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Inside the Tour — 84: Poker Majors and Big Slick

Inside the Tour — 84: Poker Majors and Big Slick 0001

I was reading through the columns I had missed of "Sexton's Corner" here on PokerNews and came across, from one of Tom's earlier columns, his list of suggested majors. I should also note up front that if the reader has an interest in the history of the modern poker era then the anecdotes of "Sexton's Corner" are highly recommended. This disagreement in no way is a criticism of the column. That said, here are Tom's suggested majors:

1. WSOP Main Event - LV

2. WPT Main Event - LV

3. WSOP HORSE Event - LV

4. WSOP Main Event – Europe

5. NBC's National Heads-Up Poker Championship – LV

6. WSOP Tournament of Champions

7. High Stakes Poker

This is one person's opinion of course, but a head-scratcher for me. My list would currently look like this:

1. WSOP Main Event

2. WPT Main Event


4. EPT Grand Final Event

5. APPT Championship Event

6. WSOP-Europe Main Event

I'm not fond of loading this list up with no-limit hold'em events but that is the nature of what is prestigious at this time. Also I am not a fan of any limited-access events making the list, as Tom's picks 5-7 seem to be. That said, this is all based on opinion, and the PGA sets another (and contrary) example. My list is much more universal, I believe, and gives weight to two other parts of the world being able to shine with recognition — Tom's list has only one event outside of the Las Vegas city limits.

I also want to mention that I am a fan of what Mike Sexton has accomplished for poker in his career. His accomplishments are many, but his most important one was the presentation called the Tournament of Champions, which was his springboard to further accomplishments. A tip of this writer's hat to all that followed — television and Internet exposure included. Mike deserves all poker players' thanks, along with all the rewards he has subsequently received. It is easy, now, to see his viewpoint as goal-oriented, but at the time it took sacrifice and a visionary outlook. It amazes me how much adoration is poured upon others that pioneered the sport — somehow it is swept under the rug that many were just competing to get the money, whereas Mike was giving something back. He couldn't have foreseen, by any stretch of the imagination, what was going to happen. It is a happy case of being in the right place at the right time, but more importantly being rewarded for doing the right thing while in the right spot.

While I am handing out opinions and awards, I further want to thank Casey Kastle for his no-smoking reform, the one that rescued poker from a clique of players and made it universally attractive. How important was this? Well it didn't just save the careers of some players but literally many lives. One game I played regularly in circa 1980 had about 30 regular players and was a (heavy) smoking game. 28 of those players are dead today. I have to wonder when I hear an unhealthy person gasp about the 'good old days'. Ohhhhhkay…. Somehow, having a lifespan of less than 55 years isn't very appealing, even if it helps to have a brain under 40 to play well.

Now, where would we be without poker hands? Reminded by readers to put some in, that is for certain! Okay, okay, I will….

In a recent tournament, Player A raised to 600 (over a big blind of 200 with antes of 25) under-the-gun. The three hole re-raised to 1600 and it was passed around to the button, who moved all-in after about five seconds of hesitation with {a-Hearts}{k-Clubs} and 5,300 in chips, with both players in the pot having more chips than him. Is this correct? A better question is this one; 'Is this ever correct?' Unless the re-raiser is a stone-cold oblivious maniac and the original raiser is from another planet, how can it be right? I am reminded of what Doyle Brunson said in a WPT interview on television about how the modern player pays no attention to position — and he said this while making his astonishment clear. How can it ever be right?

From my own experience I can tell you that even when the first player has {a-Hearts}{q-Clubs} and the second player has {j-Spades}{j-Clubs} (which is about as good as it gets), and you have {a-Spades}{k-Spades}, that you have no reason to be involved — by computer calculations you have a 36.8% chance of winning if both players call you. A bigger problem looms in that one of the two players could have K-K, crippling your chances further, A-K where you hope to get a split, or even A-A which rates as terminal for your chances. All of this when you have nothing at risk and yet your whole tournament can be put on the line. Let me ask again, 'Is it ever correct?' my answer is short, simple, and sweet... only if you know what is coming. I think of this as carryover from limit hold'em experience where playing all A-K's is usually correct. I say usually because I have seen such players as Freddy Deeb lay down A-K before the flop in a limit hold'em cash game on the button when it came to him for three bets.

Back to the hand that actually happened. The button is all-in for 5,300 and the UTG player passed, with the other player calling. The three hole showed {k-Spades}{k-Hearts} and beat the {a-Hearts}{k-Clubs} when the layout read {4-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{5-Spades}{j-Spades}. This is a typical outcome for such a situation and something to think about. You can't play A-K with a knee-jerk plan; you must think about how and when to play it.

Hans 'Tuna' Lund confided in me at the Diamond Jim tournament that he can't even make a case for the small raises so many aggressive players put into the pot, hand after hand — but this almost a different subject. Mini-raises, bane or weapon? Let's leave that topic for a future column. The reason that I brought it up here is that when one ignores the situation one is in, and applies an action regardless of circumstance, the shoals are soon to be found.

Until next time, play good… and be lucky!

What do you think?

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