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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP Journal

World Series of Holdem

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No longer should the word “poker” be used in the title World Series of Poker. Harrah’s Entertainment has taken all of the “poker” games out of the World Series and instead, changed it to a series of Holdem games. Now don’t get me wrong - I like Holdem just as much as the next player. However, there used to be a time when poker players could go to the World Series and match their skills against the rest of the world in any game they wanted. Unfortunately, those days are gone and unless you want to play Holdem, you might as well stay home.

As recently as 2003, the number of mixed games (stud, Omaha, triple draw, razz, etc.) was about equal to the number of Holdem games (limit, no limit, pot limit). Now, in the 2006 version, 75% of all of the events are some sort of Holdem event. I understand Holdem games are the most popular events due to the game being televised, but do we really need eight different $1500 buy-in No Limit Holdem events. Are three different short-handed No Limit Holdem events really necessary? If you go back even further, the mixed games out numbered the Holdem events. In ‘02 for example, there were twelve different events in between No Limit events at one point.

All of the classic mixed game events (H.O.R.S.E. or S.H.O.E.) have been removed from the schedule. Those events always attracted the who’s who of poker because the player has to be skilled in a variety of games, instead of specializing in one event. I, for one, have always thought that a mixed game event should crown the world champion. After all, you are being crowned “the” champion of “poker”, not the champion of “Holdem”.

Among high limit players, the most popular game in recent years has been Deuce to 7 Triple Draw (a 21st century version of the old five card draw game, where the player draws three times, and tries to make the worst hand (2-3-4-5-7), but that too has been left out of the mix. There are a total of 46 events at next year’s World Series. Is it too impossible for the tournament directors to mix in some of the classic games? Even some or the more popular games are barely on the schedule. For example: Seven Card Stud is only on the schedule twice; Omaha 8 or Better, another popular game, only appears three times. A poker player can walk into any card room, sit right down, and play these games. Why not feature more of them at the World Series?

Almost every tournament around the country has gone to hosting strictly No Limit Holdem events. I understand the business side of it all - these events attract the largest fields and generate the most amount of profit for the casinos. But is it really good for poker?

The World Series of Poker used to be something that the poker community could look forward to every year. More and more though, it is becoming just another big tournament, stretched out over a longer period of time, with the same venue, day after day.

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