Interview with Tex Morgan: The Man Behind the TEARS
By Jan Fisher
Tex Morgan is an interesting and colorful character who has done much for the poker community, especially for tournament enthusiasts. His brainchild, the TEARS system, has caught on at such an alarming pace that he and his representatives, Patty Pfeil and former WSOP World Champion Brad Daugherty, are barely able to keep up with the constant requests from one tournament director after another.
Just what does the TEARS acronym stand for? It is tournament evaluation and rating system. What does it mean and how does it work? We will get back to that for some general information on this system.
Tex has written an article explaining the entire program and it is available for your perusal right here on PokerPages.com. For now, poker can wait as I share with you an interview with the friendly and congenial Tex Morgan. I caught up with Tex at the recently concluded Reno Hilton Pot of Gold Tournament. Here are some of the fascinating things that he shared with me.
Jan Fisher: Tex, you and I have crossed paths many times during the past decade but we have never really talked. Would you tell me a little about yourself? I have heard that you have had a tremendously varied and interesting life. Talk to me!
Tex Morgan: Well, yes, I have been around a while and I have done many things in my life. You know, the usual stuff that a guy from Texas does ~ nothing too exciting.
JF: I am calling your bluff on that one. Please, I heard that you were in the rodeo, were (are?) an expert archer, as well as other such tidbits. Don’ t make me drag it outta ‘ya!
TM: Okay, good call. I have been a competitor all of my life. Yes, I was on the rodeo circuit for many years. The events in which I participated were bareback, bull riding, and roping. I am a true Texan at heart! I also have competed as a toxophilite on a four-man team that set a world record in the 1970s.
JF: Now stop right there! First, you told me “not much” when I asked about your life. Now you are using words like toxisomething…what is that?
TM: Okay, so you were paying attention. That is the real term for archery. I participated on a team that at one time competed in an event where we (as a team) shot 120 arrows at a one and one-half inch bull’s-eye from 60 feet. We missed the target four times.
JF: You missed the target entirely?
TM: No, we missed the bull’s-eye four times!
JF: Wow, that is incredible. So now, save me from the dragging it out of you and tell me the rest of the story.
TM: Well, I also have dabbled at bowling, chess, checkers, and pinochle. I have been happily married for 16 years and hope that that never ends. I began playing poker at the age of 14, playing penny-ante, pot-limit anything. We played draw, spit in the ocean ~ you know ~ the general home fare that dates back to the dark ages! From there, as I got older, I began to play in some home games and, as the current popular poker games emerged as being the games to master, that is where I directed my attention.
JF: I know that with your TEARS tournament structure system, you have certainly spent numerous hours on the computer. Knowing that you are a numbers guy, and assisted by some inside information, tell me about the personal statistics that you keep on your own tournament results.
TM: They really aren’t any big deal. You know, I just crunch some numbers and figure out statistically speaking how I do in the events in which I enter.
JF: And how do you do? I really want to know!
TM: The numbers that I have come up with have truly amazed me. Only ‘cause you are threatening to call my bluff again am I going to share those stats with you. I have to be honest here, I am mighty proud of what I have learned by keeping these good records. I have won 69 tournaments having buy-ins of $100 or more. I win one in 20 that I enter. That’s really about it.
JF: Wow, that is an amazing number! To a non-player it may not sound like many, but that is really awesome! What about your finishes and wins once you are in the money? Do you keep records on that too?
TM: Yes, I have all of those numbers as well. Of all the tournaments that I enter, I finish in the money one time out of five and a half.
JF: And how many of those do you win?
TM: I am a bit embarrassed to share this information but, for the past seven and a half years, I have won one out of three tournaments once I have made the money!
JF: I am amazed! So how do you do in heads-up play?
TM: Jeez, you ask a lot of questions…I have won about 75% of my heads-up matches.
JF: And you said your life was no big deal. You made me pull teeth to get these answers! Wow, if I had such a great life, both in and out of poker, I would be shouting it from the mountaintops!
TM: It’s really no big deal.
And so this is Tex Morgan, the man. Low key and modest by nature, I found Tex to be a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant, smoke-filled casino. His life’s accomplishments, as well as his class and outgoing yet soft-spoken nature, made the time that I spent with him fly. I wanted to know more. But, Tex kept telling me how unimportant all of this was. That the real story here was not about him, but about his tournament program TEARS.
As mentioned, Tex wrote his own report about the system and the reasons behind it. You can access that report right here on Pokerpages.com. Let me tell you a little about it that he may have neglected to tell you, being the modest cowboy that he is. He began working on this idea for a better tournament structure eight years ago. He knew what needed to be done, but he just didn’t know how to do it. He got a computer about five years ago and began learning what was possible. He is refining the program all the time, but it has taken off with overwhelming success. The premise of it is that the limits go up in a smoother, more even fashion. There are no 100% limit increases. All limit jumps fit within the parameters of being between 33% and 66 2/3%. The time limit for each round is adjusted according to a computer model, answering the tournament director’s dilemma of what time an event will end.
The Reno Hilton was the first property to accept this new idea as being worthy of a trial and it has finally come to overwhelming acceptance after some initial player trepidation. Players and tournament directors were all skeptical, as we all are, of change. It seems to have turned out that this change was hugely for the good of tournament poker. Tex was hoping that by 2001, he could get three main properties with major events to give his system a try. To date, he has already gotten 17! Not only will the Reno Hilton use this system again for their January World Poker Challenge, but also the Reno Peppermill will begin using it for their next event, as will the prestigious World Series Of Poker and Tournament Of Champions! Now those are some resounding endorsements.
So what does Tex get out of this? The knowledge that he has made a change for the betterment of the industry. For casinos that wish to try out this system, Tex is offering the program and training in its usage free of charge. If he or one of his representatives have to travel to accomplish this, they ask expenses only. Tex has done this for the industry that he loves. He is an adrenaline junkie and by keeping tournaments playable for the masses, he has provided for a better future for these events.
In addition to the structures he provides, he also has payout schedules that are figured out by the same computer program. He believes in the flattened payouts. That is quite a generous belief for someone with such tremendous tournament results. His love of poker, poker players, and the industry is certainly evident. I was incredibly impressed by Tex and his friendly and fun nature. And as I left him at the table where we had been speaking, I was asking myself what the heck had taken me so long to get to know this really cool guy. I look forward to my next encounter with Tex and suggest that when you folks see him in a cardroom, you go right up to him and say “howdy.”
I know when the next time I will see him will be. He and I have an appointment to go over the structures that he is trying to prepare for me to see if his system will work for my tournaments on the Card Player Cruises. We have some special needs, and I would have thought I was drawing dead to even think that he would have the formula for me. He assured me that he would try to come up with one by the time I meet up with him again in Reno at the Hilton’s January event. I promise that if he has the program for me, I will give it a try!
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