I’m a partypoker and WPT guy and have no grievances against the WSOP. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The opinions expressed in this article are from an old-school poker player who has always had nothing but love and respect for the WSOP.
I seriously doubt that anyone has loved, supported (I’ve been to every WSOP since 1984), wanted to win a bracelet more, or respected the historical aspect of the WSOP and what it has meant to poker than me.
I loved the WSOP when it was at Binion’s and have admired how it has grown since Harrah’s took control in 2004. It has been remarkable to watch the transformation. I’m also ‘wowed’ by the WSOP’s organizational skills, the brilliant job they do operationally and the entirety of the ‘three-ring circus’ that take place at the RIO every year. I still, however, think they could make some changes beneficial to players.
Their effort to try new things, like the November Nine, is admirable but I’m personally against it. I think the negatives outweigh the positives. And here’s what I am not a big fan of:
- The WSOP keeping players’ money for four months
- Players having an opportunity to train for an additional four months
- Those of us that are in-shape are being penalized by allowing others months off to rest, etc. One of these days, someone is going to die in the four months before the final table. I’m guessing they’ll put a little coffin on the table and blind that person off (a sombre victor for the eventual winner).
- A player from Finland, South Africa, or Australia, one of these days, is going to make it to the final table with 2-3 Big Blinds and have to travel all the way back to Vegas to, most likely, go out in the first couple of hands and receive no additional money.
- Simply put, the November Nine doesn’t put players first
We all know they move the main event final table from July to November for PR and TV reasons. I wish they would allow players to take two days off – one for rest and the other for player interviews – and play the final table on the third day. This would allow family and friends time to travel to Las Vegas to watch. The RIO showroom would still be jam-packed (and rockin’ & rollin’). And I’m sure the TV ratings would be good. Most importantly, I feel certain the vast majority of players would prefer to play the final table in July.
In addition, I don’t particularly like Australia and Europe being included in the POY award. We all know this is decision strictly based on business factors as it will lure anyone in contention for POY to Australia or Europe, but to me (and I’m guessing at least 80-90% of the players you ask), that award should go to the player who performs best in Las Vegas.
Players shouldn’t get a points’ advantage in the POY race because of going to Australia, nor should others, following the WSOP in Vegas, be able to catch the leaders due to a European excursion.
While I do love the WSOP, my concerns are clear to see. They’re attempting to strengthen their bottom line (which we all understand and appreciate), but in doing so, are diluting their product (i.e., the value of the bracelet).
Winning a WSOP bracelet is the dream of nearly all poker players, marketing of which has played a key role in attracting customers. The staying power, however, will evaporate if more and more bracelets are continually handed out.
In 1970, when the WSOP started, only one bracelet was awarded. Two were awarded in ’72, 12 in 1980 (which included a ladies and mixed doubles events) and 16 in ‘99. This year, I believe, there are 68 bracelet events on tap plus all of the events at WSOPE and WSOP Australia. I understand more players exist today and have no problem with the number of events they hold in Las Vegas, but WSOP bracelets should only be awarded in Las Vegas.
I’m worried, as the number of events continually grow, the value of each bracelet will diminish. My suggestion to the WSOP decision makers is to keep tradition in mind and not let their attempts increase the bottom line destroy bracelet’s value.
Let poker players aspire to obtaining a coveted bracelet and keep their dream alive.
Listen to Mike’s story about his first-ever WSOP and other amazing poker stories in the Mike Sexton Round Table video series.
Do you agree with Mike comments about the WSOP? Would you like to see a reduction in the number of bracelets awarded each year? Let us know in the comments box below.