What’s the record for multiple-bracelet winners in a single WSOP? In 2003 there were no less than six players who won two bracelets: Johnny Chan, Chris Ferguson, Layne Flack, Phil Hellmuth, John Juanda, and Men Nguyen. That record still seems safe for now, anyway.
Which is more remarkable -- three two-time winners in 2009, or six two-time winners in 2003? There are obviously some differences worth considering when addressing the question, including the number of events, the buy-ins, and the field sizes.
In 2003, there were 36 bracelet events; in 2009, there are 57. (The fact that six guys won a third of the bracelets in 2003 is in itself a fairly interesting bit of trivia.) As far as buy-ins go, while there are more $10,000 events today than in the past, relatively speaking the buy-ins are mostly very comparable. Of course, the average field sizes for WSOP events has changed markedly, particularly in no-limit hold’em events. But there, too, differences between 2003 and 2009 aren’t that overwhelming.
To be more specific, here are some stats for the multiple bracelet winners from each year:
You’re noticing a lot of smaller fields among those 2003 events, at least compared to 2009. Is it less of an achievement to outlast a field of fewer than 100 players than to win a tournament in which over 1,000 enter?
Obviously in the tournament with a smaller field one will probably be playing fewer hands, and thus face fewer decisions, and risk one’s tournament survival fewer times, and so forth. But I think it is probably a mistake to make some sort of snap judgment about the relative worth of a tournament victory based solely on field sizes. Smaller fields often (not always) have fewer weak players among them, thus making it more difficult to negotiate one’s way through to the end. I’m not saying the 77 players Men Nguyen outlasted in that Ace-to-Five event in 2003 were all necessarily top-notch lowball players, but there is nevertheless often an inverse relationship between the quantity and quality of entrants in WSOP events, generally speaking.
In any case, it is interesting to see the same guys going deep and winning bracelets, and as I was talking about a week ago after Ivey won his second bracelet of the summer, I think it helps further the case that while chance is a big part of poker, the game is undoubtedly a test of skill.
After a little respite, I’m back at the Rio tonight to begin covering Event No. 42, the $2,500 Mixed Event. This is the event that requires players to play eight different games -- the one I once suggested be called S.P.L.E.N.D.O.R. The games rotate between Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo Eight-or-Better, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo Eight-or-Better, No-Limit Hold’em, and Pot-Limit Omaha. Here is the structure sheet, if yr curious.
Should be interesting to cover, I’d think, if only for the variety of games. Should probably attract an interesting variety of players, too, although I’m going to go ahead and predict there will be some familiar names among those who go deep in this one. Indeed, we may well get a fourth multiple-bracelet winner here after all is said and done.
Follow along over at PokerNews.