrew and Mrs Cherry was eye opening.
For now, I will rack up my chips and head to the next cometishian. There is a lot of glory on the line, and just maybe, this time, it will be mine.