The World Series of poker Main Event is now upon us and in years past this was virtually the only story, the only tournament, that players talked about as life-changing. But this year there was a second tournament held at the WSOP that rivaled, if not exceeded the allure of the Main Event, The Big One for One Drop, which crowned Antonio Esfandiari as an $18 million man, and even runner-up Sam Trickett pocketed more than the expected winner of the WSOP Main Event in 2012. So the question is: has the Big One for One Drop tournament diminished the prestige of the WSOP Main Event?
A lot of people are finding the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event a bit anti-climactic after the Big One for One Drop, but personally I find both tournaments to be unique in their own ways. The Big One for One Drop was sort of an All-Star game for poker players and wealthy businessmen; something the average person simply doesn’t have a chance of taking part in, but something even beyond the means of the well-to-do people in society. On the other hand, the WSOP Main Event is, and always has been, the tournament that puts the amateurs on equal footing with the professionals. The buy-in is not so large that it shuts out 99% of the population, and over the years we’ve seen a number of amateur players excel in the Main Event.
The One Drop tournament featured amateurs too, but these were amateurs who have received coaching from top-level players; who regularly play against the best in the world; and for whom the sting of losing $1,000,000 can quickly be erased by a glimpse at their stock portfolio. Basically, the One Drop amateurs were not playing for life changing money, where virtually every single participant in the WSOP Main Event is in fact entering with the hopes of forging a new life with a deep run.
Even though One Drop gave us pause to reconsider what we thought possible in the poker world (who considered a $1,000,000 buy-in poker tournament feasible in a post-Black Friday world, let alone reaching its 48-player cap with an alternate list!?!?!), the WSOP Main Event will still be the Everest to One Drop’s K-2, thanks to the dynamics of the tournament and its entrants. For players bubbling the WSOP Main Event or losing a heartbreaking hand that would have given them the chip-lead but instead sends them home in 50th place, there are no smiles and “it was a great experience” interviews afterward; the emotion is there, raw and palpable, and we can all put ourselves in their shoes.
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