Sunday, June 21, 2009

2009 WSOP, Day 25: Multiple Multiples

There are now three different players who have won two WSOP bracelets this summerLast night Jeff Lisandro took down Event No. 37, the $10,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo 8-or-better event, meaning there are now three players with two 2009 WSOP gold bracelets -- Lisandro, Phil Ivey, and Brock Parker. Remarkable? Sure. Of course, this marks the 10th straight year there has been at least one multiple-bracelet winner at the WSOP, so it’s not like this sort of thing never happens.

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:

Comparing 2003 and 2009 mulitiple WSOP bracelet winnersYou’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.

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Blogger AllanDuke said...

Whoa! I forgot about your blog. Your WSOP posts will keep me plenty busy during the downtime at work today. Thanks man

6/22/2009 10:31 AM  
Anonymous BJ Nemeth said...

While three people have won multiple bracelets this year, four more have come as close as possible -- winning a bracelet and finished second. Through 37 events, or whichever event that Lisandro won.

If you expand that to multiple Top 3 finishes, you can add two more players to that list.

I'd disagree somewhat with your discussion of field sizes. Yes, the fields are larger nowadays, and larger fields tend to have more dead money. But a huge difference between 2003 and 2009 is the number of knowledgeable poker players. There are far more than there used to be.

SuperSystem used to be the bible of poker players, but it was one of very few books. Now you have commentators on TV pounding home percentages of different hands, and dozens and dozens of top-notch strategy books, magazine articles, and even online videos where you can improve your game.

Not to mention the fact that a majority of poker's growth has come from the under-25 demographic, and they have honed their skills online playing far more hands than their live counterparts ever could in the same amount of time.

And even though those fields were smaller back in 2003, they still had their share of dead money. Only back then, the dead money was probably even less likely to win, because most of them lacked some basic knowledge or any idea of aggressive plays like a semi-bluff.

6/22/2009 12:45 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Great points, B.J. Yes, it is a mistake to assume that big fields automatically translates into lots of dead money. Still some seriously tough tables out there, even in events with 2,000-plus entrants.

6/22/2009 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Big D said...

The WSOP is now like two event: everything else and the main event. Id love it if Phil or Daniel could win the big one.

6/22/2009 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Wow... cool stuff. And thanks to @PokerProSecrets on Twitter for the link - your posts are really great.

6/22/2009 11:03 PM  

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