On my way back from the Rio on Day 1C I was talking to a guy who was playing in the Main Event. He expressed his concern about getting stuck with a pro during his second day.
"I was really lucky to avoid having any pros play at my table," he said.
It's true that on that particular day guys like T.J. Cloutier, Liz Lieu and many, many more professionals were eliminated.
I've tried to list some of the pros and cons for each side in my head. There are the professionals who have experience, sponsors, and lounges, and then there are the amateurs who have strength in numbers. The value of having a large number of players on your side can't be discounted as poker can be a numbers game.
In a recent interview with Kathy Liebert she told me that she doesn't think that any player has more than a 4-to-1 advantage. I estimate there might be around 1,000 professional players at the Main Event tops. That leaves 7,773 hungry amateurs looking to make a name for themselves. I can see how 500 professional players will consistently do well against a field of 2,000 but a field of 8,000? No one is that good.
Pro Players seem to have different opinions about the giant fields and their status as celebrities.
In a recent interview, Chris Moneymaker talked about how half of his table wouldn't even get involved with hands he played. That's how intimidated they were.
Obviously it's not all positive either. Daniel Negreanu has spoken in the past about how difficult it is to sit down at a table full of unknown players.
"In the old days, I could sit down at a table with eight people I've never seen before and think, 'Mmm, good game,'" he said. "These days you can sit down at a table and have three guys that are fabulous online players, and you have no idea.
In another interview, Mark Seif admitted his chances were slim because of the large number of entrants.
In the end I would go so far as to say if you're a professional player in the Main Event the odds are stacked against you.