All this insanity and there’s no cure

I’ve been tossing around the $1,000,000 buy-in – The Big One for One Drop charity tournament – that is running right now at the WSOP.

It’s all the news, no, not in the news, ‘all the news’ especially if you subscribe to Google poker alerts. It’s a big deal, and it’s creating an amazing amount of noise in the media outlets which was exactly what Guy Laliberté had in mind when the whole thing started.

Guy Laliberté’s goal was to have the poker community push the One Drop idea out to the world so everyone could get involved. Fresh water for everyone on the planet, that’s a huge goal, not to be accomplished in a single day or through one massive push in the media with a big buy-in poker tournament, but a good goal just the same.

So…being part of the poker world for the last almost 40 years, there are parts of this whole media-blitz-gone-poker-mad-big-buy-in-charity-tournament that I find quite distasteful.

For some reason it feels like a big splash of ego and money each trying to draw out on the other. It doesn’t ‘feel’ noble and selfless. It feels like war over a pot of over $18 million in first place prize money and a specially designed platinum bracelet designed by watchmaker Richard Mille, and all the extra income advertising the WSOP can gain from it.

I suppose I feel the need to throw a few scraps of conflict out on this page to continue with where I feel it’s at. A million dollars really is nothing in this day and age – unless you’re broke and it’s the lifestyle you’ve were born with and grew up with.

For the pros to put up $1M, it’s a lot of money for one person to venture but there are more reasons than money for stepping into the ring, many of the pros know what it’s like to be broke, and some of them sold pieces of themselves. They still have to collect on those pieces to come out of it without the full brunt of a million dollar loss.

There were 48 players, the event was capped. There are seven players left right now. Of those seven, two are pretty much guaranteed to give anything they win to charity: Guy Laliberté and David Einhorn. The total prize pool is $42,666,672.

The other five are poker players and this is the chip count order now:

1 Sam Trickett 41,900,000
2 Antonio Esfandiari 38,425,000
3 Phil Hellmuth 17,875,000
4 Brian Rast 12,650,000
5 David Einhorn 11,750,000
6 Guy Laliberté 11,125,000
7 Bobby Baldwin 10,250,000

One of the things that bothers me about the size of the buy-in and the pay-outs is that to the rest of the world that is unfamiliar with the cycles and circles of poker, it appears as if poker players just have millions of dollars to toss around and the winner of this will just get ‘richer.’

I find it quite painful for the non-playing world to see it in that light, especially after the happenings of Black Friday and the massive amounts of money that continually hit the headlines centered around poker. I do not feel it makes poker look inviting. Someone watching this tournament as a new-to-poker viewer – IMHO – would simply think that these people were a bunch of rich degens that want to throw their money away. I believe it speaks poorly to the net-nanny groups and government officials and does not lend to the idea of legalizing and regulating poker but gives more the thought that it’s a wild, uncontrolled insanity and should be banned. After all, what sane person would venture a million dollars against 47 other players?

The pro players are obviously looking to ‘super pad’ a bankroll, take home the title of winning the biggest poker tournament ever spread, have their faces and lives spewed all over TV and the media, and be written into the poker pages of history. I’m sure everyone that played had numerous reasons for playing and it couldn’t have been for the money. Well…maybe in Phil Hellmuth’s case. *Laughs out loud*

I’m having a few issues with the WSOP in general. Spreading to other venues around the world and spreading more events each year, where does it end? I have thoughts on that but they don’t belong here. I would certainly expect the WSOP to agree to running The Big One for One Drop as a bracelet event but not out of the kindness of their corporate heart. For some reason all I feel coming in from the WSOP is greed. (Yuppers, this tournament was ran with no house fees…not impressed). They can just write those house fees off as a donation at the end of the year.

The bottom line – after all that blabbing – big poker tournaments are great and exciting. The pros are part of the game, but the little guy – the one that runs in every Friday night and puts a coupla hundred down in a $2-5 NLH game, or the granny that buys $25 into a $1-5 Stud game, or the college kid that takes a seat in a $1,000 buy-in NLH WSOP donkament tournament on his 22nd birthday, those are the people that make the game.

Those are the type of poker players and bankrolls that feel good to me; the people that know where they came from because they are still there; the real people of poker that aren’t always shucking and jiving for position because they just came to play poker.

7 thoughts on “All this insanity and there’s no cure”

  1. Here’s what I linked in my blog:

    My buddy Linda has an interesting take on Drips and Drops. I agree but, hell, what is Las Vegas going to provide that isn’t deplorable at some level.

    I’ve never been a huge Antonio fan. But, he played it as well as one can. Rast’s big hand was one we’ve all seen too often. I laughed at his exit remarks and said that in my blog. It was that painful kind of laugh that we’ve all experienced.

  2. Ken, I can’t watch any of it since I don’t have satellite installed for TV. Nothing’s available in my area unless I do satellite or cable, since I’m not a TV watcher, I have neither. I was rooting for Sam Trickett – nothing really to do with Esfandiari – I read a lot of poker news and I just happened to like Trickett.

    I wish I could have heard Hellmuth’s exit remarks though. 🙂

  3. Well, Helmuth was his whiny self. And, of course, the other guy was an idiot.

    Trickett was the media darling. They rolled out his recent heater repeatedly. The media doesn’t have a long memory.

    I watched it by accident more than intent. I remember the early stuff on Travel Channel. Seems we couldn’t get enough of it. It marked a transition from the old school to what online developed. You chronicled that well in that era. There is a lot to miss beside our youth. 🙂

  4. Linda,

    I’m going to throw in a different opinion here. I think that the more attention the world pays to water issues, the better the chances are that we might even survive a few more years on this here planet. So, for my two cents, bravo to someone who has already brought more than his share of joy into the world (I am a total Cirque de Soleil geek) for pushing this tourney, and for the businessmen for putting up their money knowing that their chances of beating pro players was probably not too high.
    As for the pros themselves, they have to look at playing this tourney as a positive, whether they win or not. They get some good pub for participating in a charity event, but more importantly, they get to compete against a lot of players who should not be able to play at their level, thereby making it a “positive EV” for them and/or their backers.
    Eventually, you and I both know that online will come back, pushed through as soon as the corporatocracy giants get their share of the spoils. When that happens, the pros will be back in line for sponsorship money, etc., so for them keeping their own brand names alive is critical. The money they put up for this tourney will come back to them eventually from somewhere.

  5. Jan,

    we agree on just about everything, I never had a beef about the tournament and the water crisis and trying to save the world. I believe I stated that the purpose of the tournament was to make the world aware of the water issues. I feel it may have made some of the world more aware that people in poker have a lot of money to throw away and that’s all they do. Some of those people will never see the word ‘charity’ or ‘fresh water for all’ because all they will see is that someone put up $1million to play poker.

    I certainly don’t think it hurt the pros – with the publicity, the opportunity to win big money, and all that good stuff.

    I do believe online poker will come back to the US.

    I will have to repeat that I do not like ‘the feel’ of the whole thing. I don’t necessarily believe it was good for poker, I believe it’s good for a few in poker.

    I’m not for it or against it, just observations. Thanks for stopping in? How goes life in CO – are you playing anywhere?

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