WSOP 2015: Everything you need

There is a whiteboard sign just outside the Rio Convention Center's Amazon Room. At the top of it, someone with fluid, happy handwriting has written the words "Everything You Need to Succeed." Parenthetically, the Great Promiser has added, "Seriously. Just ask us."

Whoever this Great Promiser is, she knows her market. As I type, hundreds of people are making their way down the long Rio hallways toward their seats. To sit down in on of those seats, every player has put up $10,000. The ten grand also buys a stack of chips, which is, I assure you, not Everything They Need.

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The vast majority of those people will leave here without winning a penny. For some, however, there is the promise of millions at the end of the road. All they need to know is "Everything You Need to Succeed."

To be clear, this once-a-year opportunity is full of people who feel damned sure they already have Everything They Need. The amount of confidence--some would say hubris--it takes to believe you can defeat the world's best poker players is enormous. But here all these people come, convinced their $10,000 and personal poker experience is Everything They Need.

Those things just won't do.

See, I don't know what's in the e-books and training the Great Promiser is offering, but I feel confident it doesn't involve the ability to go through two weeks of play without catching a two-outer for all the chips. It doesn't involve that moment where every ounce of confidence you've ever had seeps into the felt and disappears like a broken boat on a dark lake. It doesn't involve that feeling of looking at yourself in a hallway mirror and thinking, "Who the hell is that guy and where does he get off thinking he can do this?"

Or, you know, maybe that is exactly what the Great Promise is offering. I have no way of knowing, because, despite her suggestion that we "seriously, just ask," she is nowhere to be found. At the very moment hundreds of people desperately need to know Everything They Need, the only person who is promising that service is a ghost. It's almost as if the promise were meant to taunt and haunt the players as they walk in. "Everything You Need? Oh, sorry, we sold out of that last week."

But, you know, that's how this game goes. Poker is an individual's campaign. No amount of promises and self-help e-book chapters is going to change the fact that when 2014 WSOP champion Martin Jacobson says "Shuffle up and deal" everyone is going to be on their own.

Those stories, those individual tales of struggle, defeat, and lost promises are the ones we'll be telling this week. Along the way, we will, too, find people who find a way to skip over the sinkholes along the way and fall into a pile of money. We can't promise we'll have Everything You Need, but we'll get as close as we can right here in our WSOP coverage section.

The 2015 WSOP Main Event begins now...

is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Photography by

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker