I sat down with one of the big players last night and had a chat about poker in general and also about what it was like back in the days when he started out. The player was Thor Hansen and he has been a big-time player since the mid-Eighties. Back then, he hung out with Stu Ungar and played in the biggest cash games in town, including some with Hustler Magazine founder Larry Flynt. While we spoke, a tournament official happened to walk by and say hello. Hansen immediately asked if it was true that they were planning to put a cap on the main event, allowing only 6,600 players a chance to win the coveted prize. This official wouldn't commit but said that it wasn't completely unlikely. Hansen actually became upset and said: 'Please, don't do it, don't put a cap on it!'
I agree with Thor Hansen. I think that capping this event could have a very negative impact on poker. The main event at the WSOP is poker's biggest and most effective 'ambassador' to the rest of the world and a definite power behind the ever-expanding number of participants. The huge number of players who are willing to put down $10,000 to play in a poker tournament is truly amazing, and is also a great and accurate indicator of poker's rising popularity and cultural influence. Putting a cap on the main event will take away from future publicity, rob some players of the opportunity to make history, and is, quite frankly, very un-pokeresque! One of the greatest things about poker is the fact that every player has the opportunity to play in the biggest and most prestigious event. In addition, I think that Benny Binion, founder of the World Series of Poker, would roll over in his grave if he heard they were considering a cap.
I say keep the tournament open for all players and keep the buy-in at $10,000: the more players, the better. And, anyways, if Las Vegas can't host it, then who can?