The Unibet Deepstack Open: The Best Mid-Major Tour in Europe?

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It’s difficult to tally a successful mid-major tour 

The preliminary ballots for nan GPI Global Poker Awards were sent astir past week and erstwhile I sewage to nan ‘Mid-Major Tour’ category, I stopped to dwell connected its importance. The precocious echelon of poker gets astir of nan fanfare, grassroots recreational poker is nan lifeblood of nan game, but location is this important in-between tier successful which some enthusiastic recreationals and grinder professionals exist. 

It’s difficult to tally a successful mid-major circuit for a number of reasons. You request to find bully but affordable destinations. You request to build partnerships pinch section operators. You don’t want to skimp connected dealers and level unit because that’s a surefire measurement to put disconnected nan players. 

needs to pull an online partner to tally satellites but it mightiness still beryllium expected to screen guarantees

An usability astatine that level can’t spend to descend excessively overmuch money into advertizing and promotion truthful it needs a bully crushed crippled erstwhile it comes to societal media, Facebook groups, forums and different ways to pass pinch nan players. It astir apt needs to pull an online partner to tally satellites but it mightiness still beryllium expected to screen guarantees. 

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In short, nan overheads eat into nan mostly of nan registration fees. The margins are slim. There’s plentifulness of inherent risk. The established tours person earned their status. Their owners and unit person put successful nan difficult yards. 

Europe boasts respective fantabulous mid-majors

In nan US, everyone raves astir nan Run Good Series (RGS) and they person won nan GPI grant a grounds 3 times. RGS CEO Tana Karn seems for illustration a shrewd usability who knows his customers and treats them well. I had nan pleasance of interviewing RGS Vice-President Hayley Hochstetler past twelvemonth and it is evident that she is focused connected subordinate acquisition too.

On this broadside of nan pond, location are respective fantabulous tours. The revitalized Pokerstars location tours are a invited summation to nan schedule but they were a mixed container past year, immoderate hitting large numbers while others flattered to deceive. The Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) seems to spell from spot to spot each twelvemonth pinch record-breaking fields. 

It would look arsenic if corners must beryllium trim but that is ne'er nan consciousness you get astatine UDSOs

Another mid-major circuit worthy of statement is nan Unibet Deepstack Open (UDSO), tally by seasoned Alex Henry, which differentiates itself by having a €550 ($598) Main Event. If a €1,100 ($1,196) circuit struggles to swipe its feet successful Europe, ideate really difficult it is to tally festivals connected half nan fees. It would look arsenic if corners must beryllium trim but that is ne'er nan consciousness you get astatine UDSOs. Quite nan contrary successful fact. The locations are beautiful, nan dealers are superb, and nan tourney structures are really amended than nan immense mostly of €1,100 buy-in Main Events. 

Q&A pinch Unibet Deepstack Open’s Alex Henry 

This week, I sat down for a chat pinch Alex Henry of UDSO to talk his plans for his tour’s 15th season.

David Lappin: Congratulations connected making it to Season 15. Looking backmost connected nan 14 years, were location ever immoderate times erstwhile nan circuit struggled, possibly successful nan early days? 

Alex Henry: Thanks a lot! While I wouldn’t telephone it a struggle, we surely faced 2 large challenges. I created nan DSO circuit erstwhile I was nan unrecorded events head for nan online poker room Chillipoker. In 2012, erstwhile that institution closed down, Alex Dreyfus, its CEO, kindly asked maine if I wanted to support moving pinch him connected different projects, create nan tour, aliases effort thing else. 

nan circuit sewage done this play acknowledgment to nan players who showed support and loyalty

I was really attached to nan tour, but we had to find a business exemplary conscionable aft Black Friday, successful a play erstwhile onshore based casinos were not really willing successful mean level buy-in poker events. Luckily, nan circuit sewage done this play acknowledgment to nan players who showed support and loyalty for a marque that weighted bully structures astatine a little value point. 

The 2nd situation was during COVID times erstwhile nary unrecorded events were imaginable for almost 2 years. We could person decidedly not person survived that play without Unibet who committed their unflinching support to us. 

DL: Your circuit has grown year-on-year to nan constituent now wherever immoderate of nan events are really big. Do you now deliberation of these large ones arsenic flagship events? 

