Came across one dude’s totals and when I saw his lifetime earnings had one of those “yeah, but” moments as I wondered just how many tourneys he’d actually entered. I started to think about how it would be interesting for someone to compile statistics that included the number of tourneys a person had played, thus providing some added context to the number of cashes and total winnings.
I mean, the way it looks over on Hendon Mob, everyone is winning and no one is losing. All cashes, no fees.
Was pondering this one a bit more as the day wore on. I thought that while it would be improbable to expect all tournaments everywhere to make available complete lists of entrants to a site like Hendon Mob, perhaps the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour could handle such a thing with regard to their respective series of tournaments.
If the WSOP began keeping track of all entrants this way, they could compile databases such as one finds on PGA.com and its associated sites. Those guys keep track of everything everyone does it seems, including cuts made, scoring average, driving distance, greens in regulation, how they did on par threes, and so on.
If all entrants in poker tourneys were tracked, the WSOP could (say) for a given year show us who had the best ROI (return on investment) percentage, who did best in the higher buy-in events, who had the most cashes per entry, and the like. And eventually statistics could be compared from year to year, adding further information to consider when debating players’ relative abilities.
Later in the day I listened to Mike Matusow interviewed over on the Wise Hand Poker podcast (the 3/18/09 episode), and coincidentally he spoke to Wise about how in his opinion he had “the best year in the history of poker” in 2008, even though “nobody really wants to put it on record and say what kind of year [he] had.”
According to Matusow, he played in 21 tourneys, cashed in 11, made five final tables, and won one, Event No. 18 at the 2008 WSOP, the $5,000 No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw w/Rebuys event. (By the way, that picture above lists Matusow’s 2008 WSOP cashes.) “Nobody realizes I only played 21 tournaments... when most people play a hundred,” he added.
Of course, 11 cashes looks impressive, anyway. But out of 21 tourneys -- if that’s accurate, well that is fairly special.
At first I thought Matusow was implicitly supporting this idea I had about keeping track of folks’ entries in order to produce stats which more closely indicated how well players were performing.
Then I realized -- what a horrible idea. Why?
Because the publication of such information, while perhaps satisfying fans’ curiosity, would likely have a detrimental effect on the players. And the tournaments, too. The WSOP or WPT would have little to gain, I would think, from showing all of its players (and the rest of the world) exactly how much they’ve lost over the course of their respective series. Could possibly discourage some from entering tourneys, even. In any event, I can’t really see how it would help.
Of course, sites like SharkScope (where the graph on the left representing one player’s stats appears) have made the publication of such information about players’ performances in online multi-table tourneys and sit-n-gos a significant part of that world, with players routinely looking up their opponents’ stats which do not hide the number of times they failed to cash. (SharkScope focuses on SNGs, while other sites provide similar info regarding MTTs.) I don’t suppose those sites have negatively affected the popularity of MTTs and SNGs -- in fact, one could perhaps argue they have added to their popularity (?) -- but I think the story for live tournament poker is considerably different.
Such are among the many special considerations those who wish to market poker as a sport -- particularly the professional tourney circuit -- have to keep in mind. The fact that most players pay their own way (aside from the lucky few whose sponsors pay their entry fees) means they cannot be treated the same as, say, those who secure PGA Tour cards or who qualify for the Sunday NASCAR races.
So it isn’t just that “nobody really wants to put it on record” how Matusow did last year. Nobody wants to put it on record how anybody did, I think. Not really.