Thursday, September 8, 2016

Week of Tournament Reviews Day 2: Poplar Creek Bowl!

Yesterday was the second day in my tournament every day for a week challenge. Despite being a tournament that I already attend every week, I am still going to write my daily review. Since I'm already a regular at Poplar Creek, this review will be based on all of my times at Poplar Creek and not just one day like my review of Mixup Mondays was.

Tournament: E2C Poplar Creek Bowl
When: Every Tuesday*. Doubles at 7:00 p.m., Singles at 8:00 p.m.
Cost: $5 venue fee, $5 singles bracket, $5 doubles bracket, $2 second chance bracket
For more info contact Events2Compete
Location: 2354 W Higgins Rd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

Events2Compete's Poplar Creek Bowl weekly is one of the longest running tournaments in the Chicago area. The venue is a spacious pool and Foosball room in a bowling alley. Even when this venue had over 100 people for a monthly tournament it has never felt cramped. Connected to the venue is a bar and grill that serves all kinds of food and beverages. During the summer months they have special deals for cheap food, which is great for all the stingy Smashers!

One of Poplar's biggest draws is the number of set ups that they usually have at the tournament. Last night the 24 person bracket ran with 10 set ups. This left a lot of time to play friendlies in between rounds. If you bring in your own set up to use for the tournament you get a $4 discount on your venue fee. Even if you do not own a monitor, E2C supplies a few extra on a first come first serve basis to use with set ups.

Each week Poplar runs through four brackets: doubles, singles, Melee, and a second chance bracket. The second chance bracket is open to anybody who does not make top eight in the singles bracket, which gives the amateur players more opportunities to test their skills against people of similar skill levels. Because Poplar usually has a high number of set ups, the tournament runs smoothly through all four brackets and ends around midnight each week. 

E2C streams the Poplar weekly on their Twitch channel and uploads the videos to their YouTube channel within a couple days. I like to watch my matches back whenever possible, so having a stream is a great addition to the tournament. The quality of the stream has improved tremendously since the tournament started up. Now they have commentators and somebody working production for the duration of tournament in order to bring the viewers at home quality entertainment. For people looking to try commentary for the first time, Poplar is a great place to start. They are always willing to try new commentators on the mic. The only downside to the stream set up is that you can sometimes hear the commentators while you are playing on stream which is distracting to players. 

In terms of attendance and strength of competition, I have always considered Poplar to be one of the "big two" in Chicago (the other being Unrivaled Tournament's Ignition weekly). During the summer we often see quite a few of the top 10 players in Chicago in attendance. However, now that school is back in session the attendance has gone down quite a bit. Average attendance now is just under 30 players, which still ranks it as the second biggest weekly tournament in the Chicago area. Between having strong competition and the second chance bracket, Poplar offers a great experience for players of all levels. Whether you are looking to prove yourself as a top player in Chicago or are looking to just drop by for some friendlies, Poplar will be an enjoyable event for everyone.

*Note that Poplar Creek will be on Thursday next week, September 15th. The move to Thursday might be permanent. Please check with Events2Compete before going to Poplar so you do not show up to an empty venue.

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