Category Archives: WSOP

Will Online Events One Day Equal the WSOP?

Without a doubt, the WSOP is the biggest poker event on the planet.  This year’s WSOP alone saw over 58,000 people participate in the 55 events and over $160 million was dished out in prize money.  And there doesn’t appear to be a successor anytime soon on the horizon….or is there?

The world of online poker had very humble beginnings back in 1998 when the first room in Poker Planet started allowing people to play there for real money.  The Internet poker game increased moderately after that until the much discussed big boom of 2003 after people saw Chris Moneymaker win $2.5 million in the WSOP after making it there through a $39 satellite. 

And online poker has grown to the point it is at now where rooms are running multi-million dollar tournaments and events.  It seems like every month I see another offer from a room that has at least ‘1 million guaranteed’ somewhere in the title.

Then came today where I saw an article ran on the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker.  A full $30,000,000 is going to be up for grabs and the 17 day event has me wondering to myself, “Just how far is online poker going to go?”

Obviously a $30 million event is not going to upstage the WSOP but it does show how far online poker has come in terms of cash tournaments and also shows that poker rooms can organize huge money events that, 6 years ago, many would have thought were impossible.

I’m sure the online world isn’t at its peak either as I do believe the record of $30 million for an online tourney will be broken.  But it will be interesting to wait and see if any poker rooms will ever rival the WSOP in terms of such a huge event.

Positives and Negatives from the 2008 WSOP

A while back I did some posts on great moments from early on in the WSOP.  Well since there have been quite a few events since then, I’d like to sum up some of the positives and negatives that took place during the latest chapter to the WSOP story.

Positives:

1. Major charitable contributions from Jimmy Shultz and especially Eric Brooks

Poker is a tough game and money is never guaranteed.  That’s why it was so amazing when Eric Brooks and Jimmy Shultz decided to donate large portions of their winnings towards charity.  In the case of Brooks, the large portion was 100% of his $415,856 winnings and he donated this money to the Decision Education Foundation.  Shultz donated one-fifth of the $257,049 he won to the Charleston Fire Department which lost some men fighting a warehouse fire. 

2. John Phan and Erick Lindgren coming through in big ways

Before the 2008 WSOP, John Phan and Erick Lindgren were simply known as great poker players who’d never won a bracelet.  Things changed for John Phan when he won Event #29 of this year’s WSOP only to turn around again and win yet another event in the #40 which was a Triple Draw Lowball tournament.  Lindgren not only won his first bracelet in a Mixed Limit/ No Limit Hold’em game but he also won the Player of the Year honors after making three different final tables and almost making a fourth.

3. Biggest prize pool ever

For those who worried about the overall health of the WSOP since 2007 was a little down, worry no more!  That’s because this year’s WSOP had the most participants ever in 58,720 and the most money ever put in with $180,676,248. 

Negatives

1. Final table move means no closure in WSOP yet

The moving of the final table by the WSOP may be the greatest idea ever in terms of ratings and make poker more popular than ever in the long run.  But for right now, all we can say is that it is delaying the results of the most hyped part of the WSOP by almost four months.

2. Who are these people at the Main Event final table?

As mentioned before, the WSOP Main Event is the most hyped part of the whole deal and it’s kind of sad when only hardcore poker fans know the people who are participating in the final leg of it.  

3. Main Event champs performing horribly

Since there’s not much bad to say about the other 53 events that made this the biggest WSOP ever, I’ll just harp some more on Main Event-related topics.  You’d think people like Jerry Yang, Jamie Gold, Joe Hachem, and Greg Raymer would have developed some real poker skill by now since they’ve been playing quite a bit after their big Main Event victories.  But we’d all be wrong if we thought this as not a one of the four made any kind of splash in any event this year.  The closest thing was when Raymer went crazy when he finally cashed for the first time in 24 WSOP events after his Main Event win in 04′.

Is WSOP Main Event becoming More like a Lottery?

