Thursday, February 5, 2009

On a lighter note

The World Series of Poker announced its lineup for 2009 and there is something for everyone. This year there are 57 events, starting with the lowest buy-in event, the $500 casino employees Hold'em tourney starting on May 27th, and continuing until the Main Event which will start on July 3rd.

Commemorating 2009 being the 40th year of the WSOP, the first event open to the public will be a $40,000 buy-in event, starting on May 28th. They have added two more "World Championship" $10,000 events, for a total of ten in all, and there is the third annual $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. If you're feeling flush (call me), that would be $190,000 to buy in to those twelve events.

For the rest of us -- those of us affected by the economy and who do not have sponsor's patches on our shirts -- there is a $1,000 buy-in "stimulus" Hold'em event on May 30th. There are also two other $1,000 events, one for Seniors and one for the Ladies (or any guy who wants to follow in Alan Jaffray's highheeled footsteps), eighteen $1,500 events, and a whole host of satellites with buy-ins starting at $330.

The biggest news out of this year's announcement may be the end of the rebuy tournaments. There have been mixed feelings in the poker community about rebuy events, some decrying the ability of those with deep pockets and no shame to basically buy themselves a bracelet (I'm talking to you Layne Flack), and others who are not necessarily opposed to them, noting that Michael Chu won a rebuy event in 2007 without ever making a rebuy or add on.

But even Daniel Negreanu, a notorious re-buyer, has indicated that he is happy with the decision to do away with the rebuy events. In an interview with, Negreanu is quoted as saying, "When you are giving away a World Series of Poker bracelet I think everyone should have an equal chance to win it, not just a chance based on how fat their wallets are."

Like last year, the Main Event will be a seven day event (with multiple Day ones and twos) that will halt after the final table of nine is set and then recommenced in November for a four day, final table extravaganza. The November Nine experiment last year was a mixed bag -- while the nine did not receive the media attention the WSOP had hoped, ratings for the final table were way up. According to Jeffrey Pollack, there will be more of a push this year to get the enthusiasm revved up and you should expect to see the November Nine on more than just poker magazine covers next year.

Let's hope the powers that be decide to bring back the live, pay-per-view of the final table. No matter how good a job the folks at ESPN do in editing and presenting the final table, it is by its nature misleading to have a twelve, fifteen, maybe twenty hour final table compressed neatly into two 45 minute segments. Let the true poker fanatics follow the action -- all of it -- in real time. They'll still tune in two nights later to see the hole cards and find out if their reads were right and what was really going on.

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