Thursday, June 18, 2015

What Are We Playing for Again?

It’s been a while -- five years now -- but once upon a time I had a full-time job that had nothing to do with poker whatsoever. For a long time, too (a decade, in fact).

Won’t go too much into specifics, but I will say that part of that job involved serving on lots of committees. And therefore attending lots of meetings. With agendas.

Yeah, it was as fun as it sounds.

In those meetings we’d discuss all manner of things that needed to be done to improve our place of employment for everyone involved, including us. However, we were only employees, and in truth in most cases we didn’t have the political power or tangible resources to make those changes we were discussing happen.

As a result, many of the meetings followed a similar trajectory, starting out sticking closely to those agenda items which would inspire all sorts of suggested courses of action, with discussions often building into grand, detailed plans resulting from the push-and-pull of our debates.

Then would come the inevitable “existential” moment. Usually that moment would come just before the meeting’s scheduled time of concluding, and right after someone brought up the troubling truth that when it came to the thing we were discussing, we technically had no real means to make it happen. Then someone would ask the question.

“What exactly are we doing here?”

Usually just asking the question was enough to send us all back into our individual caves of despair. What we had been discussing, we all were forced to realize, was entirely abstract -- a theory that could never be put into practice.

I thought about that just a short while ago when noticing an exchange of tweets between Paul Volpe and Mike Gorodinsky, the two players currently sitting atop the 2015 World Series of Poker Player of the Year race “powered” this year by the Global Poker Index.

“Hey @WSOP @WSOPTD what exactly are the added incentives for POY these days?” tweeted Gorodinsky, currently second in the POY race. “I’d also like to know if there is any incentive,” replied the current POY leader Paul Volpe.The person manning the @WSOP account quickly answered the question.

“It is a permanent banner hung from the WSOP annually,” was the reply.

Had to chuckle at that, and as I say, it made me think back to those committee meetings where so often we fooled ourselves into thinking we were discussing something concrete before finally realizing there wasn’t much at stake at all. It also made me think a little of the anticlimax associated with the announcement of the Colossus first prize a couple of weeks ago.

Volpe expressed some disappointment, saying the WSOP was “giving no incentive to go to Europe and try and win it,” and Gordinsky said “agree 100%.”

Soon, though, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart (@wsopSUITd) jumped in to clarify that in fact there is a trophy to be won as well, plus a $10,000 buy-in to next year’s Main Event. “But honestly,” Stewart added, “w/winner traditionally having earned high 6 to 7 figures, is prize the motivation?”

Never mind problems with the POY formula, it is hard to say exactly how much those in contention for the POY prize are valuing it. However -- unlike was the case in so many of those committee meetings -- at least they are playing for something.

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Blogger Wookie said...

We need more mainstream sponsors back in the Poker World to fund such prizes. You would think the WSOP was making enough to do a little more than they are, though.

6/18/2015 9:03 PM  

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