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Play Now, Sleep Later: WSOP Schedule Unrelenting
While the life of a professional poker player certainly has its perks, the grind of long days and sleepless nights at the WSOP can make for a grueling road to the bracelet.
Marathon WSOP sessions can last 14 to 18 hours if players end up playing in more than one event on a given day. It's not ideal, but tournament organizers would be forced to spread events out over the entire calendar year if there was no overlapping.
"You can't play everything," said UK poker pro Liv Boeree. "If you try to play everything you won't end up playing your best. I like the scheduling because I've found a good balance."
Other players are still trying to find that perfect mix of sleep and felt time.
"I don't agree with the scheduling," said Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott. "I got 19th in the $5k the other day and I played a hand so badly it was scary because I was so fatigued."
"They expect you to play upwards of twelve hours, well most of these events are won by younger players and they're more suited for the schedule," Ulliott went on to say.
Other players don't mind the practicality of the schedule, but want to see it amended for other reasons. "I don't want to sound elitist or disenfranchise anyone, but I think they should have fewer events and a $2.5k minimum buy-in," said Black Belt Poker pro Neil Channing.
"Lowering the buy in to some of these events hasn't added that many players and it's taken a chunk out of the prize pool," said Channing. "I think these $1k events have the greatest value, but no one will remember who wins them."
While you can't please everyone, the WSOP management tries its hardest to do so. "Believe it or not, the schedule is a combination of art and science," said WSOP Communications Director Seth Palansky. "We get input from our players' advisory council on putting certain events in certain places."
Palansky told PokerListings that the perfect schedule would have no overlapping tournaments, but he said it's just not practical to spread out 57 tournaments over the entire year. "The reality is that it's a pretty darn well constructed schedule and we put it together without ever knowing one key thing-how many players will show up."