Covering the prelim events of the WSOP can be a real grind for the poker media. The days blur into each other, and most days you wake up and look at the schedule and say ‘what have we got today?’. $2k donkament at noon. Check. $1,500 Stud at 5pm. Check. That day comes and goes and you wake up and do the same thing the next day.
One event that sometimes at least put a little smile on the media’s face was the $1k No Limit Hold Em with rebuys. If nothing else, the early part of the day was going to be entertaining, in that the atmosphere was often really light, and you had a running storyline to add to the mix – who will take the most rebuys today? Also, the jovial mood of a lot of the players often gave us a lot of ‘color’ fodder for reporting that can very often be hand after hand after hand drudgery.
Over the ‘off season’ the powers that be at the WSOP decided to remove all rebuy events from the WSOP. They did this with the consultation of the Players Advisory Council. Initially, I spoke to a few players about it, and was surprised at the lack of reaction. Most of the players who I asked just sort of shrugged their shoulders. I think Michael Gracz, who won his bracelet in a rebuy event, sort of summed up the responses I was getting “I, like others, don't really feel too strongly one way or the other about [rebuy events] being taken out of the schedule.” Gratz noted.
Then I ran across some online players, started talking to them about it, and I got a very different response. With rebuy events being such a huge staple of the online poker world, after I thought about it, it made sense that they would feel more strongly. “I'm against the removal of the rebuys” WSOP bracelet winner and online poker legend Phil Galfond told me. “In general, I love the rebuy events, as does every poker player I know. The big guys are happy because they get to try and throw a lot of money into the event to build a big stack, and the small guys are happy because they get a great ROI since the big guys are spewing [chips]. Everyone is happy because stacks are deep for most of day one.” So, maybe we’ve stumbled into one of those issues where the players known primarily as online players feel vastly differently than those known mostly as live players.
The more complete merging of online poker and the WSOP is inevitable. It seems to this reporter to be just a matter of time. The Players Advisory Council was a great idea when it was formed, and to this day seems to serve a really good function with respect to involving players in the decision making processes in and around the WSOP. But, with ‘online pros’ making up such a large contingent of the players at the WSOP these days, maybe the time has come to include one or two key ‘online players’ to represent this community on the PAC. Just a thought.
Rebuy Notes: Some interesting facts about rebuy events – bear with me whilst I become your poor man’s BJ Nemeth. Since the WSOP moved to the Rio, there have been 11 rebuy events held (I’m ignoring the $5k deuce to Seven with rebuys events, as those really aren’t open field events as very few players are bankrolled and interested in the game enough to play them). You would think this would be a format owned by internet poker jockeys, but check out the names that have won seven of the eleven events played. Phil Hellmuth, Allen Cunningham, Phil Galfond, Layne Flack, Josh Arieh, Mike Gracz, and Danny Alaei.