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WSOP Suggestions

As a person who has never been to the WSOP, I really am not qualified to pontificate on the problems facing the current WSOP. But that never stopped me before. In honor of the calamity that is the WSOP, here is Jordan's suggestions for the future of the WSOP:

1. Multiple Locations- Harrahs owns multiple properties in Las Vegas, including the Rio, Harrahs, Paris, Bally's and the Flamingo hotel. So why the hell is the entire event only held at the Rio? If Harrah's organized themselves, they could spread the event to these various locations and skip having 5 versions of "Day 1." My fear is that the major drawback is the filming process. For ESPN, this would require 5 crews at once, instead of one (or probably two) crews working the one room for five days straight. Of course, this will make reporting (from bloggers and such) more difficult, too, but overall I think it's a viable option. It isn't a new idea, either. When the WSOP was held at Binions there was at least one year when they were beyond capacity and had to set up part of the game over at the Golden Nugget or some such place. It would also add the allure of saying, "I made the final poker room in the WSOP!"

2. Higher Buy-In- The main event has been a $10,000 buy-in since 1972. With inflation, that amount should be over $40,000 today. If it were, the amount of players would significantly drop. Is this a bad thing? Probably not. Your pros would stand a better chance in a smaller field. Also, the logisitics of the event would be better. There is some concern about cutting out the average Joe. That is, in some ways, the allure of the game. But even if the buy-in was increased to $25,000 or even $40,000 (or dare I say $50,000), there would still be Internet qualifiers. Plainly put, where there is a will, there is a way. So, let's up the buy-in and make this thing interesting.

3. Greater Variety in Games- Yes, NL Holdem is the bread and butter of the poker community right now. However, if Harrahs went to a multiple venue format, they could still have their plethora of NLHE events and squeeze in some more variety. Was there even a Razz event this year? I'll guess that NLHE will be the top dog for a loooooooooooooong time. However, this doesn't mean that the other games should be killed off. While we are at it, let's get more TV time for the other games. I, for one, prefer to watch a 2003 PLO8 event on ESPN than the most recent WPT NLHE show.

That's all for my list. Short and sweet. So, Harrahs, just email me and I'll fill you in on the other details. Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 6:17 PM,

23 Comments:

At 7:45 PM, Blogger DuggleBogey said...

1. You'd have to hire 800-1000 dealers just for day one, and you'd have nothing for them to do after that.

2. They are not interested in making the tournament smaller. They want it HUGE.

3. The World Champion of Poker will always be determined at a holdem table.

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

1. True.

2. False. I'm not talking about what they want. I'm talking about logistics. You can still have 10k events, but if they made the Main Event a higher buy-in, they'd also get more rake. And the people who can't afford it are likely to pay a cheaper event, like, oh, say the 10k NL event...

3. True. I never suggested otherwise. I was just stating that in general they should widen the variety. You do know that there are preliminary events, yes?

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

1. Good luck finding all those dealers when they get paid shit to work a 15 hour shift at the WSOP.

2. No way. They already have a huge buy-in event. It's called H.O.R.S.E and it was a $50,000 entry fee. They want the ME accessible which is why they're keeping it at $10,000 for the forseeable future.

These internet sites would significantly lower the amount of seats they gives away if the buy-in was raised to the amount you're suggesting.

I've never heard anyone string together a strong argument for raising the Main Event entry fee.

3. I completely agree with this. There should me more PLO, Razz, Triple Draw, Stud, etc. It's not the World Series of Hold Em, but that's the game that attracts the donks and TV ratings.

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Why do people get so snippy around here?

Defend, I just don't get your comments regarding #2. I gave a valid reason. It is the World Series, and it was about finding the best player. Naturally that meant that when it started, they made it a high buy-in so that they could attract the biggest players. Now, $10,000 is not worth as much as it used to be. I'm not saying it would be easy, but I still think that is a valid reason to raise the stakes. You would resolve the issue of 8k entries, potentially increase the prize pool, and cut out a lot of the dead money. WHen you say that you never heard anyone string together a strong argument for raising the fee, did you just mean you weren't convinced, because frankly the inflation rate is about as strong of an argument as there can be.

And yes, once again, #1 won't work because of the dealer situation.

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

I didn't mean to come across as snippy. I wasn't feeling snippy when I wrote the comment.

If they were to increase the buy-in, I don't see it being higher than $15k or $20k max.

Why would the pros stand a chance in a smaller field? That smaller field would be comprised of entirely skilled professional players. When you eliminate all that dead money you make it a harder contest to win, in my opinion. You're trimming back the bad beats/donk plays but increasing the amount of very difficult decisions the players will be making every hand.

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger Chi_Town said...

1) I think it is a neat idea, but as explained, it is probably not viable

2) I am in favor of the higher buy-in (the WPT final is $25,000). I thought it was something special to have Doyle, TJ, Ivey, Tomko, Williamson all at the final table of the HORSE event, and to have the pro's-pro, Chip Reese win it all.

I agree with the perspective that it was $10,000 back in 1972 to elevate it, and based on inflation and maintaining that elevation, it should be increased. These enormous fields favor randomness and luck more (case in point is Kanter crippling Raymer). Raise it up and keep a $10,000 NLHE event as well (they have a $10,000 PLO game).

Plus they have tons of smaller buy-in NLHE events ($1500, $2500, $5000, and plenty of $1000 events). I would like to see the online sites do qualifiers for some of those, as well as, the main-event... It would be easier to qualify for a smaller event, and a strong performance there, will get you your buy-in for the main-event.

3) They had all the regular pokers games at the WSOP this year (RAZZ, O, O8, 2-7 draw, Stud, Stud8, etc). I don't see a problem there.

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Chi, from my understanding, even though they had the other games, it was still a lot more NLHE than in previous years.

Defend, Chi did a great job of explaining the benefits of the higher buy-in. The event WOULD BE pro heavy, but that is the point. We don't want it to be an "easy" tournament, per se, but we want it to be based more on skill than on luck. The super large fields make luck more important. By raising the buy-in, average joe would be less able to buy-in directly or even satellite in, so you'd be left with players who have earned their way in by being a winning poker player. Sure, you'd still have rich fish and satellite players, but it would (hopefully) be less so, and if it wasn't less, then at least the prize pool and house fee would be higher. In the end, I'd rather see a table of 8 pros and 2 average joe qualifiers than the other way around. Sure, those average joes might be great tournament players, but a lot of them are not. More skill, less luck...it's the poker ideal.

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

"3) They had all the regular pokers games at the WSOP this year (RAZZ, O, O8, 2-7 draw, Stud, Stud8, etc). I don't see a problem there."

How many of each?

 
At 12:06 PM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

It comes down to how each person feels about the number of amateurs playing in this biggest poker tournament of the year. I'm all for it. This makes it the only event where your next door neighbor could walk away a champion. Unless you live next to Dwayne Wade or Tom Brady. Heh.

Anyways, instead of upping the buy-in, I'd rather they cap the number of entrants. 6,000 seems like a random number, but I think it'd work. Maybe $15,000 to enter, 6000 cap. I'd hate to see it go up to $25,000+.

I support the Everyman.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger tiltpirate said...

great post High, and it started a great discussion.

Question: What is the single event that triggered the rise of poker to where the "average joe" had a viable dream of winning?

Answer: Moneymaker winning, that is the allure of the WSOP, "anyone can win" is what gets the average joe there, and lets the pros take then money at the cash games. If only pros won, would the popularity=dead money go down?

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

I think a little bit of history is in order. Prior to recent events, many of the pros did not care as much about the preliminary event bracelets. The main event was something held above the rest. While the main event is still king, with the explosion of televised poker, the importance of the WSOP and the expanded fields, the preliminary event bracelets are worth a lot more. As Barry Greenstein once mentioned, he started to play the preliminary events once Poker Superstars (a TV show) told him that they did not know what to state after his name (i.e., Barry Greenstein, WSOP Bracelet Winner).

Now that the preliminary events and bracelets are more important, a higher buy-in main event will not prevent average joes from playing against the best. They will still be able to play with the pros in the prelimianry events, many of which are televised. But the World Champion of Poker should be more than a fly-by-night player. Moneymaker (while I like him) is the perfect example of this. He wins, and then nada. Raymer has made a larger impact as did Hachem, but why do we need to decide the World Champion in a format that is not true to the original intentions of the WSOP. In the end, the online qualifiers (PokerStars alone sent well over 1000 into the 8k person event) will still be able to qualify online.

I think there is a disconnect between the original concept of the WSOP (to find the best player...and make money for Binion) and the current concept (an excessively large field where "anyone can win," which requires a greater degree of luck).

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Chi_Town said...

I too support the everyman (I believe that I am one)... I also support him busting his ass to make it... that is how it works, and why he is an "everyman" (not a lucky hack)... This is why the "everyman" is a noble thing.

I do not see an increased buy-in as somthing that diminishes the everyman in any way (as pointed out, thousands will still get qualified online between the numerous sites, even if it is a few less). And the possibility of more qualifiers into the smaller buy-in events still gives plenty of opportunities to win braclets and to possibly cash, as to earn the main-event buy-in money. The everyman works a bit harder and "earns" it, thereby becoming even more noble...

I like the increased buy-in... it elevates the tournament, making the winner (everyman or pro) more dignified... compared to how Moneymaker is generally viewed (as a lucky shot in the dark)...

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

The first day they could hold the event at 5 or more places if need be if they could strike a deal with PokerTek to use the "dealerless" tables. Then when it gets down to 2000 or so peeps they could go back to the regular tournament style with dealers at one place.

I'm not saying it would work or it is the right idea logistically, I'm just throwing it out there for thought...

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Chi_Town said...

Also, I see your guys' point regarding the other poker games... best I can tell (from the ESPN web-site) there were 33 Holdem events (24 NLHE including ladies and seniors, 4 PLHE, 5 LHE)...

Then only 6 Omaha/O8 events, and 3 Stud/Stud8 events... 1 HORSE, 1 RAZZ and 1 2-7 lowball.

This is why Daniel and someothers pushed for the HORSE event with the big buy-in.

I have a feeling, that in a few years the WSOP main-event (if unchanged) will get boring to just see no names at the final table every year, and the HORSE event will begin to take center stage (which some would argue is a better measure of the "best" poker player anyway).

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

HORSE is definitely a better measure of who the "best" is.

Maybe I'm just not a purist. I love seeing some donk hit a two outer against Barry Greenstein, which is why I'm all for leaving the buy-in at $10,000.

I do not see an increased buy-in as somthing that diminishes the everyman in any way (as pointed out, thousands will still get qualified online between the numerous sites, even if it is a few less).

It probably wouldn't be a few less. It would be a ratio. Like, triple the buy-in = 66% less seats given away online by poker sites.

These sites know most players not named Johnny Bax, Gigabet (and some others) just got lucky in a satellite and will probably bow out on Day 1. I doubt they'd keep giving away seats like that if the entry fee went up by so much.

Also, the way some of your arguments are headed, you're now faced with defining exactly what makes someone a top pro.

Raymer was playing 100-200 at Foxwoods and doing well prior to his WSOP win. But, that wouldn't be enough to qualify him as a pro.

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

I think we can move beyond the esoteric of who or what is a top pro. I simply mean that the WSOP was originally made to determine who was best. The high buy-in prevented the not serious players from entering. Now, the buyin isn't an issue because of online poker. I doubt that the amount of satellites would drop off 66%, because some of the Sats start at $1 buy-ins and build there way up. But even if they did drop, instead of sending 2k players from Stars, you'd have 600, which is still more than enough.

Oh, and I disagree with the proposition that HORSE determines who the best player is better than NLHE. They are different games with different skill sets. I'd dare say that NLHE is a more difficult game to master because of the no limit aspect, as opposed to limit HORSE. That said, I like the idea of the non NLHE games, and I am a fan of HORSE generally.

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I have long thought they should up the buyin for the WSOP ME. I think 40k is a bit much, but I wouldn't mind seeing a move to 25k. No doubt it would either thin the field a bit, or it would increase the prize pool, either one of which is a fine goal to me. WPT Championships do it and do it well, so why not here. The pro's should be happier, and I wouldn't mind the effect if a small number fewer seats were won in online satellites. I somehow doubt there would be much less satelliting in to these events, but if there were I'd be ok with that too. I just think if they're not willing to cap the number of entrants, which I would oppose on the "everyman" theory espoused above, then upping the buyin to 25k makes perfect sense, and clearly at least one other major tournament has come to the same conclusion already.

Btw, I think the inflation argument is very compelling. It really is kinda weird that in 1971 the buyin was 10k, and today that same buyin is still that same 10k. I don't think that's enough alone to justify raising the buyin, but the other good effects discussed above combine with the inflation point to present what I think is a very compelling case.

 
At 10:08 AM, Blogger Chi_Town said...

