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New Dream Team Poker Concept to Premiere

First Dream Team Event Takes Place Nov. 7-9 at the Hard Rock Casino


A new team-poker concept will be introduced to the world at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas Saturday, Nov. 7, when the first Dream Team poker tournament takes place. The final table takes place Nov. 9.

The new poker tournament model is casino-friendly and gives players a better chance to win tournament dollars, since there are two ways to cash in Dream Team events: Individually and with the team.

In the premiere event, 25 teams of three players are putting up $3,000. A majority of the prize pool goes to the players who finish in the top four, and the rest goes to the four teams with the best scores.

Scoring works like this: When a player is eliminated, they will be scored with whatever place they finished the tournament in. For example, if a player is knocked out in 21st, he will get 21 points. Each team uses its best two scores, and the lowest team score wins. For example, if the members of a team finish fifth, seventh and 21st, the highest score is eliminated, and the total team score is 12. If another team finishes with the same score (the top two finishers got second and 10th, for example), the third score is used as a tie-breaker.

Also, players are given randomly assigned seats, but in a way that keeps players on the same team from playing at the same table for as long as possible (around 14 to 16 players left) to ensure that the possibility of collusion is eliminated.

Hard Rock CasinoThe winning team of the Dream Team event at Hard Rock will receive $36,000, and the winning player, $9,000. The debut tourney already is filled with 25 teams of three. Some of the players who have confirmed are Jamie Gold, Kenny Tran, David Benyamine, Jean-Robert Bellande, Chris Bigler, David Daneshgar, as well as casino executives from L.A. and Vegas. Pros will be matched up with non-pros.

Daniel Delshad, co-founder and CEO of Dream Poker, sees big things coming for his baby.

“Team poker is not a new concept, but getting it out where the tournament is structured in a way that benefited the players and the casino was the most important thing to do,” Delshad said.

The concept benefits the players because they have another chance to win money at each tournament, and it gives them a new take on a game that they’re used to playing. Delshad also believes that players who normally wouldn’t play in tournaments will join up with friends and play in the Dream Team events.

“We call this a player development tournament,” he said, “because we’re going to be bringing players who normally wouldn’t be playing in a poker tournament, but feel more comfortable with a team. They’re going to be more comfortable to join the poker tournaments.”

Any new business is good for casinos, and there’s also a nice bonus built-in the concept. When a player is eliminated, they will probably stick around to see how their teammates do. This makes it a good revenue-model for casinos, Delshad said.

There are no events scheduled following the premiere event Nov. 7, but the plan is to expand this concept to cardrooms around the country, hold a Dream Team “championship tour,” and crown a team championship of 2009. These plans are in the works.