This is the World’s view of poker according to what you witness weekly on The World Poker Tour and The World Series of Poker. Do not give up your job or change your lifestyle to jump into the action…not yet anyway. There is a lot more to the game than what you are seeing in that brief hour.
But how did poker grow to such monumental heights? While the Internet was the perfect medium for the world to become involved in poker, the mini-cam and The World Poker Tour was the catalyst for poker’s giant leap into mainstream television.
The beauty of a game of poker, anyone and everyone can claim a seat…all it takes is a ‘chip and a chair.’ There are no social boundaries and everyone is welcome to come and go any time of day. It is an incredible tapestry of mankind coming together to battle for control of all the checkers, the chips, the cash, the title and trophy of beating everyone else. Taking a seat is like signing a waiver:
- You understand that you are entering a competition.
- You know that you are obligated to certain rules established by the casino you are playing in.
- You understand there are rules of etiquette that are unwritten but are important to the fair play of the game.
- You are aware everyone wants to win and it is perfectly acceptable for everyone to play any hand to the River…even if it beats you.
- For you to win, someone must lose…it works both ways.
- Lying, Stealing, and taking someone’s last dollar is perfectly acceptable, cheating is not.
- Berating a player, the dealer, throwing things, and swearing are unacceptable behavior.
- Having fun is better than OK! Poker should always be fun.
How do I fit into the tapestry? I am one of ‘them thar TV dealers’. I dealt the World Poker Tour/Ultimate Bet event in Aruba in October in 2003 and in 2005.
I deal poker for a living in Las Vegas. I play poker competitively but not for a living. I watch the best and worst players in the world compete across the Green Felt. The Green Felt is my home, my connection to the melting pot of the world. I have the best seat in the house. I deal/watch all the limits, all the games, all the ‘name brand’ players, and all the new kids that come in to try their skills and establish their place in the poker world. I have witnessed, and am part of, the poker explosion. My view of poker is from a dealer/player point of view.
But let us skip back to that one-hour time slot on Television; the one where legends are made from ordinary people that sat next to you yesterday in a low limit poker game. How did they get there?
I frequently hear confused questions, while dealing, about Tournaments. “Well…The World Series of Poker is now The World Poker Tour.”
My reply. “No, The World Series of Poker is still the same tournament, hosted in April at Binion’s Horseshoe.”
“Well…now they’re The World Poker Tour, right?”
I try again, “No. They are two different tournaments.”
The concept of a major tournament that runs for two to three weeks is beyond most new player’s realm of poker knowledge.
Many casinos, throughout the world, host major tournaments. Each day brings a new contest. The menu of tournaments may include, Pot Limit Omaha, Limit Holdem, 7 Card Stud, Razz, Omaha 8 or Better, 7 Stud 8 or Better, No Limit Holdem, Deuce to 7 Triple Draw, and more, each with a different buy-in. These events are played down, daily, until there is one winner.
Satellite tournaments are started each day for the next day’s event. Satellites? They are a smaller buy-in tournament, usually single table, with the winner’s prize being a seat in the main tournament/event.
The final event of all major tournaments is normally a No Limit Holdem, with a large buy-in of $5,000 or higher. This particular event is played down over three to four days, as a general standard, and the final day is now filmed as a World Poker Tour event. The winner of this event wins the biggest share of the prize pool and a $25,000 seat into The World Poker Tour’s yearly championship event that is held at Bellagio in April.
The World Series of Poker began in 1970 at the Horseshoe in Las Vegas. It grew to monumental proportions over the years. It is a major tournament with new events each day and the final event is a No Limit Holdem, $10,000 Buy-in event.
The World Series of Poker and The World Poker Tour are two completely different tournament platforms.
Tournaments, satellites, live games, you, the player that sat next to you in a low limit poker game yesterday – they are all part of the tapestry.
What a picture! See you there!