Saturday, 27 November 2010

November Nine - A Strange Way to Run a World Championship

The World Series of Poker is recognized as the World Championship of Poker. It brings together the best poker players from countries all around the world to compete in all the variations of Texas Hold'em Poker. But it is not your ordinary championship. It is, in fact, quite unique.

For the first time observer of World Series of Poker it must seem that this is a strange way to run a World Championship. Massive numbers of players gather together over a period of seven weeks 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 poker family. These variations include Omaha, Stud, H.O.R.S.E., Razz, 2-7 Low-Ball, Hi-Lo and Triple Draw. Add to the mix the betting formats of No Limit, Limit, and Pot Limit and you have covered the 56 events. 
Each of these events is significant, as the winner of each event receives a much coveted World Series of Poker Bracelet. Each W.S.O.P. bracelet has significance as the accumulation of W.S.O.P. bracelets is the measure of the success and ability of the professional poker player. After all the preliminary bracelets have been handed out, we get to the World Series of Poker Finale, 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, should be a piece of cake right? Wrong! Day 1 of the Main Event is going to take 4 days. After each day, players will be eliminated and the rest will move on to play another day, but not tomorrow. 
Tomorrow another 2,000 or so, players will play, some will be eliminated and the rest will move on. This pattern will continue for two more days with the surviving players qualifying for Day 2. Now we are at Day 2. Day 2 will repeat the Day 1 pattern except it will only take two days to finish Day 2. Are you still with me? Well, if you are, from here on it's easy. Or is it? We'll see.

For Days 3 to 7, play continues with players being eliminated and the rest of the field moving on to play the next day. However, at the end of Day 7 only 27 players will be left to play on Day 8. Oh yeah, almost forgot, somewhere between Day 3 and Day 7, Bubble Day will occur. Now this is big! During Bubble Day, "The Cut" will occur. Players who "make" The Cut will get into the prize money. 
To ensure that the players making the Cut will do so fairly, each hand will be completed before the next hand will be dealt. Play may actually stop at some tables as the players at the remaining tables finish their hands. This ensures an accurate determination as to who actually makes the cut. Being the Bubble Boy, the last person eliminated before the Cut, has its rewards including a seat in the following year's Main Event. Anyway, so now we are down to 27 players.

Day 8 play has one goal, which is to determine the Final Table participants. Play proceeds until there are only nine players remaining and the composition of 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 doesn't end just yet. We have identified the nine players that will constitute the Final Table known as the November Nine. Why the November Nine? Well, we will now wait for four more months until November to decide the Main Event Champion. The 2010 World Series of Poker winner 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?
Chris Massini
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