Each player comes here with hope. “It’s going to be me.” If Chris Moneymaker – or Greg Raymer or Joe Hachem – could do it, so can they. They’ve practiced, played in home games or a casino, read books, watched videos, and studied hold’em tournaments on television. Some have been coached, subscribed to educational websites, and attended poker academies. But the common theme is that they all believe that they can withstand the bad beats, suck out when necessary, and brilliantly make the right decision in every situation.
Players enter the main event in a variety of ways. With some amount of wealth, it is easy to buy-in for the full $10,000. Others dip into their savings accounts to fulfill the dream of playing in the World Series of Poker main event. Some win seats via a plethora of online poker qualifiers. Still others gather one or more backers or sell pieces of themselves to friends in order to accumulate the necessary funds. But no matter the way in which it was accomplished, each and every one is confident that they will accomplish several things in order: make it to Day 2, make the money, make the final table, and win.
If they didn’t believe that, they wouldn’t be here.
That is why it is so difficult to watch as players are eliminated in the first five, ten, or fifteen minutes of play. Sure, it is the nature of the game, and every player has some sense of that reality in the back of their minds, but they never believe it will be them. Dreams are crushed, and hearts are broken. Sometimes, even finances are demolished and relationships torn. The singular amount of $10,000 in play at the World Series is a powerful one that has the ability to either have beautiful or disastrous effects.
Everyone’s $10K story is a unique one that can typically be summed up in the phrase uttered by the person – either on the phone or in person to whomever accompanied them to the Rio – who leaves the Amazon Room empty handed.
- “I’m sorry.”
- “I never thought that would happen to me.”
- “I’ll win it back, I promise.”
- “No big deal.”
- “On to the next tournament…”
Some of the more interesting phrases heard in the past day:
- “Why are you pissed? I’m the one who just got knocked out!”
- “I don’t know what happened, but I was short-stacked and pushed it all-in with J-10.”
- “I’m pretty sure I won’t have a backer after this.”
The vast majority of the players at the World Series leave the building crushed. But the reason that they continue to come is to be one of the small percentage of the players to cash and, more importantly, be the one who wins big. The dream is alive in all of them when they arrive, and that’s what makes the WSOP thrive. Every one of the four Day 1 flights is filled with dreamers, some of whom will be able to turn those dreams into reality and change their lives with the results.
Day 1B was no different in its nature. The faces were new, but their stories are more similar than they would all like to think. On to Day 1C…