In my last post, I discussed how the final nine players who made it to the WSOP final table really don’t have a whole lot of name recognition.  Probably the most popular player going into the final table that begins play on November 9th is David “Chino” Rheem who placed 5th in an earlier WSOP event.  Besides him, the list of people from what has been dubbed “The November Nine” ranges from semi-professional players to college students and accountants.   

But with three and a half months remaining before the final table festivities kick off, everyone knew we were going to get to know the November Nine sooner or later.  And already the human interest stories are starting to come forth as I just caught one today on the chip leader Dennis Phillips.

The Illinois native’s story began when he took a St. Louis baseball cap out to get signed by various star players only to have the tables turn when he became the chip leader when the Main Event play commenced.  Then Phillips was the one signing autographs as everyone wanted a piece of the little known truck sales manager.  Now, interestingly enough, Phillips is one of the more experienced players at the table.

Especially considering the fact that people like college student Craig Marquis are at the table. Marquis hasn’t even been playing poker for two years yet he’s primed to make at least $900,000 even if he busts out first.  Russian player Ivan Demidov doesn’t have a whole lot more experience than Marquis as he’s been playing for just over two years.

With some of the players that are still alive in the field, it almost seems to me as if the WSOP Main Event is edging its way to being more of a $10,000 quasi-lottery – with a lot better odds.  Sure you certainly have to possess some sort of poker skill to make it this far but with almost 7,000 players in the field, it’s difficult for any of the best Texas Hold’em players to make it to the final table.

Regardless of my opinions on the overall skill level of the final table participants, I still will be very interested to see how the final table finishes out and will definitely be tuning in.

No Big Names at WSOP Final Table

In years past, there is normally at least one semi-big name player out of the final nine people who take the felt for the World Series of Poker Main event final table.  For instance, Lee Watkinson and Alex Kravchenko made the final table last year.  In 2006, it was Paul Wasicka and Allen Cunningham making it to the last table while Mike Matusow played his way into the Main Event final in 2005. 

Of course there were household names made out of these final tables as well such as Jerry Yang, Jamie Gold, and Joe Hachem when they won the Main Event.  And 2008 will certainly be no different as the winner will be taking home over $9 million when everything is said and done.  However, they won’t have to go though any big-time players to do it though.

That’s because the remaining nine people who will play out the final chapter to the 2008 Main Event are not well known by any means.  In fact, you’d have to be a pretty hardcore poker follower to recognize some of the names left.  Here is the list of the last few players left and it’s not exactly a who’s who of poker:

Seat 1: Dennis Phillips – 26,295,000
Seat 2: Craig Marquis – 10,210,000
Seat 3: Ylon Schwartz – 12,525,000
Seat 4: Scott Montgomery – 19,690,000
Seat 5: Darus Suharto – 12,520,000
Seat 6: Chino Rheem – 10,230,000
Seat 7: Ivan Demidov – 24,400,000
Seat 8: Kelly Kim – 2,620,000
Seat 9: Peter Eastgate – 18,375,000

Regardless of whether these people are well known or not, one thing that is assured is that these people are in for some major money.  Whoever finishes 9th (and it’s a strong bet to be Kelly Kim at this point) will take home nearly a million dollars at $900,670.  And as mentioned before, the prizes will be going all the way up to $9 million. 

Plus, with over 115 days left till the final table is played out, we’ll probably be hearing plenty about these nine before the actual contest kicks off.  I can’t wait to see how it plays out!

Chris Moneymaker Effect Part II?

Many poker players and fans are well aware of the Chris Moneymaker effect.  It was a time of wealth and prosperity for the game of poker that occurred mainly because of a little known man from Atlanta, Georgia who defied all odds.  The little known man was Chris Moneymaker and he was playing in his first live tournament after winning a $10,000 buy-in to the WSOP Main Event through a $39 PokerStars satellite.  Amazingly, Moneymaker would go on to defeat Sammy Farha in heads-up play to win the first place prize of $2.5 million.

Now he could potentially have a successor in the wings.  It’s definitely too early to start calling out potential winners for the 2008 Main Event as only 6 days have passed but Brian Schlaedlich would have to be the early favorite as he’s way out in the lead right now.  Schlaedlich has amassed over 800,000 chips which puts him 400,000 chips ahead of the closest competitor.

