November 9: a strange way to organize a world championship
The World Series of Poker is recognized as the World Championship of Poker. Bring together the best poker players from countries around the world to compete in all variants of Texas Hold’em Poker. But it is not just any championship. In fact, it is quite unique.
To the first-time observer of the World Series of Poker, it must appear that this is an odd way to run a World Championship. Large numbers of players come together over a seven-week period to compete in a total of 57 poker events. The first 56 events feature the many variations of “hole card” poker that belong to the Texas Hold’em family of poker. These variations include Omaha, Stud, HORSE, Razz, 2-7 Low-Ball, Hi-Lo, and Triple Draw. Add the No Limit, Limit and Pot Limit betting formats to the mix and you’ve covered all 56 events. Each of these events is significant, as the winner of each event receives a coveted World Series of Poker bracelet. Each WSOP bracelet has a meaning as the accumulation of WSOP bracelets is the measure of the success and skill of the professional poker player. After all preliminary bracelets have been awarded, we come to the end of the World Series of Poker, Event # 57, the World Series of Poker Main Event No Limit Hold’em Championship.
Hey, we’ve been at it for five and a half weeks, only one event left, it should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong! Day 1 of the Main Event will take 4 days. After each day, the players will be eliminated and the rest will go on to play another day, but not tomorrow. Tomorrow another 2,000 players will play, some will be eliminated and the rest will continue. This pattern will continue for two more days with the surviving players qualifying for Day 2. We are now on Day 2. Day 2 will repeat the pattern from Day 1 except it will only take two days to finish Day 2. Are you still with me? Well, if so, from here on it’s easy. Or is that it? We’ll see.
During days 3 to 7, the game continues with the elimination of the players and the rest of the field to play the next day. However, at the end of Day 7, there will only be 27 players left to play on Day 8. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, somewhere between Day 3 and Day 7, Bubble Day will happen. Now this is great! During Bubble Day, “The Cut” will take place. Players who “make” The Cut will receive the cash prize. To ensure that the players making the cut do so fairly, each hand will be completed before the next is dealt. Play may stop at some tables when players at the remaining tables finish their hands. This ensures an accurate determination of who is actually making the cut. Being the Bubble Boy, the last person eliminated before the Cut, has its rewards, including a seat in the Main Event the following year. Anyway, we now have 27 players.
The game of day 8 has one objective, which is to determine the participants of the final table. Play continues until only nine players remain and the composition of the final table has been decided. There now, the eight-day event ends eleven days later.
But wait, what do you mean it ends? What about the winner? Okay, it’s not over yet. We have identified the nine players who will make up the Final Table known as November Nine. Why the November Nine? Well now we will wait four more months until November to decide the Main Event Champion. The winner of the 2010 World Series of Poker will be determined at the “November Nine” to be held November 7-10, 2010 at the Reo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Six months after it all began, the 2010 World Series of Poker will finally come to an end and a champion will be decided. I ask you, isn’t this a strange way to run a world championship?