Lessons From the WSOP’s $40K Tournament

by , May 30, 2009 | 3:03 pm

This post answers the question: What have we learned from the $40K?

1.       There is a definite need for a “high roller” No Limit tournament at the WSOP each year. This is obvious because 201 players ponied-up the cheddar to play in the $40K, generating a monster prize pool and a $1,891,102 first place prize. This shows that there are plenty of players willing to participate in this type of event and the field might grow larger if Harrah’s starts running satellites online and makes it a yearly tradition.

2.       Television cameras are still a big deal to poker players. It is obvious poker pros are still trying to get endorsement deals and promote their sponsors. There is no easier way to do that than by making an ESPN final table. With no television coverage slated for the $50k H.O.R.S.E. tournament this year, the $40k’s coverage could be the main reason why there may be a smaller field in the big buy-in mixed games tournment.

3.        No Limit Hold’em puts asses in the seats. Since the majority of the mainstream poker fans have spent the last couple of years watching No Limit on television, it is only logical that the $40K would bring the railbirds out in droves. Kudos to Jeffrey Pollack and company for packing the isles with the first “major” tournament.

4.       With arguably the toughest No Limit field in WSOP history, this event brought out a sizeable number of players that would traditionally avoid the $50K H.O.R.S.E. tournament. The reason for this is that there is a strong contingency of players whose expertise lies strictly in No Limit whereas there are only a small percentage of players who feel genuinely comfortable playing mixed games with the best  players from around the world.

5.       Always make sure to follow the mantra of “Start with a bang.” Granted the $1,000 Stimulus special has sold out, but in the end, only a few will care who won this donkfest, but plenty of people will pay attention to the winner of the $40K thanks to ESPN’s coverage and the incredible level of talent in the field.

6.       Despite the fact that all WSOP bracelets are supposed to be considered equal, you have to admit that it sounds much sexier to say you beat the world’s top players in one of the biggest buy-in tournaments on the planet instead of saying that you outlasted 5,999 punters in a $1K bloodbath. ‘Nuff said.

9 Comments to “Lessons From the WSOP’s $40K Tournament”

  1. SangyFarha

    I like the use of the word “punters”. Made in giggle. I’m still giggling.

  2. Seth

    I don’t care who you are. You survive a field of 6,000 you have accomplished something. Some would even say surviving a field when you nothing about the players or the style they play to be quite an achievement.

  3. Michael Friedman

    Good point Seth. I wasn’t intending to dis the winner of the Stimulus tournament, but personallt, I believe that there is a much bigger luck factor in winning a 6,000 player tournament than in winning a tournament with 201 of the game’s best players.

    You’re point about knowing nothing about the players kind of supports my point as to why a $40K victory has more value (if you can put a value on bracelets)in that in order to win, you have to beat one of the toughest No Limit fields in WSOP history. These are the best players on the planet. They do know each other and they all of them have the talent to take home the title whereas I think you’ll find that the talent pool in the $1K is much more diluted and much more likely to produce a “home-game hero-type” winner. Personally, I think both are great for the game in the end and I think it’s great that the WSOP offers such diversity.

  4. DanM

    Funny, likewise I agree with Seth … however it doesn’t really jibe with what I have told many a pro, which is “just one bracelet? what have you done for me lately?”

  5. Michael Friedman

    I guess I’m jaded because I’ve seen so much action over the last couple of years at the WSOP. Again, I wasn’t intending to bust on the winner of the $1k as it is a big accomplishment, but I believe poker is a game of skill and if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

    If there is one thing I’ve learned working in the poker media for the last five years it is that if you put the winner of the $1K up against the winner of the $40K and have them to play 1,000 heads up matches or put them into an equal number of tournaments, more times than not, the winner of the $40K (unless it is a big pro) will collect more victories and produce better results. I’m simply basing my argument in logic.

    Again, I wasn’t trying make fun of the winner of the $1K as winning a bracelet is a big accomplishment regardless of how you do it.

  6. Poker Shrink

    Apples and Oranges.

    A $1K NLHE event is simply not the same game as a $40K NLHE event.

    Money Matters.

  7. Kevin Mathers

    I want to learn what font Michael’s using.

  8. Jeffrey Pollack

    It’s all about offering something for everyone. What makes the WSOP so special, in part, is that amateurs and professionals have ample opportunity to live the dream and compete for a gold bracelet. Today’s event is perfect for folks who have never played in the WSOP before and amateurs who want to play on poker’s biggest stage. Our diversity of events is important — as is our ability to cater to a wide range of customers.

    Every bracelet has value: because it signifies a WSOP win and because of the stories that give each bracelet life. I’m confident the winner of our $1,000 Stimulus Special will cherish his or her bracelet and have a story to last a lifetime….



  9. DanM

    clearly not the real jeffrey pollack — the above is more than 140 characters.