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Poker tournament organizers love gimmicks. Some gimmicks (re-entry events; monster stack events) have become legacy events in recent years while others are tried once or twice and die a quick death.

Knowing how poker players love to play gimmick tournaments, we’ve devised three new events that we’d like to see in 2016. We don’t necessarily expect them to become legacy events but they would be a fun change of pace for some smaller tournament festivals.

The Walking Dead Event

The Zombie genre is hot right now and an idea that I’ve been toying with is a “Walking Dead” or “Back from the Dead” poker tournament. Every player that is eliminated on the first day of a poker tournament is given a voucher that’s then placed into a random drawing and at the end of the day, a select number of eliminated players are “brought back from the dead” on Day 2 with a starting stack of 20 big blinds.

For this type of event, designate anywhere from 2 to 5% of the field as “walkers.” For example, if an event drew 500 players, you could have anywhere from 10 to 25 players come back on Day 2 as walkers. If you wanted to do this for a single day event, you could have the walkers come back after the end of registration or after dinner break.

Get Cracked – Get Your Buy-In Back

This particular event would take away some of the sting for when your big hand gets cracked. The way it would work is that if you’re all-in and ahead with either a big pair or a made hand and lose, you get your buy-in back.

The important distinction here is that you’re all-in and ahead. If you have pocket aces pre-flop and someone with pocket deuces flops a set and gets their money into the middle, this doesn’t qualify. You have to have your money into the pot, called and ahead in the hand before the river to qualify for the cracked hand award.

Also, a made hand would be at least two-pair or better cracked. Some venues may want to change this to a set or better cracked but that is something for organizers to work out.

The cracked hand award would only be valid before the event reaches the money and I expect that if a venue chose to run this type of gimmick event, it would only be in hands that were heads-up.

Double or Nothing Payouts

Anyone that has played video poker with any seriousness has at one time or another encountered a “Double or Nothing” machine. After winning a hand, you draw a card against the dealer and if you beat the dealer, your prior earnings are doubled.

What would happen if a poker room was to offer this event for players that finish in the money. After they bust out, they would go to the payout window and receive the option to receive their payout or play a single hand of Texas Hold’em against a dealer for double or nothing.

How many players would press their luck and double their earnings? I expect that various min-cashers and degens would press their luck. Yes, that would be straight gambling at that point but no more of a gamble than playing on unregulated online poker sites.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.