Meet PokerNews Cup Tournament Director Thomas Lamatsch

Meet PokerNews Cup Tournament Director Thomas Lamatsch

PokerNews Cup - Thomas Lamatsch

The thirteenth edition of the PokerNews Cup (PNC) is less than a month away at Finix Casino, located on the border of Greece in Kulata, Bulgaria on May 9-19.

The two marquee events on the schedule both feature €100,000 guarantees; the PokerNews Cup €1,100 High Roller on May 12-16 and the PokerNews Cup €550 Main Event on May 15-19.

Famous Tournament Director (TD) and poker consultant Thomas Lamatsch organized the schedule and structure of these two massive events as part of being the TD of the festival. PokerNews sat down with Lamatsch to learn more about him and his thoughts about the PNC.

Thomas Lamatsch
Thomas Lamatsch

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your path to becoming one of the most famous TDs in poker.

Quite a short story. As most of the TDs, I started my career in 1993 as a poker dealer in the CCC Vienna. As I instantly fell in love with this game and with full energy, I was promoted in some years from a dealer to a floorman and finally to the manager of the CCC.

In 2007, I was looking for a new challenge and founded my company European Poker Consulting. First I was focused on consulting activities, but very soon I was hired more as a TD. In the upcoming years, I was running a lot of exciting events, like EPTs, WPTs, and a lot of tournaments all over Europe. Nowadays I am more focused on gaming consulting, networking, and being an influencer and just at select special events, like the PNC to run it as TD. I like the challenge of new venues, new staff, and gaining different experiences.

What is involved in creating a schedule and running a poker event?
People think that being a TD is just a job to stand around and waiting for a "floor" call, but planning and executing an event starts months before the event.

The schedule should be adapted to the needs of the local community, but also made attractive enough for foreign players. Also, space, opening times of the venue, staffing, equipment, and many more factors influence a schedule. Besides the schedule, I just have sent a three sites document to Finix Casino, where procedures, rules, and operation facts are explained. After all these preparations, we can run the event and now it is all around teamwork. Only with a good team, will you be successful.

My job will be to coordinate, overview, and supervise the running of the event and assisting the local staff to follow the international standard of PokerNews events. Also for the players, I will be open to discuss improvements and feedback, as the focus is always to run an event for the players.

What are your thoughts about the PNC schedule’virgutis’ data-zone=’sponsored:post’>

The PNC schedule is a real and exciting challenge, as it is the first big event for the Finix Casino and we are curious about the reaction of the player community. We tried to satisfy all kind of players including high rollers, low budget players with satellites and side events, and chose a buy-in for the Main Event which everybody can afford.

An important decision was also not to offer unlimited re-entries for the High Roller and the Main Event, so nobody is scared to play the event with a disadvantage of a smaller bankroll. And finally, we put a nice guarantee of €100,000 on the two big events, which makes for some nice value.

What are your thoughts about the venue at Finix Casino?

I am looking forward to the Finix Casino, as so far, I just know the casino through pictures, the website, and some video calls. But I know that it’s located at the border to Greece, which guarantees that for the PNC many players from Greece will show up there. Besides the Greek-style casino, there is also a nice restaurant and a luxury hotel in the same building. And the best is that the casino is running poker and offering regular tournaments and daily cash games, which makes the casino very sympathetic to me, as it is still rare, that casino showing interest in the fantastic game of poker.

Do you enjoy playing poker? Tell us a little about your poker history.

I was playing a lot of poker some years ago, but then I got too busy, and I wasn’t really allowed to play bigger events, as it is never the best as TD to participate in poker events. But I had some success, as you can see on my Hendon Mob with a total earning of $64k with only four entries. Now I prefer to play home games with friends and have fun. Only on rare occasions, I’ll play an event, but when I’m in a poker room, it’s usually for business, networking, or meeting friends.

Thomas Lamatsch
Thomas Lamatsch

What was your biggest controversy at a poker event?

My biggest controversy, which was ongoing for weeks, was in Italy to start an event on time. The players were not used to it, and we were starting the main event of the PokerGrandPrix on time, without any delay. Specifically, one of the players was nonstop shouting to me. He was really upset with me, as most of the players were coming late as usual and years ago, the stack was going in play for registered players, so they lost some blinds. In the end, the community was fine with the new procedures, and all players were in their seats on time. Also, the guy is now a poker friend of mine.

What was your most difficult ruling?

The most difficult ruling was more prevention than a ruling.

With rulings, I had many difficult decisions, but my first rule is never to decide a ruling alone without consulting another floor and colleague. As a TD, I am always the last one to be called to the table. When this happens, it means it’s a difficult situation, and the floor team doesn’t want to rule this without me.

