For those who need reminding, there were 7,874 entries for the WSOP’s Main Event, each putting up $10K to take a wild swing at that $8.8 million championship money and that golden bracelet. Most are just hoping to get a piece of that astounding prize pool of $74,015,600. What’s always been amazing to me is that you can win about half-a-million dollars coming in 12th – 15th. Or, a million dollars for being in ninth place. Where else can you do that?
But there’s another facet to the Main Event that’s also pretty amazing. You can be among the greatest poker players of all time and go home with nothing.
After busting out of the Main Event on Day 1, Daniel Negreanu recorded his VLOG with good humor and no excuses. Well, except for the fact that he drew no pairs, no straights, no flushes, no flops, no nothing, which was not an excuse since I watched it happen. Nothing went “Kid Poker’s” way. Following him around as he navigated the rail and the floor, it was refreshing to watch him smile and pose for selfies with every fan who approached him, keeping his spirits up for his fans. When his two jacks got beaten by a pair of 10s (with another 10 on the flop), he ‘faked” a bad tilt, got some laughs and walked away from the table looking somewhat confused. On his way out he said, among other things, that it was almost impossible to go broke on Day 1. I could see the frustration in his eyes, but he held it together beautifully. All that, plus he and his girlfriend of four years broke up a couple of weeks ago.
Of course, Negreanu wasn’t the only big name to be eliminated on Day 1, just the one I cared about the most. Last year’s Champion, Scott Blumstein, also busted on the first day, as did 2007 champ, Jerry Yang and 2016 champ, Qui Nguyen.
The only good thing about it was that “Kid Poker” was free to add color commentary, along with Norm and Lon on Day 3. I like listening to him talk strategy (way over my head, of course), teach a little, predict what certain players will do (and usually get it right, or poke fun at himself when he’s completely wrong) but I can’t help wondering what’s going on inside his head. I KNOW he wanted to make a deep run.
I just checked the latest chip counts online and at this moment Ignacio Sanchez is leading with 620,200 and there are 47 players with more than 400,000 chips. But it’s just a moment in time. Any of them could double up or go broke; the next time I check, the chip leaders could be Cliff Josephy and Phil Ivey – there is so much poker left to play. But not for some other big names who have already been eliminated, like Jason Mercier, John Hesp (last year’s sensation), and Maria Ho. It doesn’t matter what you did last year or last week at the Main Event. I know I’m excited to see what will enfold over the next couple of weeks. Are you enjoying the action, too?
You too could get one of these diamond encrusted bracelets. All you need is to make it to the WSOP, drop down 10 grand to enter the main event, then outlast thousands of other players, make it to the Final Table and it could be yours. Easy, right?