Former WSOP Main Event champions Greg Raymer (2004) and Tom McEvoy (1983), both members of Team PokerStars, are expressing mixed feelings about the decision. “I am very torn over this proposal,” says Raymer. “It might be huge for the continued growth of poker, however, the down side is this long gap allows the players to become completely different people between the time they make the final table, and when they play it.”
Raymer voices a concern that several raised when rumors began swirling last month that the change was being considered. “You know all nine will get coaching,” says Raymer, “and especially they will get coaching tailored to each of their eight opponents.”
McEvoy’s comments primarily concern how the change will affect the staging of the event itself. “If players have to leave for several weeks and then come back for the Main Event, I think it would reduce attendance,” says McEvoy. Still, he ultimately is more positive about the change than is Raymer, saying he thinks it is “a very interesting and exciting thing to do” and that he favors it.
Kind of interesting to see how the two champs -- one of whom won well before the Moneymaker “boom” and one who won immediately afterward -- seem to be responding differently (in tone, at least) to the change.
What do I think? While some of the arguments in favor of the change are intriguing, I have to admit my feelings on the matter haven't altered all that much from what I posted in a comment over on Pokerati a month ago:
“If we’re talking old-fashioned stuff like integrity, competition, and, well, poker, my first, second, and third impressions are this is a truly horrific idea.
If we’re talking new-world stuff like celebrity, hype, and crass commercialism, why this is the bee’s knees!”
In any event, the decision has been made. Let the arguments begin.