High - I would argue that Phil Helmuth is the best NLHE player (almost all of his major wins are in NLHE and PLHE)... But he is not the best POKER player. Poker is more than NLHE. Chip Reese jumps to mind for obvious reasons as the best overall, but I would say a number of folks are better "poker" players than Helmuth, such as Men the Master, Phil Ivey, TJ because they has won a wider variety of games (like triple draw, stud, Omaha, A to 5, Razz)...

That said, I do feel HORSE does measure the better "poker" player. The ME measures... I am not sure what it measures.

--- "Maybe I'm just not a purist. I love seeing some donk hit a two outer against Barry Greenstein"

See, I accept that as reality, but I don't love it... moreso I hate it, if the donk is cocky about it. However, if a donk sends Matusow to the rail and is cocky, I don't mind that ;)

--- "I doubt they'd keep giving away seats like that if the entry fee went up by so much."

It does not cost the web-sites anything... they are not "giving" away seats. The seats are paid for by the buy-ins of the busted players... The web-sites still make money from the tournament fee, so there would NOT be a 66% reduction in qualifiers.

--- "Also, the way some of your arguments are headed, you're now faced with defining exactly what makes someone a top pro."

I don't think I am doing that... The players and media can figure that out if they want, but the higher fee does ideally limit the field to the better and more serious players (dead money is inevitable). As a poker watcher, I appreciate great play MUCH better than "close your eyes and call the all-in, hoping to hit your 10:1 inside straight on a 1.5:1 pot."

--- "Raymer was playing 100-200 at Foxwoods and doing well prior to his WSOP win. But, that wouldn't be enough to qualify him as a pro."

True, but his overall play, his follow-up performance in '05, his professional demeanor, his ability to analyze the tournament for us in the ESPN special that followed his '04 win, is what elevated him to real pro status... Varkony who made it before the BOOM, has clearly NOT established himself as a TOP poker pro. That is fine. The winner does not have to be a top pro... he may become one, or maybe he was a lucky hack... but I would rather see better poker-play along the way... rather than a table full of Aaron Kanters who just catch cards and deal out bad beats all-day.

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger Chi_Town said...

....Also, I want to share a thought... Norman Chad mad a sweet statement during the USPC recently.

There was a total rookie playing wide-open, and he had a few pros unnerved because he was impossible to read with his table-talk, and he was catching cards for some big hands... however, after like 34 hands, he had played in 16, won like 10, but was down $5,000 over that time.

The guy who taught the donk (Brian Haveson) player in 10 of the 34 hands, won only 4, but was up $10,000.

Norman says, that Haveson and (can't think of his name) are showing the difference between "playing poker" and "being a poker player". I value that as a fan...

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Chi, let me redact a past statement. I did not mean to say that the ME really determines the Best Poker Player, as opposed to the HORSE event.

In the end, one poker tournament will NEVER alone make someone the Best Poker Player. However, as far as World Champions are concerned, the winner of the NO LIMIT HOLDEM Main Event should be considered the World Champion. Plainly put, NLHE is the game that most people play and that is where you will have the most competition. I love the other games, moreso than most, probably, but in the end, this is a NLHE world (for the time being).

Chip Reese might be a better player than whoever wins the 2006 ME, but the winner of the ME will be the World Champion, plain and simple. I have to add though, that I like the idea of Negreaunu's Triple Crown (the ME, the HORSE event, and something else...maybe the TOC?).

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Chi_Town said...

--- "one poker tournament will NEVER alone make someone the Best Poker Player."

Agreed

--- "Chip Reese might be a better player than whoever wins the 2006 ME, but the winner of the ME will be the World Champion, plain and simple."

Agreed

I have a tendency to over-intellectualize things. So I appreciate your patience. On these points, you are correct.

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

"Norman says, that Haveson and (can't think of his name)"

Lance Funston.

"The seats are paid for by the buy-ins of the busted players... The web-sites still make money from the tournament fee, so there would NOT be a 66% reduction in qualifiers."

Impossible to say. Then the entry fees for these satellites would move up at the same rate as the entry fee and it might be too costly for people. A $180 double shootout might turn into a $400 double shootout.

People would be better off buying directly into a $1500 circuit than spending that much to lose a few satellites. Then it circles back around to whether or not you want that happening.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Chi_Town said...

I agree... So there would be fewer online qualifying players, but not 66% fewer I should think...

And the sites can add another pre-qualifier level. There would still be thousands between all the sites I imagine.

And thanks for the reminder on "Lance Funston"

 

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