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Table Talk: WSOP Ends With Nine

WSOP Main Event November Nine

The November 9

Someone pass the bottle of rum. After reading all of the social media messages about poker players going bust, having horrible summers, and questioning their love of the game, I’m going to need more than one drink.

It’s that time of year when players flock to McCarran airport in Las Vegas to escape SinCity and leave the summer of the World Series of Poker behind. A few of us remain, but even poker players who live in Las Vegas tend to leave after the WSOP for a vacation or getaway of some kind. The 2013 WSOP is over, except for nine players, who are among the very few who are happy with their results.

As the odds have it, the majority of players who competed in the WSOP this summer left without the results they hoped for. Since it is the nature of most players to settle for nothing but the win, they leave with disappointment. The tweets have been quite depressing, with many players questioning their futures in poker and if they want to continue playing. Some say they hate the game, and others are looking at their career options.

There are always those who feel that no matter how much success they may have had, it wasn’t enough. A second place finish in a tournament with a large field might have paid $200k or more, but they missed the victory and the bracelet. Cue the depression. Two or three final tables may have given the bankroll a boost, but they didn’t win. Cue the sadness. Even a player who won a bracelet may bemoan the fact that they couldn’t win more or didn’t get the recognition they felt they deserved. Cue the trombones.

Those players are in the majority, of course. But the WSOP depression is widespread. And it’s tough for their fans and friends to handle. We never know what to say to those tweets and messages. “Keep your head up!” we say. “You have the talent,” we tell them. “You’ll be okay,” we tell them with an upbeat tone. There’s not much else that we can do.

Poker players leaving the WSOP without their goals achieved must go through the next few weeks or months alone. They can talk to other players, but they will have to sort through their own feelings, assess their own play, and decide if one series of poker tournaments will decide their futures. While depleted bankrolls may be another story entirely, there’s nothing that most of us can do to help.

Meanwhile, there are some who do their best to maintain positive attitudes. Katie Dozier tweeted, “Leaving Vegas with so many great memories and a renewed appreciation for being able to play 150 tournaments in a day online in Mexico!” Daniel Negreanu always tries to stay positive, as he demonstrated with this tweet: “Had so much fun this WSOP looking forward to getting back to playing in the fall. Have a shot to finish strong and accomplish special things.” Even some who were disappointed in their performances stayed positive during the WSOP, like David Baker, and tweeted this: “Devastating end to a devastating summer. Thank everyone for support throughout; I’ll be back.”

Then there are the players who came to the WSOP for an experience of playing, possibly cashed in the one event they played, and left feeling accomplished. Those may be the happiest of them all, with the exception of the November Nine, of course.

It would behoove regular players to reread their social media messages from this time of year before they come racing to the Rio in Las Vegas next year with the most unreasonable of expectations. It’s good to have goals, but there needs to be some logic applied to their true chances. If they didn’t come to the WSOP with visions of bracelets dancing in their heads, they might not leave with such crushed dreams.

To those who were able to keep some perspective and maintain some level of sportsmanship, kudos to you! I do realize that it was a tough summer for most of you, and the grind itself is exhausting.

Now, if you’ll just join me at the bar, we’ll toast to successes and what the future may hold. The WSOP is a big deal, but there is an entire world of poker out there waiting for you.

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