By Tom McEvoy
I’m going to give an overview of the World Series of Poker in this column: the good, the bad—and the uncertain. First off, the good: no long lines to sign up for events. The Rio staff has it down pat, and they’ve proven to be very efficient in processing players. The one table satellites are well run and have an experienced staff that can handle any problems that arise. There are tournaments and cash games for every size bankroll. The Rio has daily $235.00 buy-in tournaments at 2:00 pm that are attracting very large crowds and nice payoffs for the winners. Later in the day, $185.00 buy-in and $135.00 buy-in events are also available. These are all deep-stack tournaments with lots of chips to start with. Mega satellites for the main event are also offered daily with $330.00 and $550.00 buy-ins. The Rio has made available a lot of convention space to hold all of their events, so there is plenty of room to take care of all the players. The cash games go from $1 & $3 blind no limit games up to very high limits and pot limit games, including some very big Pot Limit Omaha.
The most exciting addition to this year’s World Series of Poker has to be the $1,000,000 buy-in event, which will be capped at 48 players. At the time of this column, they are almost at that cap, and will probably make it by tournament time. This event will have a talented and famous lineup, and there is bound to be a lot of interest throughout the contest—as well as a record payout for the winner. In fact, whoever wins will most likely be the all-time tournament money winner at the conclusion.
Now for the bad: attendance is less than expected. The World Series of Poker will definitely not have as many overall players as last year. I did not think it would drop off much, if at all, and it is not a huge drop by any means. Nevertheless, most of the events have had fewer players than last year’s record breaking number. I think the bad European economy, as well as the slow recovery of the U.S. economy, has contributed to this.
I am almost reluctant to list this next item in the bad column, but I feel I must. Full Tilt’s theft of their customer’s money. Almost everybody in the online poker world was hoping and rooting for PokerStars to take over Full Tilt. As far as I know, they are still trying to do so. If successful, they fully intend to repay all the players that the criminals that ran Full Tilt stiffed. A lot of money has been taken out of the poker economy as a result of their dishonesty. PokerStars was the absolute hero of last year’s black Friday. They paid their U.S. players as soon as they were allowed to do so by the justice department, and one can only hope that they will be allowed back in the U.S. market when, not if, the online poker industry is legalized in the United States. In the meantime, shortened bankrolls because of Full Tilt have made it tougher to play as many events.
I had a heartbreak in the Razz event. I was 4th in chips going into Day 2 and failed to win a single hand that went to the river, and was forced to fold most of my good starting hands on 4th street when I bricked and two or more of my opponents caught good. Talk about frustration. I would be remiss if I did not offer Phil Hellmuth a hearty congratulations in winning this event. It was bracelet number 12, and after his 3 runner-up finishes last year, I am sure if felt fantastic to win again. Great job, Phil!
Tom McEvoy is not only a professional player, but a teacher and an author. He is also the head pro for www.faceupgaming.com, a legal subscription site with a monthly membership of $24.95. Check it out, and use “Tom” for your bonus code. Tom also has a website www.tommcevoy.com and is available for public seminars and private instruction.