As great as the World Series of Poker is, there’s always room for improvement. Simply being the biggest and greatest tournament of all time doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax without constantly looking for ways to separate yourselves from the pack. Once you start to settle, that’s when the competition begins to gain ground.
A couple of things come to mind when thinking about ways to improve the WSOP. The first would be the schedule. I’m not talking about the actual schedule of events that are held each year, but rather the duration and time the WSOP forces the players to endure.
Everyone knows that when they head out to the Series in the summer they’re probably going to shave a few years off their lives. You’re cooped up in a casino for hours and hours over days upon days, always sitting endlessly in a chair focusing on playing. With all events being no less than three days, with some going four or five, the WSOP staff should take a look at trying to shorten each day and lengthen an overall tournament so that play is spread out more.
The strain put on the players was extremely present this year for those of us who saw them day in and day out. For a majority of the three-day events, the schedule required the field to play down from a certain number of players to a final table on the second day of action, which never happened. More often than not, the tournament would return for the final day with more than just one table remaining. A few times, more than two tables came back. Having to play all the way down to a winner with so many players returning took many, many long hours into the early morning. Not only are the players enduring such long hours, but the entire WSOP staff, the media, the camera crews and more were there until the end, as well.
I would suggest the WSOP should shorten each day, playing no more than eight or nine hours. An extra day would have to be tacked on to most events, but that can be easily accommodated for. Many poker tours nowadays are shortening their days down to eight, nine or ten hours long. By extending the tournament out by a day or maybe two in some extreme cases, this allows everyone to rest, and with rest comes better play. The WSOP should want to reward the best players in the poker world who are playing at the peak of their powers.
Another thing the WSOP could do to help keep the days shorter is cut out the dinner break. Now, I know some of you may be reading this and think I’m crazy for wanting to do so, but as someone who’s been to poker tournaments all over the world, I would much rather not have a dinner break than have one.
Cutting out a one-hour or hour-and-a-half dinner break from play means players will get to leave a bit earlier. If you can schedule play from around noon to about eight or nine o’clock every night, I’m sure players will enjoy it far more than getting an hour and a half to eat before playing things out until midnight or later. Who wants to be sitting in a chair from noon to midnight anyway? No wonder those massage therapists do so well. If you weren’t to eliminate the dinner break completely, you could have one for the noon events, but not have one for later events. That could be an option, as well.
Moving on from adjusting the schedule, the second thing that the WSOP should do is look to extend the Player of the Year to the WSOP Europe events. This should especially be done if the WSOP wants all bracelets, no matter what continent you win them on, to be considered equal. If you want something to be considered equal, you have to give it the same level ground to stand on.
Extending the POTY would help to draw some more players out to Europe every year, especially the ones in contention to possibly win the POTY. Just take a look at all the players on the leader board from the WSOP with 175 points or more.
That’s a list of 14 players. Out of those 14, I can only remember seeing nine of them at the WSOP and I know a few of those nine showed up halfway through the series. If you extend that list to show the top 50 from the WSOP POTY results, I can only recall 11 more names being at the WSOP Europe to make for a total of 20 out of the top 50. Now, of course, I could have missed seeing some people, but still only 40 percent of the top 50 showed up in London? I know that some of the ones at the bottom of the top 50 don’t have a great shot at catching Frank Kassela. But if the POTY were extended to Europe, surely a lot more of those players would come out and try and earn those extra points.
It would also make the race for POTY much more interesting. Sure, it's exciting that if Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi can win the WSOP Main Event in November he’ll be in a tie with Kassela, but imagine if there were a few other names still in the mix. It’d be great to see the competition heat up and see how the players reacted. Not only that, but the best poker players are supposed to win over the long run rather than the short run. Extending the WSOP POY to the WSOP Europe would create a larger sample size for the players to be ranked on. The larger the sample size, the more accurate the results will be and further prove that the best player was crowned POTY.
I hope these ideas, at the very least, spark some conversation about possibly tweaking the daily schedules for the WSOP and extending the POTY to WSOP Europe. Even if you don’t agree with these changes, or would like to see some changes of your own, please feel free to comment and let your voice be heard in our forums.
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