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Quantum Reload Ditched at 2015 WPT Legends of Poker

The 2015 World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker Main Event got underway at the legendary Bicycle Casino this weekend. Two of three starting flights are in the books and so far, it looks like the tournament is on pace to meet or beat last year’s registration numbers. But this isn’t a tournament report. You can get those anywhere. The news here is what the WPT Legends of Poker is not.

Or, reversing it to what the Legends of Poker Main Event *is*, the tournament is your standard re-entry event. Now, not everyone likes re-entry events, but the fact that it is just a vanilla re-entry is a good thing. Because that means the Legends of Poker is not a Quantum Reload event.

Quantum Reload? Oh, boy.

Quantum Reload? Oh, boy.

Though Quantum Reload sounds like what it would be called if Dr. Sam Beckett leapt into the same body twice, it was really this odd opening structure that was toyed with last year at the Legends of Poker. Initially, the tournament played out just like a regular re-entry event. For $3,700, players could buy-in to any of the three starting flights. If they bombed out in one of them, they could try again in any subsequent flight. It is a common structure nowadays, a happy medium between a freezeout and a re-buy.

But Quantum Reloads went an extra step in allowing extra lives. For $10,000, players could enter Day 2 directly. They could just flat-out skip all the Day 1 flights or choose to pay the $10,000 to buy-in to Day 2 if they were unable to survive Day 1. For that $10,000, players started Day 2 with 60 big blinds.

This year, the Quantum Reload is gone. Players can still buy in directly to Day 2, but it will only cost $3,700, the regular tournament buy-in, and they will only be given 25 big blinds. This not coincidentally adds up to 30,000, the tournament’s starting stack.

This likely came as a relief to a lot of players, as there was plenty of outrage at the Quantum Reload concept last year. Particularly outspoken was poker pro Allen Kessler, who is known for his high volume, small cash live tournament style. He scolded World Poker Tour President Adam Pliska, partypoker’s Warren Lush, and Executive Tournament Director Matt Savage on Two Plus Two, writing, “…this format creates a gap between the haves and have nots. 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.”

He painted a picture of a possible scenario:

Imagine you are a local l.a. grinder. You win a satellite, you’re playing day 1c and knock out a tough opponent, Brian Rast. You have slightly less than an average stack but are pleased to have made day 2, and to have eliminated a tough opponent. You come back for day 2, find your seat, and there’s Brian directly to your left, and with more chips than you, even though you already eliminated him.

This scenario will happen multiple times. Players that made it through to day 2 will have to knock out the higher echelon players an extra time, and this time the skilled players have bought an even bigger stack.

It’s easy to see how this format will dissuade recreational players from even entering, or even trying a satellite.

Those who sided with Kessler also opined that those who had the deep pockets would have a further advantage in that they could play much more aggressively during the Day 1 flights, knowing they had a backup plan if they busted out.

Not surprisingly, the man at the head of the Quantum Reload experiment, CEO of Quantum Reload Tournaments and Bicycle Casino Tournament Director Mo Fathipour, had no sympathy for opponents of the concept:

The poker economy is constantly evolving. Each year there are hundreds, if not thousands, of poker tournaments throughout the nation and the world. Players always have a choice as to which events they choose to play based on buy-in, prestige, and location. This newer QR concept has been a huge success for the Bicycle Casino throughout our poker series and is now an opportunity for the WPT players to experience this prize-pool increasing format, while allowing players of all skill levels and bank-rolls to play.

But the icing on the cake was when he essentially discounted those who chose to just buy in to Day 1 out of hand, saying, “The day 2 direct buy-in can be viewed as the official day 1 start, where the $3,700 sessions can be viewed as qualifying heats for the official day 1, where the player carries their chips forward.”

Fortunately, all those poors who could only afford $3,700 for a poker tournament can now rest easy knowing some whale can’t come in and cut the line.

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