2005 World Series of Poker
It's that time of year again. The World Series of Poker kicked off on June 2nd . This year it'll be a grueling six weeks of poker culminating in the big one: the no limit holdem main event, from July 7th until the 15th.
The expected 6000 players this year (last year's WSOP was a mere 2576) will be adding to the usual tourist weight of Las Vegas, on top of the not-so-usual weight of thousands of bystanders, media, and poker players. With the Rio Hotel and Casino as the new host of the World Series, the odds on it not being a total madhouse this year are about 40 to 1. The Rio Hotel and Casino are making accommodation allowances for up to 6600 people, but a few of us are praying that it doesn't come to that.
The main event's first day will actually be split up into three days, where one-third of the field will be wheedled down each day to accommodate for the mass of poker players that are attending. By day four, everyone that didn't get knocked out will finally sit in the same building to fight it out for a chance to last four more days. After those four long days, those last 27 players will be rewarded with another two days of poker. Fittingly those last two days will be where it all started, at Binion's Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas.
More than half of the players are expected to have qualified through an online tournament. PokerStars has produced the last two WSOP champions. Will they be able to do it again? Chris Moneymaker won in 2003 by qualifying in a $40 satellite. Greg "Fossilman" Raymer took it last year in a similar fashion. Sure they're planning on sending around 1000+ players this year, but that only gives them a 16% chance right? Non-professional online players are expected to outnumber all the rest in the main event this year due to the huge buzz created by last year's coverage of the WSOP on ESPN.
This is a far step from the old days of Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim.
More than one professional player has been heard expressing the opinion that this year will be a total crapshoot. A favorite saying going around right now is that the main event will be a "$10,000 Freeroll".
The argument is that the buy-in should be increased to $25K or even $50K. The main event of the WSOP used to be the biggest, most expensive, and most difficult poker tournament in the world. It's tougher to say that when the WPT championship at the Bellagio has a $25K buy-in and fields more reminiscent of Brunson's glory days (452 in the season three finale).
However, there are a ton of events prior to the main event. This is where the pros shine and the Player of the Year is elected. For every event that a player placed, that player earns points. At the end of the event, the most points elected the best overall player of the tournament. This title will be much more important to the pros than the winner of the big one. Last year a pro, Daniel Negreanu, won it, proving that it's better to be good than lucky.
We'll be watching all of this here. The points race, the main event, and all those events leading up to it. Check out the results and events listings for the 2005 World Series of Poker.
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