Turn to MicroMillions for a dose of reality

reality sign

Tournament buy-ins have been going up. It used to be that the $10,000 it cost to play the World Series Main Event was an aspirational figure, one that separated the very best, from, well, the rest of us. Not anymore. Somehow each year thousands of people find that kind of money from somewhere, and head to Vegas to play the Main Event. $10,000 just isn’t what it used to be.

So started this rapid inflation of tournament buy-ins everywhere. First it was $25,000. But that still didn’t put off enough people to make it an exclusive event for the game’s genuine high rollers. So along came $50,000 events, which seemed to weed out anyone who hadn’t got a binary tournament record. But even they wished things were a little more pricey, and so the Super High Roller was born, with $100,000 buy-ins. Hell, make it a re-buy.

Poker, through sheer force of money, had regained some awe.

But events of the past week have shown that it’s not all about stratospheric stakes. Are such astronomical sums really what it’s all about? The latest incarnation of MicroMillions on PokerStars has shown another side to the game.

MicroMillions allows the regular player–those who stay up late to watch the $100k events on TV in the middle of the night–to play in competitive events, with great structures, for a couple of dollars. They can even assume the high roller mantle for those tournaments that cost $11. Egos, not to mention wallets, from around the world take a deep breath and smile.

But it would be a mistake to assume these micro-levels are without any competitive challenge. One only need to look deeper at the results to find players like Eric “AceQuad” Brix, a Black Friday refugee. He took time off from his regular games this week to tackle the lower limits, and was rewarded with a MicroMillions title in Event 59, not to mention a second place in Event 44. Let’s not forget a brand new winner’s hat.

While some, like Brix, step down to play, others use MicroMillions to step up.  Poker is full of players who stepped up too soon, leaping into high stakes games and being lucky to come out the other end with their shirt on. They then commit themselves to a life of trying to emulate an initial triumph, playing above the levels they ought.

MicroMillions is the perfect place for players to avoid such a mistake. It is here that new players test themselves, and experienced players brush up in all varieties of the game (where else can you play draw poker for five dollars?).

And if it’s all about prestige why spend a hundred grand to feel like a Super High Roller? There’s always the Main Event on Sunday with a whopping $22 buy-in instead.