5 Lessons Learned at 2015 WSOP
Today we look back at the start of the series and share five lessons learned thus far at the 2015 WSOP.
1. Everyone Loves a Gimmick
If attendance thus far at the 2015 WSOP has proven anything it's that people love gimmick tournaments. The opening weekend's Colossus drew 22,374 entries for a $535 tournament.
The Millionaire Maker and Monster Stacks both saw "shrinkage" over 2014 but still drew 7,275 and 7,192 players respectively. That's a combined 36,841 entries in three tournaments. It is safe to say that the WSOP didn't draw 36,000 players for its first 20 years - combined.
We still have a couple gimmick events remaining on the schedule, including the $777 Lucky Sevens NL Event. These gimmick events will help the WSOP extend their streak of attendance records despite many traditional events experiencing shrinkage.
2. Phil Hellmuth is Really That Damn Good
It baffles the mind to believe that some people still think that Phil Hellmuth is overrated as a poker player. The only thing that he has done is found a way to win in every era of poker in every type of field imaginable.
Most players would be happy just to win a bracelet and others would feel beyond blessed to win two or three. Hellmuth wins 13 and people still want to criticize his game.
Now that he has won his 14th bracelet, no doubt there will be detractors that want to criticize his cash-game prowess or his lack of WPT titles.
What will be the complaints when he wins 15 and beyond?
3. Just When You Think Pros are in Control, a High School Coach Wins
In the few years following the poker boom, amateur players dominated the WSOP and some felt that introducing higher buy-in mixed games were the only way that pros would win.
Then the pros started winning at all levels and in big-field NL Hold'em events, further proving the gap between luck and skill.
However, every so often we get an anomaly that shows that under the right circumstances anyone can win. High school football coach Jeff Tomlinson was this year's example of how crazy this game can be.
He came into the final table of the $5,000 Eight-Handed NL Hold'em Event as the only true amateur and had a mere $30k in lifetime earnings.
Tomlinson went on an inspired run at the final table and played a perfect style of heads-up poker to wear out and eventually eliminate Pierre Milan for the title.
While amateur players will never quite have the dominance they enjoyed from 2004-2008, a few will surprise from time to time and show the world that dreams can come true. This will inspire those amateurs to come out and take their shots.
That just means more dead money for the rest of us.
4. Kevmath Should Get a Bonus Check from Caesars
Kevin Mathers, aka Kevmath, is known for being poker's equivalent to Siri. Ask him a question and you get an answer in relatively short order.
However, he has taken this to the next level and is answering just about every question imaginable about the WSOP from fans around the world.
When asked why, he said for the love of the game.
As much as we all love poker, there aren't many of us that will dedicate our precious time to answer a bunch of questions for free for people too lazy to look things up.
Caesars should send Kevmath a bonus check or perhaps give him a free entry into the Main Event for his services.
5. WSOP.com Coverage is Better Than Expected
When it was announced that the WSOP was bringing live coverage of bracelet events in house, there were concerns that the coverage would be extremely lacking.
While things haven't been perfect, the coverage is better than expected this year thanks to officials putting in a little forethought in the hiring process.
Instead of reinventing the wheel they hired staff that has been there before. While there's some fresh faces, there are many writers and staffers that have worked in the past covering the WSOP.
There are areas for improvement, such as regular updates of chip counts during heads-up matches, but it isn't the cluster bomb many thought it would be.