In an occurrence that might have the “powers that be” at PokerGO reevaluating their decision, the final tournament of the first 2022 PokerGO Tour event, at The Venetian in Las Vegas, is in the books. With only 20 entries coming to the fore, Ali Imsirovic was able to take the title, booking his first win of the year and closing out the schedule of a series that has significant questions.

Plenty of Seating Available

At the start of the day for the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament, only TEN PLAYERS were in their seats for the action. Each with 125,000 in chips in front of them, these players were ready for action at the starting bell:

Ali Imsirovic
Sam Soverel
Masashi Oya
Koji Ito
Michael Wood
Barry Hutter
Chris Brewer
Justin Saliba
Ed Sebesta
Steven Grady

As the early registration period wore on, there were some stragglers who came to the action. The winner (by ICM chop) of Event #3, Alex Foxen, came in later, as did the winner of the first two events, Punnat Punsri, and PokerGO owner Cary Katz. But the numbers would fall far short of what most people would consider a serious tournament that tests the skills of those on the felt.

Only 20 entries would be recorded in the tournament, with Hutter and Brewer responsible for at least one reentry each. Once the dinner break closed, the official prize pool was set at $500,000, of which the final three players would be the only recipients of cash. The top prize of $270,000 would be an enjoyable way to start the year, however.

Things started to get a bit more serious as the final table numbers went down. Saliba left in sixth place with nothing to show for his efforts, his J-7 failing to catch up with Imsirovic’s A-5. Katz had a yo-yo run through the entire tournament, eventually falling in fifth place. On the money bubble, Soverel would be the unfortunate departure as Oya defeated him, Oya’s pocket Kings putting a cooler on the pocket deuces of Soverel.

The moment of change in the tournament came in a clash between Imsirovic and Oya. With a board of 4-3-4-10-3 showing and about 275K in the center, Oya bet 125K from the big blind. Imsirovic raised the action to 450K and, after some contemplation, Oya made the call. Oya showed a K-3 for a boat, but Imsirovic popped up with 7-4 for a better boat to capture the 800K pot and catapult him to the lead.

Oya would draw back to even with Imsirovic and slip into the lead when he sent Grady home in third place. In a half-hour heads-up fight, Imsirovic would be able to vanquish Oya, however, to take the latest title on the 2022 PokerGO Tour.

1. Ali Imsirovic, $270,000
2. Masashi Oya, $150,000
3. Stephen Grady, $80,000

Time for Contemplation from PokerGO Officials

A look at the first series for the 2022 PokerGO Tour should have officials for the circuit reevaluating and contemplating changes to their idea. It is painfully obvious that there are not enough players with enough bank to support such schedules as this. All you have to do is examine the numbers from this stop at the Venetian to see this fact.

For the four-event schedule, NONE of the tournaments got over 37 entries. In fact, the total for the ENTIRE series was 117 entries and even fewer players (we have tried to point out where the reentries came from, when it was obvious). That means, for the run of the series, there were an average of 29 entries per event, two $10K tournaments and a solo $15K and $25K event each.

These are not full-fledged “multi-table tournaments.” These are glorified “sit and gos” that do not assess the skills of the players, especially since they play with each other frequently and they apparently have money burning a hole in their pockets. Furthermore, the number of events that the PokerGO Tour is having, especially in the month of January, is not sustainable.

For the month of January, there is a PokerGO Tour tournament scheduled for 13 of the 31 days of the month. This does not change in February, either; 13 of the 28 days of February feature a PokerGO Tour event. It also isn’t like the audience is clamoring for these events either, watching the same 25-30 players shuffle around chips and large piles of cash – and for what reason?

The PokerGO Tour has to be seen as a serious competition if it is going to be successful. When it is the same players at the table, time and time again, viewers will get bored with it. These four events at the Venetian over the past few days should show that PokerGO, and the PokerGO Tour, might need to contemplate their future.

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