The WSOPE Main Event and the Team PokerStars Shake-Up
October 6, 2021

After getting back from the World Series in July I suffered a pretty nice case of poker burnout.  I went to a couple of local tournaments and would find myself a level or two into play and not wanting to so much as look at a chip.  I needed a break from live poker and took one.

Of course, I've got the itch again.  Perhaps that can be credited to the start of the football season, which has resurrected my appetite for gambling (by the way, I'm 20-9 with the NFL through week 3 /brag).  Either way, I had the opportunity to sign up for a local heads-up tournament.  It's set to take place tonight and it can't come soon enough.  It's a crowd I've played with a few times in the past, always with some success.  It's mostly older guys who drink a lot and won't open with anything worse than jacks.  Mixed in are a few guys in their mid to late twenties who play a bit more aggressively and understand the value of position.  I'm curious to see how they adapt to heads-up play.  Recreational players - guys who play tournaments in garages every couple of weeks - don't have a lot of experience in heads-up play.  Mind you, what's likely to happen is that I'll get there and find out that those players weren't interested in playing a heads-up tournament and that it'll be filled with other people who were looking to exploit the inexperience of the regulars.  Either way, I'll let you know how it worked out next week.

Anyone who pays attention to the tournament circuit knows that the poker world moved to London, England for the last month.  With stops from the WPT and EPT as well as the WSOPE, there was a ton of money to be won, and a lot of players were looking to grab it.  For a while it looked as though the WSOPE Main Event was going to have one of the most exciting final tables in recent memory.  Viktor Blom and Phil Ivey were amongst the event's chip leaders for much of the tournament, but they both exited before the final table was set. That's not to say that it won't be exciting television (the five-hour delay streamed by ESPN was great), but it could have been huge had Ivey once again made a final table with Isildur1 right there with him.

Liv Boeree was the source of one of the month's other big stories after leaving the Ultimate Bet team and signing on with PokerStars as a Team Pro.  There's been a lot of shuffling in the PokerStars roster as of late.  Gavin Griffin and Hevad Khan recently had their contracts expire without renewal while David Williams joined the team this summer.  Boeree might not have as strong a resume as some of her peers, but it would be hard to argue that it was a poor business decision for either party.  Boeree gets to shed the Ultimate Bet patches she had to wear in her previous sponsorship agreement, along with any of the negative publicity that comes with it.  Meanwhile, PokerStars gets a young, attractive, English-speaking pro to add to the roster. Now all Boeree has to do is chalk up some wins so she can get that contract renewed when the time comes.




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