The Pocket Fives Winter Open (so far)

While my day at the tables was uneventful (I finished with slightly over the starting stack going into day 2), Day 1A was fantastic in terms of player turnout and entertainment value. It seems like every big name in Minnesota poker showed up for this event, including a few of the big online players that don’t get out to live events very often. The amount of laughing and cheering was much higher than it is during a regular tournament, probably because the holiday spirit is still in people’s minds. We should definitely make this an annual event!

Pocket Fives did an amazing job of getting the word out too. What started as a little holiday event to lead into the Minnesota Poker Awards has become one of the best tournaments of the year, with over 300 entries and a prize pool that will end up around $100,000 for a $335 buy-in. Running Aces wasn’t ready for the deluge of players that showed up on Friday afternoon, but they coped with it well, calling in extra dealers and setting up tables in the aisles to get everyone seated as quickly as possible. Handing out shirts and card protectors to the alternates while they waited helped make the short wait a little easier.

While Running Aces and Pocket Fives were the driving forces behind this event, many of my friends helped out on twitter and facebook and some of them canceled plans to be here. If I started to list the people I wanted to thank I would have list a mile long and I would still miss a lot of people, but you know who you are and you know that I owe you one and I really appreciate it. Seeing a host of members from Team Poker Joker and Team Rooster Poker was great and they all looked like they were having a great time.

Breaking 300 entries for a holiday tournament, at a time when many players are at home with their families, is a remarkable accomplishment and it bodes very well for the Pocket Fives Open in April, which we expect to be the biggest tournament series in Minnesota history. The Pocket Fives Open will be the first of many Pocket Fives Live events and we hope to take the idea to venues across the country as well as overseas.

I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about the MSPT and how they are reacting to competition. The answer is simple. They aren’t reacting and we aren’t competition. I worked for the MSPT and I was a fan of the series before I worked there. Bryan Mileski does a great job and I’m sure he will continue to dominate his market. The last thing I would want to do is to try to compete with the marketing machine he has built and all of the good will he has generated in the Midwest.

Our goal with Pocket Fives Live is to take it to the biggest venues in the country, and I’ve also been talking to venues in Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean. Our tournaments will be a series more like the WSoPC, but without the incredibly high rake. We want to bring unique events to every place we visit and we are determined to make sure that we offer a good value for players in terms of structure, rake, and customer service.

Before we come to your town, we will ask what kind of events you would like to see and we will listen. We won’t bring the tour to venues that don’t treat their players and their staff exceptionally well, and we will do everything we can to make sure that there is a wide range of buy-ins so that everyone has a chance to win a P5s Live badge for their profile. If you would like to Pocket Fives Live in your area, talk to your local card room manager and have them contact me. Just tell them to be ready for a flood of players like they have never seen, because when Pocket Fives Live comes to town, everybody who is anybody is going to show up!

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this event a huge success and I look forward to seeing you all at the Minnesota Poker Awards at 6 pm tomorrow (Sunday) night. We’ll be four hours into day 2 when we start handing out awards, and hopefully many of our award winners will have to accept their award from their seat as they drag another pot on their way to the final table!

For updates on the Pocket Fives Winter Open, follow @runaces and @foxpokerfox on twitter and keep an eye on the live events page on

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