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Carbon Poker, Implement MTT Schedule Modifications

carbonpokerlogoMerge Poker Network flagship brands Carbon Poker and ( have announced another round of modifications to their multi-table tournament (MTT) schedule.  The changes, already being implemented, will be completely in place by this Sunday, March 9th, the busiest day of the online poker week.

The changes were first announced by, and many of the earliest modifications to be implemented in the latest reworking have been verified by FlushDraw and your writer, a frequent Carbon player.

Among the changed being implemented are a standardization of the extended registration periods now common to all Merge Network MTTs.  Merge had previously implemented over-lengthy late-registration times on virtually all of its tournaments, which had produced some unintentionally hilarious consequences, particularly in turbo events and in smaller-field variants (such as H.O.R.S.E.) where players were often able to register right at the bursting of the money bubble, and therefore snipe a cheap tourney cash (albeit it usually a tiny one) simply by winning a coin flip.

The reworking should address many of those problems, while it leaves the longer late-reg periods intact for the network’s deep-stack and high-buy-in events, which seems a fair enough trade.  Dedicated players understand that in order to take down a site’s biggest tourney, they should be prepared to spend the entire day in front of the screen.  But for more casual players, who simply wanted a couple of hours of MTT fun, the old schedule offered few viable choices.

According to the latest info, all of the deep-stacked tourneys, Monday through Saturday, will now feature a standardized 2:20 late-registration period, with steadily escalating blinds.  That should deter much of the poaching while still leaving plenty of room for would-be players to join in after the tournament gets underway.

As for Merge’s Sunday Major event lineup, those tourneys will now have a three-hour late-registration period, across the board.  The deeper fields and larger guarantees in the network’s Sunday events again should deter the thought of pre-bubble poaching.

Other announced changes also offer opportunity for improvement.  Those include:

The additional of extra non-hold’em tournaments to the schedule, including PLO, PLO8, Stud, Stud8, HORSE and Badugi.  Right, now those formats are sparse during the North American evening hours (the network’s prime traffic time), and virtually non-existent otherwise.

More hyper-turbo, turbo, and rebuy/add-on events have been added to the daily schedule.  The rebuy / add-on skew has been an anchor of Merge’s MTT plans for at least three years; it wasn’t likely to go away.  Still, it’s nice to see some turbo and hyper-turbo events being added.  Sometimes it’s fun to take an inconsequential dollar or three and donk it up in an MTT, and this change allows that.

“Several regular daily Monday through Saturday tournaments will see guarantees adjusted in the interim.” However, the Nightly $12.5k High Roller for $215, the network’s nightly premier event, stays untouched.  That $215 entry for the big boys is magic buy-in amount across online poker, and is uniformly marketed by many sites.  Merge actually plans to decrease a few of the static guarantees in smaller tourneys, though if the site adds in the promised low-to-mid-range buy-in tourneys (and offers re-buys for all) the effect may be neglible.

More satellites for all of the daily guarantees.  One nagging issue that’s likely to remain is that the satties themselves are often formatted as rebuy events.  I’d argue that that misses the point of it being a satellite, but whatever….

Many tiny MTTs with micro-stakes buy-in will be disappearing.  That’s sort of silly, but speaks to a programming issue at Merge that has never worked properly.  Like many networks, Merge offers filters that can be pre-set by players, but often don’t work properly or are poorly thought out.  (As for not working properly, just try to block the noxious, collusion-susceptible “Double or Nothing” SNG-format tables in Merge’s Sit N Go filters.  The filter hasn’t ever worked, and Merge has never bothered to fix it.)

But an example of why these low-dollar events were considered “clutter” by Merge’s higher rollers is that for unknown reasons, Merge programmed its freerolls on a continuum, cheaper than all these “clutter” tourney, rather than setting them up via a separate selection tab.  That made no sense, and was poorly hatched.  All players want to see what freerolls they’ve qualified for, and on Merge — as with many networks — qualification for these is volume-based.  Yet then Merge went and placed them within their filter system in a way that makes them difficult to find for high rollers who don’t want to play in the cheapies… hence the complaints about “clutter”.

A “more steady stream” of hourly and bi-hourly MTTS with a guarantee of $1,000 and up.  This addresses one of the greatest holes in the Merge schedule, in that there were hours-long periods in which no casual, mid-range-entry tourneys were available.  It can be frustrating as a casual player to log on to a site and not find a single playable MTT, while being presented only with $1 throwaways or $60-and-up rebuys that require a deep ‘roll and hours of commitment.  If actualized, this could really be a boost for many mid-level players, and for Merge itself.


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