You've heard the quote many times:
"The worst day of the year is the day you bust out of the Main Event at the World Series."
I have to tell you that for many years I did not understand that sentiment. Oh sure, it's the World Series of Poker; you get your picture on the wall if you win and these days some endorsement money comes your way and autographs and photographs, well sure. But that's not what the players mean when they say 'worst day of the year.'
What they mean is that THE event they have prepared for day in and day out for an entire year is now over for them. It really isn't about winning the event and it's not even about losing the event; but it is clearly about the Main Event being over for them. Professional poker players at this level share a common motivation, a common driving force and that energy cannot be contained when there is no game to focus on. And when you bust out of the Main Event, there is no other game to focus on. The result is: "the worst day of the year."
I am going to venture to say that if you do not feel this way, you are not now and never will be a top poker player. You have to want the power to be the President of the United States; you must be driven to be the CEO of a major corporation; you need to focus intently on your goal and if, as in poker, the goal can be snatched away with one river card….then it makes absolute sense that you should feel an incredible let down.
This year the pros had two events to focus all that energy on: the $10,000 Main Event (#39) and the $50,000 HORSE event (#20). Sure the Main Event is still considered the "championship" but a lot of interest and bragging rights went to Chip Reese for winning that HORSE event in that marathon heads up with Andy Bloch.
I got a chance to talk with Bill Edler moments after he busted out of the $50,000 HORSE event. Once again, not to beat a dead horse (sorry), I would never pester any player for an interview immediately after a bust out. Bill is a friend, so we went and had a drink or three to talk about all things poker and all things in general.
"I usually spend the first two hours or so of an event getting the feel of the table and making reads on the players I don't know. But for this event I was nervous, I put the Ipod on right away with some soothing music to calm me down. This was a big event."
Bill confirmed what so many of the professional players had been saying for months. This was indeed the event they were pointing towards. In fact, it was the phone calls and emails from these same players that got the HORSE event moved up from the sixth week of the Series, where it was originally scheduled, to the third week. No one wanted the HORSE potential marathon event to be so close to the Main Event. Remember, as it played out, Day One took the scheduled 13 hours. Day Two took 19 hours and the Final Table took from 9 PM until 9 AM to crown the champion. The players knew with 50K in starting chips this was going to be a true test of all-around poker skill and they knew it was going to take some time with a small (143) but fully loaded field.
"I want to start the HORSE event again, just a do over, I don't want to wait a year for this event to happen again."
Bill and I talked about the event and then about the general state of the 2006 World Series. We talked about some of our other friends in the poker community and then we got off on several non-poker topics but just as we were moving to things not poker, Bill looked up and said:
"What a great life this is. Doing what I want to do, it just doesn't get any better than this."
This from a man, who had just busted out of the biggest poker event of the year. Perspective is a wonderful thing.
Ed note: Lots of new fish swimming around at Poker Ocean.