Poker’s premiere summer camp experience is steamrolling to the finish line and World Series of Poker organizers are hoping for a Main Event grand finale for the ages. With a $10,000,000 guaranteed first place payout, you can be sure that the drama will be cranked all the way up as players fight through 10 days of non-stop flops, turns and rivers to determine who will sit just behind Jamie Gold in terms of Main Event paychecks.
While there will be hundreds of public and private storylines created, there’s a few archetypes that have emerged since 2003 as tried and true characters in poker’s Main Stage play. Now it’s just a matter of who will step into those roles. Starting tomorrow the WSOP and ESPN are casting for…
“The Premiere Professional”
Ivey. Grinder. J.C. It seems that in recent years a bone fide name brand professional with credentials to boot has risen to the top of the Main Event mayhem to be the guy that ESPN can forge an entire campaign around. Maybe he’s been there before, like Carlos Mortensen on the bubble last year or maybe he’s a longtime grinder like Allen Cunningham. Maybe this year, it will be a she, like Vanessa Selbst. Who is ready to be the big name pro to play their way into the top 18 this year? Siever? Seidel? Bonomo? We can’t wait to find out.
“The B-list pro”
OK, this pro is known, like, just an “ok” amount though. Not a name with a lot of sizzle behind it, but they have a sizable backstory to help bring some hype to the coverage when the names become largely unrecognizable. Examples of this would be Lee Watkinson or Mark Newhouse. It’s the pro who has made just enough of a name for themselves to be listed in a PokerNews chip count, but not (yet) enough to have garnered a major title (although Newhouse had won a WPT, he still fits the part).
“The Old Guy”
Some guys just haven’t heard that poker is a young person’s game and it seems like each year we have one of those pesky fogeys creep their way into the top of the chip counts. Of course, we say this with love as we’re all going to be old at some point and besides, just take one look at the Seniors Event and you’ll know that oldies are a huge part of the poker market. Steve Gee, “Bob” Bounahra, Steven Begleiter or even Raymond Rahme come to mind when we’re talking about respecting your elders when it comes to the Main Event.
“The Redemption Story”
Who has a hard luck story to tell in the midst of this tournament? We’re looking for you. Either a tale of overcoming hardship or a battle with inner-demons, everyone loves a great comeback. A strong personality or phenomenal story is needed to fill this role and some of our most memorable final tablists have fit this category. Chino Rheem and eventual champ Greg Merson have provided these tales in recent years, and in Merson’s case, it led to one of the more inspiring storylines of any final table in memory.
Yep, it’s sexist to some degree – especially in a year when Vanessa Selbst made history by winning her 3rd open event bracelet – but with ladies likely to be about 5% of the field in the Main Event the “Last Woman Standing” is going to have a spotlight put on them. If history holds true, there’s some extra benefits to earning this role. Jackie Glazier, Maria Ho, Tiffany Michelle, Gaelle Baumann, Leo Margets...hell Annie Duke...good things have traditionally come to the holder of this title and with there being a concerted effort to get more of the smarter sex involved in the game, there’s a good chance 2014 will bear the same for whoever earns it.
The role that started it all. Moneymaker. Just a guy, like you and me, who came to Las Vegas with a dream and a ticket to the Main in his pocket. Maybe he’s a guy from the woods like Darvin Moon, or a trucker like Dennis Phillips but whoever he is, he should come from a humble background and probably have a beard. Or a name like Moneymaker. Is there a dude out there with the last name Cashmachine? Let’s let him win, ok everyone?
Finally, the most important role…
“Internet Kid Who Nobody Knows, Yet “Everybody” Knows He’s An Online Sicko”
This is probably the most important role of all as, pretty much, the last 5 of the last 6 Main Event Champs have come from this pool of personas. Eastgate, Cada, Duhamel, Heinz and Merson all had deep-seeded online roots and those that knew of them, knew they were more than capable of winning it all. But it’s not just Champions that fill this role, the bulk of the players at final tables as of late have been littered with these young guns. While these aren’t necessarily the most popular of picks to win the Main Event, they are the most realistic.
So, if you would like to take your shot at being in the World Series of Poker’s production of “The Final Table” bring your headshot, resume and $10,000 to the Rio in Las Vegas starting this Saturday for your 10 day audition.