WSOP Main Event: Same as it ever was


I want to say that it's all new, that each year there's a new main event mould ready to fill by a refreshed cast. But then, who'd really want it to be any different? Sure, the four opening day ones might, from the outside at least, seem a bit repetitive, but to the purists who know, it's just fuelling the great blaze of glory to come later.

As little as seven years ago hundreds of players rather than thousands created a different kind of theatre to what we see now though, downtown in Binion's, where a more private and exclusive celebration, little known beyond the Las Vegas city limits, chiselled out a new world champion. Then Moneymaker came along and well, made money. Now we're all Moneymakers (No, I'm Moneymaker), and the fires get stoked some more.

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That may have changed poker's face but its heart is the same as it ever was. It's not about the money but the bracelet and the prestige that comes with it. Not much else has changed. There's the same tension, the same adrenaline, the same guff about it not being about the money and the same fried cheese. There's also that odd dash of anticipation for what could be a life changing tournament for you and pretty much anyone who knows you. If it doesn't you're a lock to be back here next year to try again.

That tenet goes for the few hundred players ousted yesterday, stripped of any bracelet hopes, one within ten minutes, others within ten minutes of the end. Today's flight won't care about that. Because if there's something else that hasn't changed it's that everyone who plays wants to win and thinks they can. Only a fool would say any different.

With all the colour and sparkle that goes with the fourth of July, welcome back to day one. It's as great as it was last year.