Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shuffle Up And Deal

I know it might look like there is only one tournament when watching the World Series Of Poker on TV, but in reality there are over fifty tournaments ranging from $500 to $50,000 to enter every day, plus over fifty tables reserved for cash games, the entire two and a half months the series is at Rio All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. This year the WSOP started on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 with the Casino Employees two-day $500 event.

The WSOP attracts thousands of players from all over the world with varying degrees of poker skill and bankrolls. Some of the people entered in the Main Event for $10,000 do not use their own money and others save all year to participate in this event. Quite a few people win seats from online sites, like Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars and come early and play live with their own money or the stipend they won. The high-profile professionals have sponsors that not only put them in the Main Event (if not all of the events) pay them a fee, plus a per Diem. Las Vegas poker grinders usually get someone to stake them in the Main Event or several of the tourneys with smaller buy-ins.

However, not all of the players who fly into Las Vegas, from all parts of the world during the WSOP, intend to play in the WSOP tournaments. Some people like to play the other tournaments offered throughout Vegas, like in the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza (DSE) poker tournament series or Caesars Palace’s Mega Stack poker tournament series, with entry fees as low as $330, both running concurrent with the WSOP. However, some merely come to play in the ring games. During the months the WSOP is underway the cash games all over Las Vegas get juicier than any other time of year. Some rounders will play one or many of the WSOP satellite games at Rio to win coupons good for WSOP tournament entry. Last year, I saw many players win thousands of dollars in tournament entry coupons at the $100 satellite tables, sell them for cash, and go play the ring games.

Tournament poker playing is much nuttier than live cash games in general; so many players come merely to cash in on that crazy action. That wild hyper-aggressive play seen on TV just looks like money in the bank for the grinders who have been waiting all year for the WSOP to come into town . Shuffle up and deal!

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