For an event with such a massive field, it seems like every entrant fancies themselves the sure favorite to win. When that announcement came over the P.A. you could tell from the looks on some people's faces that they were already dreaming of all the ways they would be spending that cash.
There's a palpable electricity in the tournament room at this World Championship. It's a noisy atmosphere with the constant cries of winners and losers springing up from all around. Exclamations of success as well as laments of sorrow fill the air as player's tournament lives are determined by the deal of the cards. After every elimination comes another cry, "Seat Open!" yelled by the dealer. Every time you hear that phrase it signifies another player who has been busted and sent packing with their long-nursed dreams of victory obliterated.
I thought at first that the fact that most of these players never had to actually throw down $10,000 to buy in to this event would have made the defeat a little more easy to bear, but that's an opinion I've since revised. Take into account that the people who pay the ten large most likely have it to spare, and you can start to see why they probably have an easier time accepting their loss.
The internet and even the satellite qualifiers, on the other hand, have gone through an amazingly long process already just to get this far. Some of the players who have won their buy-in online for very small amounts of money have already defeated a massive field of opponents to earn their seat and a chance at the $12 million. This win would have bolstered their confidence and only added to their expectations coming into this Main Event.
The worst thing a player can do at this stage in the tournament is get distracted with daydreams of becoming the next World Champion. Although making it through the first round is the first step to victory, the event is still young, and there's a long way to go yet. With play lasting at least twelve hours a day and continuing for a full thirteen days in total, this truly is a marathon event. We've already seen the eliminations of both pros and amateurs alike and there will be many more before we get down to the money.
One player who I had the pleasure of watching today was young Jason Strasser. A 21-year-old online prodigy, Jason is one of the lucky players who not only has a realistic picture of how difficult it's going to be to succeed in this event, but is doing exactly what he has to do to give himself the opportunity to make it deep in this tournament.
I've seen a lot of players, pros and amateurs, playing so far in this World Series but none have come close to what I saw Strasser do today. It was truly amazing watching this kid play poker, and I say that with absolutely no exaggeration. He completely dominated every table he sat down at and had every other player he was up against playing in fear. I kid you not, when any other player at the table made a bet or a raise no matter what their relative position to Jason they were looking at him for his reaction when they pushed their chips into the middle.
He played fearlessly. Holding the chip lead for much of the day, Jason used his big stack perfectly. Even more importantly though he showed a reading ability that was uncanny for someone so young, making key post-river calls when his opponents were trying to push. Jason is hands-down my pick for winning this event. Not so much because of his massive chip stack but because of his skill.
I can't wait to see how the action's going to unfold in the rest of this Main Event. There's still a ton of play to come and PokerListings.com is going to be there every step of the way to keep you up to date on everything that's going down.