WSOP 2014: How do you solve a problem like 1C...huh?
She's always late for chapel
But her penitence is real
She's always late for everything
Except for every meal...
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"
So, here we are about to enter the final Day 1 flight of the 2014 WSOP Main Event, and there is controversy. Of course, there is. Poker players will argue about whether their own mother is pretty. So, something like Day 1C (which ain't always pretty, folks) is bound to cause some hackles to rise up.
For the initiated, here's the thing: there is only enough room for a certain number of players to play in the cavernous Rio convention hall each day. Because the total number of expected entrants has long been more than that capacity, the first two days of the tournament are broken up into flights. It's a smart solution to a good problem to have. See, the more people the WSOP packs in here, the bigger the eventual prize pool will be.
But that's where the problems start. See, the players here can choose any of the flights (conveniently named Day 1A, Day 1B, and Day 1C) to start their Main Event battle. Day 1A typically draws an attendance roughly equivalent to "Free Used Ointment Day" at the clinic. Day 1B pulls a respectable crowd. Day 1C...it's often a problem. A big one.
"We've got every table in this place going," Tournament Director Jack Effel said this morning. That means every giant conference room, the poker room, and the hallway outside the seafood restaurant. If they could fit a table on the zipline between the two Rio towers, they'd put one there. Put another way, according to Effel, "We won't sell out or shut anyone out."
Nevertheless, rumors were everywhere.
@dsapery it's a rumor......for now.— Jack Effel (@WSOPTD) July 7, 2014
The first complaints began when there was talk of making Day 1C ten-handed instead of the nine-handed play employed in the first two flights. That idea was not met with a lot of happy faces. That said, it looks as if that idea fell by the wayside because the tables are all playing with nine seats. So, problem solved!
Well, not really. Because this is a problem that just doesn't go away. If if today worked out, as poker grows, the Day 1C Problem is going to continue to rear its head. There is no easy solution nor a great many good suggestions. Like Maria, poker players are always late for chapel, and as long as they are given a choice, they are going to show up as late as possible. That's just the way it is. But, take their choice away, and that will be a kind of screaming they use for horror film soundtracks.
So, it's always a sweat for the WSOP tournament officials. I don't envy them. A few years back, they ended up having to shut some players out. That didn't go over well, and hasn't happened since.
Regardless, today seems to be going more smoothly than many people worried. It's crowded as all get-out, but there isn't any screaming yet.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging