Las Vegas, NV (June 11, 2011) – “The Butterfly Effect” is a well-known term which seeks to explain the unbreakable bonds between all universal matter. The phrase was initially coined as a relatively simple way to illustrate a far more complex scientific concept.
The hypothetical question posed was, “Does a butterfly flapping its wings in Kansas eventually create a typhoon in the South Pacific?” Even a fragile butterfly has a measurable effect on air current by flapping its tiny wings. It follows then, that a storm cycle occurring many months later, thousands of miles away, is one of the many outlying by-products of the butterfly's initial action.
“The Butterfly Effect” applies to poker, too. Unfortunately, many fail to grasp its nuances. Even the most subtle actions can affect the ultimate outcome of a poker tournament. Consider for a moment that any motion whatsoever -- a laugh, a sneeze, a smile, a wave, or even the most ordinary of common distractions – can and often will cause a poker dealer to shuffle a deck of cards in a slightly different way. Just one card out of place at any time, by consequence, changes the entire sequence of cards which follow the remainder of the tournament.
Note: If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with the most recent tournament held at the World Series of Poker, we’ll get to that in a moment.
Since actions at one table are very likely seen and heard by players at adjoining tables, increasingly larger numbers of people are affected by the initial motion. Then, secondary tables feel the aftereffects of what happened. Moments later, the next outlying group of tables and players facilitate an unbreakable line of countless corollaries which in a sense not only change the outcome of what happens in poker, but impacts the world.
Sure, poker is a game of skill. But it's also quite possible that an innocuous chuckle by the hypothetical player on Day One sitting in Seat 6 at Table 278 Blue at the 2011 World Series of Poker influenced the outcome of the biggest poker tournament in history. In a sense, every single champion’s victory is a combination of billions upon billions of figurative butterfly wings flapping since the beginning of time, combined with the skill, talent, and dare it be said luck, to overcome randomness.
Four days ago, he was in Brazil at the end of a long vacation. That's right -- Brazil. As in South America. Following a two-month stay, Rast flew back to the U.S. where he landed in Las Vegas on the morning of Thursday, June 9th. He arrived home on a red-eye flight and was dragging his bags down the hallway of his high-rise condo, when he ran into neighbor, friend, and as it turned out guardian angel who flapped his own proverbial wings making a typhoon out of what would have been an innocuous initial act.
The guardian angel and inspiration was Antonio Esfandiari.
Rast and Esfandiari got to talking that morning. When Esfandiari found out Rast had no intention of playing in the upcoming $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Hold’em Championship, to be held later that day, he made his friend an offer he could not refuse. Esfandiari agreed to bankroll Rast and put him in the tournament. And so, off to the Rio Rast went.
Three days later, Rast was awarded his very first WSOP gold bracelet and $227,232,
As Rast was busy posing for photographers in front of a massive pile of chips and was being interviewed by the press moment following his victory, several poker players who were involved in other poker tournaments across the room glanced over at the newest WSOP champion. Dozens of conversations ensued. Shuffles were altered. And all of poker history changed forever.
For a list of all players who cashed, in Event #15, please click here. A complete report of this event will be posted shortly to WSOP.com.