This has already shocked many in the poker world since the 22 year-old teacher from Cleveland hasn’t been anywhere on the radar in the past making him just as unknown as Chris Moneymaker.   And what’s more is that Schlaedlich won his way through a $135 satellite from a racetrack in West Virginia. 

Now he could certainly crumble and blow through his huge chip advantage as the WSOP still has a ways to go but I would hope not.  People like Schlaedlich are what give the Main Event its mystique because it shows that anyone can win it all no matter what the odds are stacked against them.

With the separation from July to November in final table coverage, it would be huge if Schlaedlich could just make it to the last table because this would mean tons of coverage for the young man and lots more people flocking to sign up for online poker.  I know I’ll be rooting for him. 

WSOP Main Event back on the Rise

Back when Jamie Gold was busy lucking into the $12 million prize pool in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event, the game of poker was rising into heights it had never experienced before.  Then came the dreaded UIGEA in October and poker players worst fears had come true.  The game they loved had become regulated and the money going towards it was being depleted. 

Last year’s top WSOP prize, which was won by Jerry Yang, fell down to $8.25 million and this was mostly the effect of less and less online players being able to get into the WSOP through satellites.  And clearly, just by judging from the top prize, things had fallen off a little bit in terms of overall buy-ins for the Main Event. 

However, this year the results are already in and the Main Event prize pool will be an enormous $64.3 million dollars with 666 players earning a share of it.  Even better news, the top prize this year is moving back up again to the tune of $9.1 million.  The 6,844 players who paid, or won, the $10,000 buy-in made this all possible.

But WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack warns that, “The fact that we broke all of the records we set last year is terrific, but there may be years where we’re up, years where we’re down.”  But he did finish his statement by mentioning, “Bottom line is that we’re here for the long term and we’re not going anywhere, and I don’t know many poker properties that can say that.” 

Hopefully in the future the buy-ins will continue to be more towards the up side rather than the down so that the Main Event top prize, as well as other prizes, can climb back to the height they were at in 2006. 

Is Phil Hellmuth the Same Player this Year?

There are many people who can lay claim to being the best poker player in the world.  After all, it’s hard to really determine anything as the best measuring stick when comparing players.  Some people prefer to point towards the ones that play in Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio as some of the best players in the world since they consistently play for the biggest stakes.  And if you’re going to use this as the measuring stick then most would say Phil Ivey is the best.

However, others like to point towards live tournaments as the favored way to tell how talented a player is.  And if this is the case, then Phil Hellmuth and his 11 WSOP bracelets by be considered the way to go.  After all, a gold WSOP bracelet is pretty much the top prize one could hope to win in any tournament (besides the money of course). 

But this year, it almost seems like Phil Hellmuth has played a little off from previous campaigns.  And that’s a hard thing to say since Hellmuth just recently took third in the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. tournament.  But as much as people have come to expect from him, it doesn’t seem like he’s been as dominant a tournament player in 2008. 

In his previous years of playing poker, Hellmuth was a constant threat to cash in every event he entered.  And he often did at least cash, if not make the final table and/or win the tournament he was playing in.  But this year I’ve seen him sent to the rail plenty of times during the early going of a tournament.  Many times he hasn’t even made it past the 1st day. 

Now he may make me eat my words and go out and win bracelet #13 in these last few events but I don’t see it happening this year.  I’m sure we’ll see a revival of the Poker Brat since he’s got plenty of years ahead of him but don’t expect it to take place anytime soon. 

More Great WSOP Moments – Charitable Contributions

A few posts ago, I discussed some of the better moments that the 2008 World Series of Poker has experienced so far.  Well the last one talked about were blown out of the water by the actions of Jimmy Shultz and [[Eric_Brook|Eric Brooks]].

Neither one of these two are really well known among poker fans – especially Brooks who doesn’t have a whole lot of major [[Poker|poker]] experience.  But both came out on top in WSOP events as Shultz won Event #12 while Brooks won Event #14.

