12/06/2008

World Series of Ponder

Carl Sampson 'The Dean'

Every year at this time we have the annual jamboree that is the WSOP, an ever growing series of poker events that culminates with someone getting publicity, a fair bit of dosh and a nice bracelet which comes with all of the kudos of winning a WSOP event.

Every year this series of events comes round and every year I face the same dilemma and the same questions….. “are you going to the World Series?”. Some people seem quite surprised when you say no but I have often wondered whether it would be worth getting my backside over there.

I suppose it all comes down to why you want to go and participate in it. Many people just want to be there and to sample the atmosphere. For many, this feeling of actually being a “player” gives them tremendous personal satisfaction. For some being ringside at the final table of the main event is fantastic and a bit like being at the final session of the World Snooker final, something to look back on and you can say…. “I was there”.

Then we have the people who are going in the hopes of getting lucky or famous or both, to them I say good luck although the WSOP needs them because without the numbers and the interest then where would it be? Personally I would like to see the WSOP have less events so that each event and each winner actually stood out more but I suppose that this is never going to happen now.

For some of course, they just want to say that they cashed in an event so they can go home with bragging rights. For me personally, there is no way that I could go several thousand miles to simply try to cash….I would have to do my utmost to get to that final table and if I busted out early (which would be likely) then so be it but I would have to give myself a chance to win the thing.

But I have absolutely no desire whatsoever just to actually be in LV at WSOP time. For me, poker is about money and you need to look at the balance sheet before you make the trip or that’s how it is for me. The overwhelming probability is that I wouldn’t come back with a bracelet or even final table bragging rights so we could expect my outlay (presuming I played in about half a dozen events) to be on the minus side the majority of the time even if I was +EV.

But then I have to be realistic and ask the question “would I even be +EV at all?” I don’t play tournament poker for very specific reasons mainly to do with it not really fitting into my current schedule. But I prefer the total flexibility of cash games and the capacity to always be on my best game and being able to enter a session and to end it on my terms and not when some tournament clock says so.

Then there are concentration issues which I think that I have mentioned before on the forum and playing poker for that length of time would be a problem with retaining focus for me personally although things may be different once I was actually there. Then I quite often have problems with my sleep patterns which quite often leaves me feeling lethargic during the day, not great for concentrating.

So there are serious doubts for me that I would even be going over there with a +EV for any of the tournaments (which probably means I would come back with a bracelet). But what about the exposure of winning an event and what it could do to you with regards financial spin offs? Well what would it actually do to you? Try naming as many winners as you can from last years series. There was Phil’s 11th, Jerry Yang winning the big one and we can’t forget Ram now can we but who else can you remember? Others I remember like Chip and Freddy Deeb winning the $50k event and Jeff Madsen because of his age but then the years start to fade and I am not sure if it was 2006 or 2007.

Most people would be hard pressed to remember half a dozen winners out of the fifty or so events last year. So unless you are already an established name then would winning a run of the mill event at the series have any further financial spin offs…..possible but unlikely. There are lots of players who have done very nicely thankyou without ever getting their hands on a bracelet.
But then there would be those who argue that to reduce the variance, you can swap pieces with other players and so on and this is true but there are also certain problems associated with this. Even the cash games don’t have any allure for me personally despite the picture that people sometimes paint. I really don’t think that I could increase my hourly rate by going to Vegas and even if I could then how much better would it have to be to compensate for the expenses incurred in making the trip.

I suppose that the bottom line is that all players have their own motives and agendas for going and for many then the WSOP can be a great place to be. Personally I cannot imagine myself never going and I tell myself that I ought to go every year but I still never get around to it. But for all those who do make the trip then I wish you the very best of British luck and hope that you bring one home.

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