Cards Matters, Cont.
It's Day 6 today at the World Series of Poker Main Event, and they're deep into the money -- the action has been pretty furious. To wit: the original schedule had them playing today from 150 players down to 60. As it happens, there's only 45 players left right now, so they're more than a day ahead.
Based on my bit of poker knowledge and a few of the interviews at Cardplayer.com, this would seem to be a function of the overall weakness of the field. More than half the field of 8,773 won their buy-in online (at sites like PokerStars, Party Poker, and Full Tilt Poker), in most cases in massive tournaments with a very small entry fee (or none at all). Predictably, some of these players are pretty good, but a lot just got pretty lucky.
At any rate, players' anxiety about the (small) size of their chip stacks has risen faster than the blinds and antes, so you see stupid things like someone going all-in with pocket 7's before the flop when they still have 30x the big blind, which is simply terrible.
Nevertheless, thanks to both the sheer size of the field and the ol' Luck of the Draw, there are very few experienced pros left: Humberto Brenes (who has won at least one televised event), Jeffrey Lisandro (ditto), and Allen Cunningham.
There's a good profile of Cunningham at ESPN.com. I'll be cheering for him. It would appear that this is the year that the main event has jumped the shark. Too many players, and too many nobodies. (And/or, too cheap to buy-in or win-in). The premier event at the World Series probably isn't the main event anymore, it's the $50k buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event, where the final table was filled with experienced pros. (Partly because of the expensive buy-in, but mostly because they don't just play Hold'em, they also play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud, and stud hi/lo Eight or better).
All that said, the money involved in this event is just unbelievable. The next person knocked out will be the 45th place finisher -- for a mere $250k. I hope the Drizzler's buddy is still alive.