07-29-06 - 2

Why am I not playing in the World Series of Poker this year? A lot of people are asking, so I thought I'd answer. Originally when I went pro I was planning on playing, but over time I changed my mind, because I decided it was pretty -EV. Here's why :

1. The structures really suck. You start with a number of chips equal to the dollar buy-in, and the blinds start at 25/50. This means $10,000 main event is good, but all the cheaper tournaments that are more in my price range are just short-stack crap-shoots. Also the blinds go up fast, and because it's live you only maybe get 10-20 hands per blind level, which is awful.

2. The vig is really high. Harrah's take 4-6% and you're expected to tip the dealers on top of that. Add to that travel expences, etc. and the cost of playing is way too high to possibly be +EV.

3. You probably won't get on TV unless you win a bracelet at a smaller event; the smaller events aren't televised anymore except for special moments involving pros or final tables. TV time has added value but the chance of getting it is very slim.

4. I kind of suck at live poker. I hardly ever play live so I don't have much experience with body language, controlling my own tells, table talk, all that stuff. I also get really bored because the action is so slow and it makes me zone out and lose focus. I can't maintain a state of high focus for 12 hours.

So, basically I decided the only event really worth playing was the main event, and I didn't want to put up $10k for that where my edge is not that great.

Only really great thing about the Main Event is there's tons of added value to winning, because of the publicity, endorsements, etc. you get. If there are 6000 players, the prize pool is $60M but there's almost $10M of added value to winning, so you get some bonus equity right off the bat for that. For someone like me who could turn a win into an announcer/author career, the extra equity could be even higher. Still, if I played every year for 50 years the chance of winning even once in that time is 1/50 or so.

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old rants