Daniel Negreanu recently mentioned that he would like to see the WSOP conclude with the Main Event. While there are a lot of people that agree with him there are some huge positives to these smaller tournaments. The first one is their accessibility. More people come out to watch the Main Event than any other tournament. I'll admit the Main Event can be exciting, most of the time it's impossible for the average fan to actually see any of it (Hell, it's hard for most of the media to see it). Not so with the extra events. It's completely accessible.
Another problem with the Main Event is that it's a sea of nobodies. Did people travel thousands of miles to see Rich Lee or Mitch Schock? No! They came to see Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan or Phil Hellmuth. All those players have played in the extra events and it's much easier to actually watch a hand or two than during the rest of WSOP.
What about compelling storylines? Well last night we had the first long-haired Rasta winner that I can remember. As soon as Paul Kobel won he jumped up and tearfully thanked Jah. Tell him that his bracelet doesn't mean anything. I think he might disagree.
One of the biggest complaints about the extra events is that they are all No-Limit Texas Hold'em. Um, last time I checked 95% of the people that watch poker want to see No-Limit Hold'em. It's the most exciting game and it offers the most to spectators. The other major complaint is that they're all $1,500 events. Sure that's cheap, but why not give some of the people that came to see the Main Event a chance to play. Not everybody has $10,000 lying around. If the tournaments are good enough for Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson, believe me, they warrant some attention.
If you don't think it takes any skill to win at these tournaments I would have to disagree with you. Any player that can survive a field that includes Phil Hellmuth, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Mel Judah deserves credit.
People have traveled long distances to see a bracelet awarded, and at least this way, they should be able see at least one. Before anybody gets too upset, they would do well to remember that the Main Event is still technically the last event it's just there are a few events that happen while it is being played. Good thing too, or everybody would probably fall asleep if all they had to watch was the Main Event.
So call it a "Loser's" event if you want, but I've got to ask the people that are so adamant that we finish the WSOP with the Main Event, would they rather the Amazon Room just sits empty? The extra events are a welcome change and a chance to see some very good poker.
The fact is as long as these events are held - and I hope they keep them - they should be treated with the same respect as any other tournament.