If you're trying to make a splash in the world of poker, there's no better way to do it than by taking down a WSOP bracelet early on. The entire community is watching, and everyone takes note. But the best part about winning off the bat is that you wind up with enough hard won cash to buy your way into every tournament you want, especially the always looming, ever daunting, Main Event.
But for the winner, as they say, comes the spoils. And at the World Series, for every winner, there are literally thousands of losers. In these two events particularly, due to their popularity and large playing fields, we've seen many a seasoned pro huffing off the tournament floor before the blinds even have a chance to increase to the second or third level.
When this happens, excuses are often made and 'tudes are often copped. While this can be chalked up to baby-ish, Helmuth-esque whining, one factor that some pros have been citing as the reason for their swift departure is definitely worth exploring and has a fair amount of validity.
When the buy-in is $1,500, and each player starts with only that amount of chips, there's relatively little room to maneuver. The blinds may start low ($25/$25), but that doesn't keep players from making large, disproportionate raises. And when this happens, and a player gets stuck with a hand like a middle pocket pair that's hard to get away from, they're forced to sit back, take a hit and watch their stack crumble before their eyes.
When a player is left with something pathetic like $350 in chips (as David Williams was early in the first round of the No-Limit event), working their way back up isn't an impossible task, but it is quite daunting. Adjusting play to this low starting chip stack is fairly unworkable and largely inadvisable.
Most pros are used to starting with much larger chip stacks in the big competitions they enter throughout the year. Just like in the WSOP Main Event, when they're looking at a $10,000 stack, if someone takes $1,000 off them early on, they've still got legs to stand on and arms to flail. Faced with that same scenario, but with 85% less chips, players are immediately short stacked and have to go all-in once they get a reasonable hand just to try and stay alive.
With so many entrants in this year's events, luck is bound to play a huge role in any player's path to victory. However, when the starting stack is so low and the playing field so large, most pros will probably agree that luck factors into these low buy-in events far more often than they're used to.