That wasn’t what was impressive about the two though as both did something far greater for the game of poker.  Both made huge charitable contributions among the likes that have rarely been seen by poker before.

After winning the 12th event of the WSOP, Shultz decided to donate a fifth of his $257,049 in prize money to the Charleston Fire Department.  He also wore a [[CFD|CFD]] cap throughout the tournament to support the department after they lost nine men in a terrible warehouse fire.  The 50+ grand that Shultz gave them should help out some.

Brooks went even farther in his charity by giving all of his $415,856 to the Decision Education Foundation.  This nonprofit organization is headed by Stanford University and seeks to help children how to make good choices.  Brooks has been a longtime board member of the group.

To me it’s pretty amazing when people can give these types of donations after winning a WSOP.  After all, many players choose to keep all of the money and either invest it or buy fancy things.  I can’t say I blame them either as most people would be inclined to keep that type of money as poker can be a fickle game at times and you never know when the next big win is coming.  That just makes it even more incredible that Brooks and Shultz were able to part ways with significant amounts of cash.

Best WSOP Moments So Far

Everyone seems to be talking about the 2008 World Series of Poker right now (probably because it’s going on) so I figure that I’ll chime in on the world’s greatest poker event as well.  And what I’d like to shed some light on is some of the best moments that have happened so far in the WSOP.

One of my favorites was the first sign that interest in the WSOP isn’t even close to dying off yet as the second event attracted a record number of players (for event #2) in the 3,929 that entered it.  There were so many people in the event that one day took 18 hours just to be completed.  On top of the numbers thing, it was also nice to see underdog Grant Hinkle win a bracelet in just his first WSOP cash ever.  He was able to overcome a final table that included Chris Ferguson and Theo Tran to do it.

Another great moment in my opinion was when Matt Keikoan was able to capture the win in Event #7.  Keikoan has been a long-time pro who had to struggle to make it to where he is today.  Often taking small casino jobs in addition to his poker playing, Keikoan had a tough time making ends meet sometimes but he was able to half a million dollars in Event #7 and shouldn’t have to struggle too much now.

Another pretty cool story was when Anthony Rivera out-maneuvered a lot of established tournament players en route to picking up the bracelet in Event #8.  With people like Jeff Madsen, Sam Farha, and prodigy Tom Dwan sitting at the final table with him, Rivera was able to play through his lack of tournament experience and come up with the big victory.  And just like Hinkle, this was only Rivera’s first WSOP cash as well.

There’s sure to be many more great moments in the 2008 WSOP and I can’t wait to catch them.

 

Is Poker in Danger? (Part 2)

The last post I wrote looked at a few of the online trends occurring in poker today that might make one wonder if the game is in any sort of danger as far as losing its popularity among people.  This post is going to focus on the TV side of poker and some of the major shakeups that have happened or may be in the works with regards to the televised side of the game. 

First, let’s go over what has already occurred:
– At this point it looks like the [[Game_Show_Network|Game Show Network (GSN)]] is moving towards canceling the show [[High_Stakes_Poker|”High Stakes Poker”]].  This comes after news surfaced that no new episodes were filmed in March or April which is when they filmed them in the past.  
– There have also been some reports that the [[World_Poker_Tour|WPT]] is in trouble after lackluster ratings.  This is only speculation but they can’t be in real good standing with GSN after PokerStars chose to no longer advertise during WPT’s time slot.
– The already oft-reported news about the [[World_Series_of_Poker|WSOP]] final table being moved to boost ratings for ESPN’s coverage of the Main Event is just another event which makes me wonder what kind of state the popularity of poker is currently at.

Now these events certainly don’t spell the doomsday for poker as I’m fairly sure that the game of will always be around since too many people enjoy playing it for poker to ever fade away.  But the TV occurrences coupled with the online trend of the FTOPS definitely raises some questions though.

And most of these questions revolve around whether the glory days of poker – that saw Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu have become household names and tons of people flock to card rooms across the Internet daily – are starting their decline. 

I sure hope not but we’ll have to wait a couple of years to truly find out.