Back to the prevention, which was a situation on a feature table, where some players from one country were talking in their language and avoided playing hands against each other. We followed this on the stream and finally, we decided that I had to speak to them; just to give them an unofficial warning. The players were very upset, which I understood. But sometimes a TD has to make a very unpopular decision and ruling. But I would do it again, as I think it is better to act than only react, also if it’s sometimes a mistake.

2019 PokerNews Cup Kulata Schedule

Date Time Event Guarantee Buy-in Re-Entry Starting Stack Levels Played until Reg. Closing Level
May 9 7 p.m. NL Hold’em – Satellite to PNC High Roller 2 seats €120 unl. 15,000 20 min winner 10 levels
  9 p.m. NL Hold’em – Deepstack Turbo   €220 1x 20,000 15 min winner 10 levels
                   
May 10 5 p.m. NL Holdem – Satellite to PNC High Roller 2 seats €120 unl. 15,000 20 min winner 10 levels
  7 p.m. PL Omaha   €550 unl. 30,000 20 min winner 10 levels
                   
May 11 3 p.m. NL Hold’em   €330 1x 20,000 20 min winner 10 levels
  7 p.m. NL Hold’em – Satellite to PNC High Roller 2 seats €120 unl. 15,000 20 min winner 10 levels
                   
May 12 2 p.m. NL Hold’em – Turbo Satellite to PNC High Roller 2 seats €120 unl. 15,000 15 min winner 10 levels
  5 p.m. NL Hold’em – PNC High Roller – Day 1A €100,000 €1,100 2x 100,000 45 min 10 levels 12 levels
  7 p.m. NL Hold’em   €330 1x 20,000 20 min winner 10 levels
                   
May 13 2 p.m. NL Holdem – Turbo Satellite to PNC High Roller 2 seats €120 unl. 15,000 15 min winner 10 levels
  5 p.m. NL Holdem – PNC High Roller – Day 1B €100,000 €1,100 2x 100,000 45 min 10 levels 12 levels
  7 p.m. NL Holdem – Turbo Satellite to PNC Main Event 5 seats €60 unl. 15,000 20 min winner 10 levels
                   
May 14 2 p.m. NL Holdem – Turbo Satellite to PNC High Roller 2 seats €120 unl. 15,000 15 min winner 10 levels
  5 p.m. NL Holdem – PNC High Roller – Day 1C €100,000 €1,100 2x 100,000 45 min winner 12 levels
  7 p.m. NL Holdem – Turbo Satellite to PNC Main Event 5 seats €60 unl. 15,000 20 min winner 10 levels
  9 p.m. NL Holdem – Turbo   €330 1x 20,000 15 min winner 10 levels
                   
May 15 2 p.m. NL Hold’em – Satellite to PNC Main Event 5 seats €60 unl. 15,000 15 min winner 10 levels
  3 p.m. NL Hold’em – PNC High Roller – Day 2 €100,000 €1,100 2x 100,000 45 min FT
  6 p.m. NL Hold’em – PNC Main Event – Day 1A €100,000 €550 1x 50,000 30 min ITM 12 levels
  9 p.m. NL Hold’em – Turbo Knockout (€150+€50)   €220 unl. 20,000 15 min winner 10 levels
                   
May 16 1 p.m. NL Hold’em – Satellite to PNC Main Event 5 seats €60 unl. 15,000 15 min winner 10 levels
  3 p.m. NL Hold’em – PNC High Roller – Final Day €100,000 €1,100 2x 100,000 45 min winner
  4 p.m. NL Hold’em – PNC Main Event – Day 1B €100,000 €550 1x 50,000 30 min ITM 12 levels
  7 p.m. NL Hold’em – MEGA Satellite to PNC Main Event 10 seats €60 unl. 15,000 15 min winner 10 levels
                   
May 17 1 p.m. NL Hold’em – PNC Main Event – Day 1C €100,000 €550 1x 50,000 30 min ITM 12 levels
  4 p.m. NL Hold’em – Super Turbo Knockout (€50+€150)   €220 unl. 20,000 15 min winner 10 levels
  7 p.m. NL Hold’em – PNC Main Event – Turbo Day 1D €100,000 €550 1x 50,000 15 min ITM 12 levels
                   
May 18 1 p.m. NL Hold’em – PNC Main Event – Day 2 €100,000 €550 40 min FT
  4 p.m. NL Hold’em – Deepstack – Day 1   €220 unl. 50,000 30 min ITM 10 levels
                   
May 19 2 p.m. NL Hold’em – PNC Main Event – Final Day €100,000 €550 40 min winner
  3 p.m. NL Hold’em – Deepstack – Day 2   €220 unl. 50,000 30 min winner 10 levels
  4 p.m. NL Hold’em – Cool Down   €120 unl. 20,000 15 min winner 10 levels

* Schedule subject to change at tournament director’s discretion.

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