The 2006 WSOP is networking heaven as all kinds of connections are being made and the news of every day is way more than who won the coveted gold bracelets as each event comes to its conclusion. Those that are 20 something are the dominant force here in the arena but those that are older are still represented there and making the news elsewhere as well.
William Chen has won two bracelets here and most of us think that is a lot like winning four bracelets five years ago, incredible and impressive. I find his humility in winning them very refreshing and wish that they were amongst the televised events. I have talked to him about various aspects of theory over the past fifteen years or so and despite his giggling response to all suggestions I can tell you that he is a real genius. He might sometimes forget that he has a body but he has a great attitude and a fine tuned mind and is able to apply games theory to the situations that arise. All of which should make his coming book a must possession for serious students of poker.
Thor Hansen came second in his quest for another bracelet, but Alan Cunningham was able to add to his collection and I mention them because I rate them as great all around players that deserve to win some tournaments. At this World Series of No Limit Texas Hold'em it often seems that those with bigger testosterone machinery than brains win the most, whereas pot limit Hold'em is unlikely to ever be popular again because it requires a lot more work from the dealers, the players, and the host. How do I stand on this issue? It is self evident that pot limit games require the maximum skill and showcase ones ability to play poker–and therefore are unlikely to ever become the world championship events they deserve to be.
Jesse Jones is working hard to promote the WPA at this WSOP and deserves all the support he can get and that the players can give him.
Marcel Luske is also working hard to promote the IPF (international poker federation) and his vision for poker and it is my hope that he and Jesse can work together to bring international guidelines to the fore.
Back to the WSOP itself I can mention that I am happy with some other things they have done this year, such as adding valet parking so that it is not a quarter-mile walk, or more, for everyone to just arrive at the site. But I cannot give them very high marks in some other categories–not only were some of us lost in the shuffle regarding our paperwork for signing up but cashing out is made quite torturous at a time when most of us want to just go home and kick our television sets. I have played in ten events to this point in time and hit three bunt singles (a bunt single is when you barely make it into the bottom of the money) and after the first one I had to wait about two hours from 1AM to 3AM to fill out paperwork so that I could go to the cage and collect my "winnings" and furthermore was told that I would get nothing if I left without having my paperwork done first! Something has to be done to speed this process up! For god's sake we are in the age of computers are we not?
The structure of the events is quick at the beginning (you often have to win one of your very first hands or you will be out of the event) but that is marginally okay with me–to be clear it would be okay with me if these events did not purport to be World Championships. If they are perceived to be World Championships you have to have some chance to play poker and that does not typically happen with events where 60% to 80% are gone by the time we have played for six hours! How to make this happen? I am not sure but I am hoping that someone at the Rio is listening to the players and there are some indications that this is true. Daniel Negreanu was sitting next to me today in the 2500 dollar buy-in pot limit hold'em event and was making out his proposed schedule for the 2007 WSOP and was explaining that the tradition of the event was to have a flop game every other day. He is supposedly on some type of player's committee that will have some direct input.
I was doing the 'High Stakes Poker' show for Fox Sports Net in November of last year at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas when the 2006 WSOP schedule was released and Daniel led the very loud complaints against it and getting them to add the 50,000 HORSE event so I know they listen to him.
The HORSE event seemed like the real World Championship to many and should have been a five day event. Famous names were always atop the leader-board and the final table is an incredible Who's Who of poker. The only problem that the players seemed to have with this inserted event was that the house take was 2,000 dollars per player. 2,000 dollars? Ayah! What did they get for this money? Better cards? Extra attention from the floor-people? Nope. Nothing. Not a visible thing. They did get the privilege of playing to 9AM on day two in an effort to make the final table and keep it as a three day event.
Speaking of inserted events how about the handling of the pot limit omaha? It was supposed to be $1,500 buy-in with no rebuys and even though it is just taking a shot I was one of those that was intending to play when someone was able to bend the intentions of the house and it became a re-buy event!!! So, along with many others I opted out as I did not wish to put up $6,000 to play this event. At 1157AM I get a call that they changed it back to what they had advertised! Too late for me but they than ran two events–one a $1,500 omaha event without re-buys and another $1,500 omaha tournament with re-buys! This changing back and forth and adding a bracelet is not recommended if you want to keep the respect of the participants.
Enough about politics. Let me give a few examples of the donkey play that is prevalent at this series. In a fifteen hundred no-limit event there were three limpers when Uber-donkey raised it to 75 from the little blind with all contestants calling. The flop was Kc9h3c and Uber bet 150 with only one midfield caller. The turn brought the 10 of diamonds and Uber again bet 150 with donkey number two making it 300 with shaking hand, Uber calls and it comes 6d on river with both checking–Uber turns over AcQc and donkey 2 has Js10s. Wow.
At the second level with a big blind of 50 the chip-leader (the aforementioned Mr. Uber-donkey) raised it to 100 behind four limpers (try to name that hand!), I called with 7h4h from the big blind as did almost everyone else (the UTG player mucked!) and now it came AsKcJs and a mid-field (internet) player bet 150 with the button raising it to 350 and only the net player calling. Now a 7s fell after the net player checked in the dark, and the button checked. The river was the 8h and Mr. Net bet 300 with the button calling. The hands come over and Net has KdJd and Uber-donkey has Ac3s? Wow again!
Until next time play good...and get lucky!
Ed Note: We've heard a rumor that you might find some uber-donkeys at Paradise Poker. Sign up today, and find out.