Alex Henry, Founder of Deepstack Open: "15% of the Field Paid Their Entry in Cryptocurrency"
For the first time in its nine-year history, the Unibet Deepstack Open has joined forces with the regular Unibet Open tour to host the special €330 Unibet Deepstack Open Cup. The cup is an appetizer for those playing the Main Event later this week and drew 190 entries, each paying up the affordable buy-in to kick things off in Malta.
The Deepstack Open is a long-running poker series, predominantly active in France, Italy, and Spain. Being combined with the Unibet Open here in Malta gave us time to catch up with Alex Henry, founder and president of the Deepstack Open.
"There was a real need for players to play a tournament with a great structure, a two- or three-day event, so that's why we went with the €300-€500 range."
"The Deepstack Open is a brand I've created with Alex Dreyfus ten years ago, and I've been working with Unibet.fr for the last five," Henry said. "The brand is quite well known in France, Italy, and Spain. Usually, the buyin is at €550. We created a special smaller last year of €330 so players can win a package for €500. For the regular tour, we usually draw around 300 to 500 players. A €300 event like this is usually slightly smaller as it's placed, like now, as an opener for a bigger festival."
The buyin is one of the first things that catches the eye when looking at the Deepstack Open: a multi-day event at a relatively affordable cost. Offering this range of buyins, the Deepstack Open prides itself on being one of the main poker tours in Europe specifically focused on recreational players.
Asking why Henry chose to specifically cater to these type of players with the Deepstack Open, he said the following:
"When we created this tour ten years ago, back then, to have a good tournament with a nice structure for this kind of buy-in, the options were at a minimum. I'm a poker lover, but I couldn't buy in for €1K just for fun. There was a real need for players to play a tournament with a great structure, a two- or three-day event, so that's why we went with the €300-€500 range."
Catering to the recreational player requires a different approach than the big tournaments around the world, and one of the things the Deepstack Open separates itself with is by offering freerolls to players who busted an event. Players can win tickets as well as a share of the leaderboard prize pool of €15,000, giving players a second or even third chance to win something at a Deepstack Open event.
"Especially players from Russia or the Middle East like buying in with Bitcoins or Ether"
Another thing that stands out — one that not necessarily benefits the recreational player only — is the acceptance of cryptocurrency. With crypto's being all the rage in the poker world, the Deepstack Open has become the first international poker tour to embrace the blockchain, allowing their players to buy in with Bitcoin or Ethereum as well as fiat currency.
"We offer our players the option to buy in with cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, it's not allowed in every country yet, but we accept it wherever it's allowed. With the event we did in Mauritius, we had 15% of the field paying their entry in cryptocurrency. Especially players from Russia or the Middle East like buying in with Bitcoins or Ether," Henry stated about the use of digital currency at his event.
It's one of the many ways the Deepstack Open tries to differentiate itself among the ever-increasing field of live tournament series. With 12 stops lined up in its ninth season, the tour isn't planning on winding down any time soon. Upcoming stops include a regular €550 event in San Remo this weekend, as well as stops in Lloret Del Mar, Varna, and Gujan Mestras.
For more information about the Deepstack Open, upcoming events and how to qualify or register, go to deepstackopen.com.
Photos by Tambet Kask / Unibet Open.
A former professional poker player with a background in sports marketing and journalism. Yori has been a part of PokerNews since 2016 and manages the content team.