THESMALLSTAKES
BY BENCONOLEY
World Series of Poker Pre-Game
May 27, 2022

The World Series of Poker; for players of the game, it’s the Big Show, and it’s where we all want to play, run good, and hope that that boom switch stays on.  For those of us with bankrolls that provide enough to buy into a few events, it’s the best time of year to make one’s mark on the poker scene.

So what about the rest of us?  Only a portion of the Series’ 55 events make it into ESPN’s televised coverage.  Even then, coverage doesn’t begin until well after the Series is over.  So what’s there to get excited about if you’re not playing?  The answer is…plenty.  Over the past few years, diehard fans have been able to watch some final tables live online, albeit without seeing hole cards.  For fans of the game, it was great.  However, to the best of my knowledge there aren’t any plans to stream live final tables this year.  PokerRoad is obviously a great place to get an idea of what life at the WSOP is like.  We’ll have plenty of podcasts, videos and blogs.  There are also a lot of great sources that allow fans to track tournament progress as the events unfold. I’ll be doing so for PokerNews, and suggest that’s a great place to compliment your PokerRoad experience with live coverage.

This morning I find myself sitting in an airplane (currently 30,000 feet over Chicago) on my virgin trip to Vegas and, of course, to the WSOP.  And you know something, I didn’t ever think I’d be as excited as I am to be heading to Vegas during the WSOP without any hope of playing in an event.  Sure, I’ll have a chance to play some cash games and some cheaper tournaments, but even without playing in the WSOP, I’m perfectly excited to have the chance to just take it all in.

Of course, fans of any sport are thrilled to attend their game’s championships, and why should poker be any different?  Ok, poker is a little different because anyone can sign up and play.  I came to realize a few years ago that I’m never going to catch a ball thrown by Tom Brady.  That’s cool, I’ll get over it in due course.  But in many ways the WSOP isn’t much different than any other sport’s elite events.  Poker’s best are going to be in town for the next seven weeks competing for coveted WSOP bracelets.  With a lot of skill and a little luck, one player will win the Player of the Year title, an unknown will probably win the Main Event, and someone will score a bracelet in the leadoff $50,000 8-game Players’ Championship.  Along the way a few players will win a number of bracelets, people will talk about a ridiculous prop bet involving Phil Ivey, and there will be a lot of talk about the best player not to have won a bracelet.  In short, the next seven weeks will provide many of poker’s headlines through the rest of the year.

Playing or not, how can you not be excited?

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