AH: Yes, decidedly location are immoderate events that are different from nan others: large ones for illustration Paris, Malta, and Annecy. They are untouchable but location are besides smaller stops that are really important for section organization for illustration San Remo aliases Gujan Mestres (both 450 entries successful average). Last year, we besides had nan UDSO Marrakech for nan first clip and I americium happy to opportunity that we person renewed that collaboration for adjacent September. 

DL: What caller spot are you going to successful 2024 and why did you take it? 

AH: The main caller location for 2024 is Barcelona! I deliberation that this shape will return spot from June 13 to 16 but nan arena will beryllium officially announced very soon. I’m besides thrilled to denote a caller business pinch The Hendon Mob Championship. From January 29 to February 5, we will beryllium successful Liechtenstein for a UDSO Cup. The Cups person a little value constituent but nonetheless, will beryllium hosting dedicated online satellites for it. I’m very hopeful that we will person much partnerships pinch The Hendon Mob this year.

DL: For nan past fewer years, you person sponsored nan Malta Poker Festival (MPF) – 1 of nan 2 large location grown poker brands connected nan land wherever you live. What do you deliberation you and DSO person brought to that peculiar event? 

AH: We started to activity pinch MPF successful nan first twelvemonth aft nan COVID lockdowns. Even though nan marque is young, Ivonne Montealegre and nan Portomaso casino negociate to get a batch of attraction for nan Festival, enticing a batch of different partners who each lend to nan monolithic attendance. 

It is besides a argumentation that we don’t let nan tourney to driblet beneath a 25 large unsighted average

I bring my acquisition and nan values of nan UDSO marque which I judge helps pinch immoderate of nan finer details. For example, we changed nan structure, introducing our 50k stack pinch 50 infinitesimal levels. It is besides a argumentation that we don’t let nan tourney to driblet beneath a 25 large unsighted average. In my opinion, that tin really make nan quality astatine cardinal moments successful nan tournament. In position of promotion, I americium grateful to & who some tally online satellites each twelvemonth agelong for packages and tickets that tin beryllium utilized successful Malta.  

DL: As personification who has played rather a fewer DSO festivals, what impresses maine is nan building that you person created astatine a very reasonable value point. Most €500 ($544) tournaments are very accelerated pinch players making nan money connected Day 1. Why is it important to you to springiness nan players a amended playing experience? 

AH: Thanks a batch and yes, you are right… we ever envisaged nan UDSO events arsenic having playable structures that tin beryllium enjoyed by some amateurs and professionals. I americium ever looking to make sensible changes and support pinch what useful for nan mostly of players and arsenic specified I made nan determination to modify nan building by removing nan 100/200 level and creating  a double level astatine 1000/1500.  

DL: For 10 years, your circuit has been sponsored by nan gallic facing broadside of Unibet Poker but successful much caller years, you person been moving satellites connected nan .com customer too, which look to beryllium very popular. What has that continued sponsorship meant to you?

AH: I really couldn’t dream of a amended partner than Unibet for nan DSO. Their motto ‘By players for players’ could besides beryllium nan UDSO mantra! When we started moving together 10 years ago, we utilized to suffice 2 to 3 players per week. Those days, much than 10 players triumph a summons aliases a package each week. This makes a large quality because you really get to cognize nan regular online players who accumulates unrecorded tickets, positive location are ever caller amateur players showing up who are discovering nan thrill of unrecorded for nan first time. 

DL: Finally, I want to inquire you astir nan DSO Belt. As a kid of nan 90s, I watched a batch of WWE. Why did you take this and what is nan consequence of players to a perpetual loop alternatively of a perpetual trophy?

AH: I recovered it difficult to find thing typical of nan marque for a agelong clip but past successful 2018, we introduced nan Champion’s Belt. It instantly resonated. Coming retired connected apical aft 34 hours of playing cards meant that you had been done a due battle. After a fewer photos pinch nan perpetual belt, we return it backmost but ever engrave nan winners’ sanction connected it. They besides get to bring location their ain Champion Belt. Most of nan comments from players and group successful nan manufacture are affirmative truthful that tells maine that it’s a bully idea. 

Upcoming UDSO events tin beryllium viewed connected their website. The UDSO Cup will beryllium held successful nan Portomaso Casino successful Malta from January 25-28. The UDSO Aix De Provence will beryllium from February 27-March 4. The Malta Poker Festival Main Event, sponsored by UDSO, will return spot from April 22-29.

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