When the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship first debuted in 2006, most poker purists rejoiced. Finally, there was a comprehensive event that weighed multiple forms of poker on a more equitable scale -- rather than just the relatively narrow prism of No-Limit Hold’em.
Sure. No-Limit Hold’em remains the so-called “Cadillac” of poker games. It would be ludicrous to suggest that the Main Event Championship would be anything but this extraordinarily popular form of poker that has been the staple of the world’s championship, since 1970.
That said, a conversation took place following the conclusion of one of the most recent WSOP gold bracelet events which bears repeating. Two-time gold bracelet champion David “Bakes” Baker was asked after his victory if he thought H.O.R.S.E. was the real test of best all-around poker skill.
Speaking of H.O.R.S.E., Baker said: “I think the game is really a good test of the best all-around player. But I think that Draw (games) have gotten so big that you can’t just have a H.O.R.S.E. tourney anymore and have like an allaround player. If there’s no Draw in the mix, then it’s just played so widely now that if a player isn’t good at Draw then I don’t know if they can be one of the best overall players.”
So, now there’s a proponent for the “Eight-Game Mix” being a better determinant of overall poker skill than other tournaments. In addition to the five H.O.R.S.E. games, Eight-Game Mix tournaments also include Deuceto- Seven Draw Lowball, Pot-Limit Omaha, and No-Limit Hold’em – for a grand total of eight games. The $2,500 buy-in Eight- Game Mix (Event #37) was played last week – which was won by David “ODB” Baker. By no means did it have the largest prize pool. But it may be as good an indicator as there is when it comes to all-inclusive skill. Of course, the seventh annual “Poker Players Championship” followed, which adapts an identical mix of games. This prestigious tournament has taken on added significance in recent years, becoming synonymous with its inaugural winner, the late great David “Chip” Reese.
So, what’s the ultimate prize in poker? Is it winning the WSOP Main Event? Is it the Poker Players Championship? Or might it might actually be – based solely on peer respect – any of the “Eight-Game Mix” events?
No doubt, the debate will continue.