Okay, what's been up with Tokyo poker recently?
I haven't been out to the JPPA for a while, so I am not up to date on their events. I have to get to out some of their games again and show my face, let them know I'm alive, and see what they're up to.
Over the last couple of months, Everest Poker (which I have written about before) has been running the Everest Poker Japan Cup. This is a series of live and online tournaments for players who live in Japan. The winner of each tournament wins a trip to the Tinian Dynasty Resort and Casino and entry there into a $20,000 prize pool live poker tournament in early September.
In all, 30 players will win seats into the tournament, so it's been nothing to shake a stick at. Although Everest is an online site, of course, they have also been supportive of live poker venues in Japan. They've sponsored the Everest Cup games at the JPPA on Friday nights for what seems like years now (I still use the ipod nano I won in one of the Everest Cup games daily, though its battery is getting worn down and not holding as much of a charge as it used to). And this time around they are working with the JPEA to hold their live tournaments in several pubs in Tokyo and Osaka.
Of those 30 seats, 15 are given out to winners of the live tournaments, which began in late April. There have been two or three tournaments each month, spread around the different poker venues, and they will continue through September. The tournaments are free, though the venues may charge a player's fee for the user of their space, which is usually 1000yen or so. The first tournament kicked off at Duke, which was overflowing with excited Japanese poker players trying to cinch their spot in Tinian right out of the gate. I saw a lot of players I had never seen before - I don't know if they are primarily online players who came out to play live for the extra shots at winning a seat, or if they just play at other locations around town.
J.O. brought his A-game and took down that first tournament, and so now he kicks back and relaxes, smoking his cuban cigars, as everyone else scratches and claws to win one of the steadily dwindling seats remaining.
Ten seats are also given out to winners of online tournaments, which take place about twice per month. These tournaments are only open to Japan residents, but we always seem to get someone from Germany who comes into the observer chat to ask what the tournament is and if he can join. I usually end up as translator. ^^ I don't speak German, of course, but the guy can usually speak and understand English better than Japanese.
Also, players who participate in the live tournaments also get invitations to an online Second Chance tournament, about once per month, giving out another 5 seats. These have had smaller fields, like 40 or 50 players from the last one I was in, but they're still tough.
Anyone picked up on the fact I haven't won a spot yet?
I've been able to play in the first four or so live tournaments, but after that it's become harder. Now they are restricting entry into the EPJC tournaments to those players who have taken 1st or 2nd in one of the regular tournament games at that venue - so to play in the monthly EPJC game at Corner Pocket, let's say, you have to have one at least one of the weekly or so games at Corner Pocket that month. It's a shrewd move, since it encourages the players to come regularly instead of just once per month for the EPJC game. Unfortunately I haven't been able to attend the games regularly, so haven't won a spot in the EPJC games. Most of the remaining EPJC live tournaments are on Saturdays and Sundays, and I have non-poker commitments on the weekends so can't attend.
Still, I can't complain too much, since it's basically a $20,000 freeroll for poker players in Japan, including foreign players. I'd love to win a seat, since I think it will be a blast to head en masse to Tinian with a bunch of the other Japanese poker players and lie on the beach, eat too much, drink too much, and maybe even have a poker tournament in there. But if I can't win a spot, I might just tag along for the fun of it.