Monday, June 08, 2015

The Strangest Race

Was listening earlier to the PokerNews Podcast where Jason Somerville, Donnie Peters, and Remko Rinkema are getting together in the Rio hallway every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to talk about what’s happening at this year’s World Series of Poker. Have started to realize listening to these guys chatting for a couple of hours three times a week has become my primary way of following the WSOP.

I’ll read the recaps on PokerNews, follow the back-and-forthings on Twitter some, and occasionally visit Two Plus Two to see what the latest gripe is. I’m also tuning into the final table live streams over on which have been quite good, with better production values and graphics than what has generally been the case over there in the past.

I’m not sweating every event as I tended to do last year, but am still enjoying following some of the finishes. As far as getting deeper into what’s interesting about a given event or how the latest scandal is (or is not) being handled, though, I feel like just sitting in on the PNPod guys’ discussions has kept me as in tune as I want to be with the day-to-day out there this time around.

Today on the show one of the topics discussed was the WSOP Player of the Year race, which I mentioned here a couple of weeks ago is this year being newly “powered” (i.e., sponsored) by the Global Poker Index. It’s also thoroughly out of whack, predictably so as Jess Welman and others noted it would be even before things got started.

Among the strange examples Donnie cited today was the case of Cord Garcia (a.k.a. Lance Garcia), winner of that crazy Colossus (Event No. 5) that drew 22,374 entrants. Garcia also picked up a small cash in the Millionaire Maker (Event No. 16).

Garcia is one of only 15 bracelet winners thus far; however, those achievements are only enough to put Garcia in 230th place (!) in the WSOP POY race at the moment. No shinola. He earned nearly as many points, actually, for finishing 652nd in the Milly Maker (101.71 pts.) as he did for winning the Colossus (128.92 pts.). (Click the pic above to details of his current ranking.)

In fact, the current leader Paul Volpe (who has two runner-ups and a 12th-place finish already) has about five times as many POY points as Garcia. Garcia could have won the Millionaire Maker, too, and then gone on to win the Monster Stack (Event No. 28) and the Little One for One Drop (Event No. 61) and still would finish with less points than Volpe already has through the first two weeks.

That’s because (as Jess pointed out in her pre-WSOP post) all of these events feature buy-ins of $1,500 or less, and according to the GPI formula are diminished in value, POY points-wise, relative to the bigger buy-in tournaments. By a lot.

I’m of the group that tends to view the whole POY thing as a diverting bit of trivia, hardly of central significance to the WSOP. But the formula being used is so strange and non-intuitive, it’s hard to assign much importance to it at all.

The imbalance in favor of bigger buy-in events also makes it a race many players are essentially not even able to participate in, which as the PNPod guys noted is too bad for Garcia and others who might’ve earned a little more notice had their wins gotten them into those POY conversations.

Then again, I guess Garcia was in a POY conversation -- for being out of the running, that is, and not a contender.

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Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Somerville did the commentary for the WSOP Live Stream Saturday (Tuchman was back in Las Angeles for a couple of days). He was amazing.

6/15/2015 1:08 AM  

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