All poker enthusiasts will know that the European Poker Tour stopped in Vilamoura last week, given the players a chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery and play some cards in Portugal’s largest ever poker tournament. A much less well-known event was also taking place in conjunction with the official stop, namely PokerStars Fairways and Felts, the first ever mixed golf/poker tournament. Daniel Negreanu proved that he knew his way around the golf course almost as well as he does around a poker table, taking down the whole event.
Fairways and Felts is the first event of its kind, and if you’re anything like me then when you first heard about it you probably thought it sounded even more ridiculous than Chess boxing and had no idea how it could work. As it turns out, it’s pretty simple and actually quite a neat idea.
The contestants are randomly split off into teams and make their way around the golf course, each member of the team having a go at each shot then the team decides whose ball they’d like to play from. At the commencement of the poker, bonus chips are then added to the stacks of the teams’ members that perform the best in the golf, with bonus chips also being awarded to individuals who achieve feats such as the longest drive. In this way, your performance in the golf directly gives you an advantage – or disadvantage – in the poker.
Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu is heralded as one of the best players in the world today. He has four World Series of Poker bracelets, was ESPN, WPT and CardPlayer Player of the Year in 2004 and has made numerous television appearances on popular poker shows. In fact, for most of you reading this Negreanu may well be most famous for his presence – and appalling luck – on High Stakes Poker, where he is frequently heard discussing golf with other pros at the table.
The Fairways and Felts event boasted an €1,100 buy-in, split between tournament and green fees and the contribution to the prizepool itself. Somewhat disappointingly only fourteen people turned up on the day to compete, but the event was never really about winning big money as much as it was a nice relaxing couple of days in a beautiful spot in the world and, of course, the bragging rights.
Despite the relatively small turn-out, there were obviously some big poker names but also some very proficient golfers, not least of all Scandinavian players Tom Larsen and Eddie Tasbas boasting very impressive 0.5 and 0 handicaps, respectively. While Daniel Negreanu’s team didn’t end up winning the golf event, they did well enough to earn him 2,500 additional starting chips as the poker kicked off, and from there it was hard to slow the poker great down, who took down the tournament earning himself a modest €8,000.
While the turnout could have been larger, there’s no doubt that it was a great day had by all, both on the fairway and on the felt. We can hope that word of mouth gets out about this great new way to relax while still satisfying that competitive craving, but if not then Daniel Negreanu can add to his resume that he is the only Fairways and Felts World Champion in existence.