Friday, May 30, 2014

And so it begins . . . WSOP 2014

WSOP - Global Equality

It's official! The 2014 World Series of Poker has begun and this year's schedule of events promises to be as exciting and surprising as those of the last decade or so. Renowned poker personalities, famous actors and actresses, rich guys from all over the world, professionals and hustlers - all hoping for a bracelet but coveting a big payday as well. 

@jtillathekilla2 and @PhilLaak Outside the Rio

But, that's not what makes the WSOP unique - even though it is a singular, no where equaled contest of skill and nerves. What sets the WSOP apart from every other international championship is that here, even you and I can get in the game.

All around the world human beings of every race, nationality and religious persuasion crave contests of skill that end up crowning one kind of champion or another. We, all of us, love winners! Most American football fans can tell you last year's Super Bowl champs but a far lesser number can tell you who they defeated. The 2000 World Cup winner? Soccer aficionados know but they quickly forget those teams that finished behind.

The international competitions designed to crown the best in sport and other games of skill are legendary and ubiquitous - the World Cup, Tour de France, the World Series, the Olympics and the list goes on. Yet, they all share a common quality that inherently excludes the overwhelming majority of the rest of us from participating in any meaningful way other than cheering our team on or wagering the rent money on what we believe is a sure thing - superior skill. But, we live with that. We enjoy worshiping heroes and somehow becoming a part of their victories. And here's where the similarity between the WSOP and all these other events ends because at the WSOP you do not have to sit or stand on the sidelines and root for your hero. You can join right in and maybe become the hero yourself.

Shuffle Up And Deal !!!

 For as little as a $500 entrance fee (for casino employees) or a $1000 fee for the general public, you can enter one of the 65 events planned for this year's WSOP. Come up with the bucks and you are in - no qualifying handicap like in golf, no stint in the minor leagues like most major team sports, no working your way up from the bottom to prove you have the skill to make it with the big boys and girls. Just lay your money down and you get a hand like everyone else. Of course, to enter the Main Event you will have to come up with 10,000 big ones but there are ways to by-pass that expense too. In addition to the 65 events that make up the WSOP proper, there are innumerable Satellite tournaments going on during the event and many that take place miles away in casinos and online venues all over the world and even in home games that set aside funds from a year's worth of play to send their best and brightest to the big game. The WSOP is for everyone and anyone who has a grub stake and the cojones to sit down and match wits and skill with the best is invited.

No matter how much money you raise or how good your mother thinks you are at shooting free throws, you are not getting into the NBA finals. That's an exclusive club reserved for the select few. But, beg, borrow, or steal enough for an entrance fee and learn to play tight and be patient and you just might make it past a few levels in the World Series of Poker.

1 comment:

  1. May not be ethical but I am going to comment on my own blog entry - mostly because I don't want to write an entire new post that relates to this one. Here goes: I watched the "November Nine" on ESPN this past week and all I can say is the best man won! Martin Jacobson, a Swede living in London, had more poise, more guts, and obviously more skill than all the others. His screen presence, as well, was exemplary.
    Watching poker on TV is tantamount to watching water boil - a lot of waiting and then a flurry of activity. Poker commentary on TV is just south of boring and very close to annoying in most cases. "Magic" Antonio Esfandiari was on point and informative. His predictions of player moves were correct only part of the time but he took that in good stride. The "break" commentary and hand analysis by Phil Hellmuth, and Daniel Negreanu, led by Kara Scott was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. In unison all commentators were unforgiving of players who backed off of fully valuing their hands and opted for caution instead.
    Like professional football, professional poker is easily watched with the mute button ON as long as the camera angles and adequate to see everything and ESPN did a nice job of that.
    So, although the premise of my original blog post was that anybody can enter the WSOP Main Event and anybody can win the WSOP Main Event, a professional did - at least a person who has spent more than an average amount of time playing cards and has won more than an average amount of money at poker.
    But, it's still possible. I enter every contest that promises an entry to a future WSOP Main Event. How else am I going to get there. RAC