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WSOP Commentary - Why the Pros Are Winning Again

16 June 2010, By: compncards
Jennifer Harman 183x300
Jennifer Harman 183x300

I started playing at the World Series of Poker in 2006. Back then, we were still pre-UIGEA and amateurs were practically dominating all of the fields. A few select pros would win events, but for the most part, the chirping from the pros was that “the fields are too massive” and “buy-ins needed to be raised.” However, times were a changing.

When it All Started

The $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event started the trend of including higher buy-in events at the WSOP. Then we saw more $10,000 buy-in World Championship Events. Certain other events were also raised in price such as the Razz event is now a $2,500 Event as opposed to a $1,500. We also saw the inclusion of mixed events.



The pros then caught on that the way to a bracelet was now through the mixed events. So now what has happened is that many of the pros and aspiring pros have turned most of their attention to mixed games. Some other players have tried to follow their wake, but for the most part, the higher buy-in and non-Holdem events are a pro’s playground.

In addition, the number of “NL pros” has grown. There is also a lot more material on the game out there and some of the pros have begun to finally adjust. What has happened as a result is that the pros have taken back over the World Series of Poker. It is true that amateurs will still win some bracelets. It is also true that a virtual no name player will take the Main Event. In the end, you will see pros and semi-pros continue to take the majority of the bracelets.

The Only Stumbling Block

Two years ago when I covered the WSOP, they tried to dub the series the “Year of the Pro.” I told people back then that this would not just be a one year deal and that with all of the mixed games, expect pros to take back over the WSOP.

The only thing that I could see that would potentially change this is Harrah’s insistence to continue to expand lower buy-in NL Holdem Events. I have said in the past that it seemed like Harrah’s was more of the World Series of Holdem than the World Series of Poker. A couple of pros, including Allen Kessler, are now beginning to chirp the same.

While we all know that Harrah’s is trying to make a buck, if you continue to trend over to NL Holdem, you will drive away a customer base that has remained loyal to the brand. Mike Matusow proposed a “Poker World Championships” a couple of years ago as a response to what seemed to be excessive juice charged by Harrah’s. If they continue to trend towards mostly or even all NL tournaments, something like that could become a reality.

However, barring Harrah’s doing something completely silly as making the
World Series of Poker hold em games only, I foresee the trend of pros taking the majority of the bracelets continuing. The pros are no longer blindsided by these new amateurs and wannabes. They have adjusted, and they have started taking back over their territory. Don’t be surprised if in the next few years the storyline starts to become whether an amateur truly has a shot at a WSOP title.

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