If you’re a huge World Series of Poker fan like myself, then you too are probably addicted to the television episodes of the World Series of Poker on ESPN. The WSOP has boomed in the last five years because of ESPN’s coverage of the Las Vegas Event. The Event’s location varies each year and this year it was at the Rio Grand Casino in Vegas.

The buy in amount to play at the World Series of poker has been $10,000 each of the last five years and it doesn’t look like the WSOP event is likely to increase the buy in amount any time soon.

Each of the last five years the amount of players in the tournament has skyrocketed. Last year in 2005 there were 5,000 people playing and in 2006 there were 8,000 plus people who entered the tournament. There were so many people that the players had to wait in line until people were knocked out because there wasn’t enough room in the casino to accommodate all of the players. Five years ago there were only around 1,000 people entered in the tournament. Each year the players have increased and my prediction for next year is that there will be 10,000 people entered in the tournament.

Part of the reason why they have not increased the buy in amount is because of the great attraction that any person can win. Several years ago the professional poker players dominated the WSOP by legends Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, Dan Harrington and Phil Helmuth. Each of those men have won WSOP bracelets. However as the amount of players increase each year, more and more professional poker players are getting out. The amazing thing about it is that if you watch the WSOP carefully, you will notice that most good poker players get out of the tournament by their opponents getting very lucky against them. Usually this will be in the form of an all in during which the novice player catches a miracle straight or flush instead of simply outplaying the other professional player.

This past year in the 2006 WSOP, there was only 1 professional player to make a deep run into the tournament. That player was Alan Cunningham, a cash game specialist and a grizzled veteran of poker who has been in several WSOP main event tournaments on the circuit. Cunningham advanced to the final table of 9 people before he eventually lost. For a while he had the second highest chip count in the tournament before he lost.

The winner of this year’s tournament was a player named Jamie Gold. For Gold, this was his second time in the WSOP main event tournament. Every time I watched him play, it made me sick to my stomach. I hate good players getting knocked out with the best hand and for most of the tournament Jamie Gold knocked opponent after opponent out of the tournament with sheer luck. Gold played a very loose and aggressive style and often called the pot with mediocre hands. In one hand he played with a 7, 8 off-suit, he called another player who went All-in with Ace, 3. Gold then proceeded to hit the flop after it came out 4, 5, 6 and Gold flopped the straight. In another hand Gold had King, six and hit trip sixes on the flop. Gold had an enormous chip lead throughout the tournament and never relinquished it and stood up to professional poker player Alan Cunningham at the final table.

Now granted, he had a ton of luck at the WSOP, but in order to beat 8,000 plus other people, you need skill too and Gold did indeed have a lot of that. Gold was mentored by the great Johnny Chan and throughout the tournament after Chan was knocked out, Gold went to Chan for advice and congratulations.

Each of the people in finished in the top 12 received at least 1 million dollars, a drastic change to the payout structures from years ago. When Dan Harrington won the WSOP, the first place prize was 1 million dollars. Now in the year 2006, Jamie Gold won 12 million dollars. In his interview with poker broadcasters Lon McCaren and Chad Norman, Gold said that he would give his earnings to his father who was dying of Lou Gherig’s disease.

About The Author

Erik Allaire is a master poker player who has won many professional poker events, wishes to represent his country at the world level.

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