I hope everyone who enjoys poker has been following the World Series of Poker the past few weeks. I have no doubt the ESPN coverage will start appearing on TV as soon as they can finish editing it but it’s entertaining to follow along online as it happens. ESPN will never let you know the behind the scenes stories and the less “TV friendly” moments.
So far this year has been “the year of the pro” with professionals taking home a large percentage of the 50+ WSOP bracelets but now it’s Main Event time. For those less than familiar with the WSOP the Main Event is a $10k NLHE tourney (Translation: No Limit Texas Hold’Em with a $10,000 buy-in to play.) This is the event Chris Moneymaker won not so long ago that set off this whole poker extravaganza. It’s the event that ESPN loves to make hay out of and it’s an event with a pretty incredible payout pool.
Over 6800 people started in the main event (and yes, that means there is $68 MILLION in play minus the rake) and after two days 1308 remain. To put that in perspective, somewhere around 1/3 of the total prize money for all 55 WSOP events is in play for just the Main Event. First place will take home just over $9.1 million dollars and just making the final table guarantees you just short of a million. 666 degenerate sinners will cash and make at least double their money back.
A lot of discussion has ensued this year about the downturn in poker and how the organizers had to scrape by last years entrant number by the skin of their teeth. I still maintain that between the government stupidity in the states and the fact that it’s now been a few years since Moneymaker even seeing a moderately significant downturn would have been pretty amazing. Sadly I’ve come to accept that by the time I have 10k to throw away just to say I’ve played in the Main Event we’ll likely be back down to less amazing numbers but it’ll still be one hell of an experience. $1,500 NLHE or something? Definitely in the next few years. It may be stupid, but a nice payday and a Mr. T bracelet would be awfully nice.
Stupidly enough though, the WSOP has decided to delay the final table five months until sometime in November. One can only imagine the backdoor wheeling and dealing that can (and will) happen during that layoff. I missed whatever explanation they had for it but I certainly find it frustrating… I can only imagine what it’ll be like for those actually sitting there.
If you’re interested in following along a good first step is Poker News and you should definitely visit the The Tao of Poker with Dr. Pauly for a more behind the scenes view. One should be aware that the WSOP started at the end of may and some of these folks have been sweating the entire things with at most a couple of days off. The tone of the writing tends to get a little… darker… towards the end of things.