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This Is The Main Event

by Gavin Griffin |  Published: Aug 17, 2016

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Gavin GriffinI’m out of the World Series of Poker Main Event. It’s been three days, I’m now probably far away enough from my bustout hand to write this without getting sad, but it still hurts and I’ll definitely be thinking about it for a while. In my next column, I’ll go over some hands from the tournament but for now, let me just say that I had a great time in this tournament this year.

It’s not often that I say that about a no-limit tournament, but it really was a bunch of fun. I had entertaining people at my tables throughout the tournament and I found myself enjoying the tournament itself and the people around me, a rarity these days. People were willing to engage and have fun and that was refreshing. I took my own advice and left my headphones off for most of my time at the tables and it really helped.

In three and a half days of play, I only really had one unpleasant person at my tables. On day three there was a man at my table who was harassing the dealers and other players. He would take 20 seconds to check and re-check his cards when someone showed him a hand that was clearly better than his and he made constantly told the player to his right to “Speak English” even though he was already doing so, albeit with a thick accent. He was terrible to be around, but almost everyone at the table stuck up for the dealers and the player on his right and that was nice to see.

This was the first time that I have cashed in the main event in my twelfth try, and I really feel like I learned so much. First of all, I was struck by the feel in the room when the bubble broke and we were in the money. I usually groan when people clap and cheer at making the money, but my Scrooge tendencies fell by the wayside for this tournament.

I also learned that it really is the best structured tournament in the world. I knew that before this year, but I actually got to experience it first-hand. I would have a bad level and realize that I still had 150 big blinds to play with or play poorly for 30 minutes and see that I still had 90 minutes of this level left to get it back together. I heard people saying that they felt like they were short stacked when they had 80 big blinds in their stack and I didn’t discourage them from feeling urgency because that could only be to my benefit.

There were a few things that I would have changed if I were running the tournament. First of all, I would put more small chips on the table early in the tournament. It felt like as soon as the second level started, we were making change almost every hand and even moreso when the antes kicked in. This could have been easily remedied by putting an extra stack or two of green and black chips in play at the beginning of the day, especially since they knew very few people would be busting on day 1, so the chips wouldn’t flow to other tables like you would expect in other tournaments. The scheduling got a bit crazy this year when we had to play an extra half of a level on each of day 2 and 3, making those days extra tiring and even more difficult for those players in the field that are a little older.

One of the causes of that odd schedule change was the size difference between the starting days. Less than 700 people played day 1A while almost 1,800 played day 1B and 4,200 played day 1C. Things would be much easier for their staff and more balanced for the players if they could figure out a way to balance these more. My suggestion is to offer triple rewards points to the people that play 1A and double to those that play 1B. It doesn’t cost them much in comps but it will make it much easier for their staff overall to make this work. I’m certain that the extra time they had to pay dealers, floor men, cashiers, and security was more than the amount they would have to pay to make these comp bonuses. It’s not a guaranteed fix, but it would definitely encourage some people to play 1A or B over 1C.

I wish that I could be writing this article in advance of my upcoming appearance in the November, or as the case is this year, October, Nine but, alas, my time in the tournament has come to an end. I’m fully looking forward to next year’s WSOP, especially the main event. Not only that, I’m actually looking forward to other no-limit tournaments coming up this year. An impressive feat that has been pulled off. See you at the Bike in August! ♠

Gavin Griffin was the first poker player to capture a World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour title and has amassed nearly $5 million in lifetime tournament winnings. Griffin is sponsored by HeroPoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NHGG