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The 2013 Fall Poker Classic Preview

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Canterbury Park's Fall poker Classic is the longest running and best attended poker series in Minnesota. I've played the series many times and have a number of final table appearances and a win in that time. If you're coming to the series, expect decent-sized fields and some tough play as the best in the midwest compete for the title of King of the Classic!

The Dates

The 2013 FPC runs from October 5-21, and the full schedule of events can be found here.

The Events

There is a good spread of events at the classic with no-limit Holdem dominating the field. But in addition to the most popular poker game in the world, there are also two Omaha 8 events, a PLO event, a Stud event for people who remember that game, and a $500 2-day HORSE event that should be very good for mixed game specialists. For variation in the Holdem events, there is a senior's event, a ladies' event, and a 6-max event. I'm probably the only person sad to see the limit event disappear; I final tabled that event every time I played it.

The Structures

When the Classic first started, the structures were terrible. Huge jumps in blind levels late in play seemed designed solely to get the event over and get players back to the cash tables or the pit. They've come a long way since then, and the structures are much more in line with modern tournaments that allow a lot of play late. The smaller buyin noon events give you 10 or 12k to start and they're missing the 150-300 level, but the levels are 30 minutes long, which goes a fair way toward making up for the shorter chip stacks and missing blind level. At $300 the structure gets better due to getting 15k in chips now and 40-minute levels. Long levels make up for a great deal of deficiency in blinds jumping rapidly. The Main Event structure is good, with 50-minute levels, 20k in chips, and more blind levels added in late. The HORSE also has an excellent structure, where the game changes each round at the table rather than at the next blind level. This lets you get play in at the lower levels in all the games, rather than just the first three or so.

That's good news. For the low rollers who want to play the 6:30 $120's, get ready for 8k in chips and 20-minute levels.

The Play

Tournament fields in Minnesota are tough. There's no way around that. But due to geography and reputation, the Fall Poker Classic draws a lot more weak players than the Midwest Poker Classic out at Running Aces. That's one of the reason I like there to be more blind levels early. I like to play a lot of pots with the weak players cheaply before they get eaten up by the sharks. That's not the case at Canterbury, but there are more weak players than at Aces, so it's a trade off.

The Staff

I love a lot of the staff at Canterbury Park, but I have had problems in the past with several of them, enduring a few penalties in my day and one 24-hour ban. I've covered these incidents in other forums and won't rehash them here. Suffice it to say, most of the staff is personable, competent, and fair. Hopefully, the few who aren't have received their walking papers since last I was at the card room.

Will I Play?

My history at the Classic is too good not to. I've had at least one final table appearance in almost every year I've played there-and I've never played more than three or four events during the runs. I'll not only be there, I'll be playing as many events as my schedule will allow.

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