Why Have Pros Risen to Dominate the WSOP

Posted by James Guill on Jun 22, 2011 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

If you look at the winners from most of the events from the 2011 WSOP, you will notice that many of them are pros.  They may not be pros you have ever heard of, but many are true professional poker players.  Geffrey Klein and Foster Hays are the only two true amateur players to win a bracelet this year through 24 events.  This is a stark difference compared to even just a couple of years ago.  Here are a few reasons why I believe that pros have begun to dominate again.

Online Poker Has Created More Pros

Online poker is easily the #1 reason that pros have begun to dominate. The ability to play at poker sites from home has allowed many players to move up the ranks and eventually make their livelyhood from the game.  As such, there are many more people that consider themselves true professional players than there were at the start of the poker boom.  More pros naturally means a better chance one will win.

Better Training

Face it, the game is getting tougher all the time, and one big reason is due to all of the training sites out there.  In the beginning, you just had places like the WSOP Academy and the WSOP boot camps that players could attend.  Then you had sites such as Deepstacks Live University, Poker VT, Cardrunners, BlueFire Poker, and Deuces Cracked that took it a step further and provided online and individualized training.  With so much knowledge out there from poker’s elite, the poker world as a whole is going to get better, and the pros that much better still.

Pros Are Focusing on Mixed and Small Field Events

You may not have noticed, but many non-Hold’em Events and short field events such as the $5k Events are virtual all-star fields.  Many true amateur players are shying away from having to battle such a stiff field in order to win a bracelet.  The $1,000 and $1,500 Events are always going to have a degree of softness to them, and many amateurs are focusing there.

Pros Complaining Less and Taking More Shots at Soft Fields

However, the pros are beginning to complain less about the “crapshoot” aspect of the large field NL Hold’em Events and are taking more shots at them.  There have been years where some pros have openly stated that there is too much luck involved in the $1,500 and $1,000 NL Events and skipped them.  I haven’t heard that as much.  Some call them “$1k Lottos” but that is usually while they are trying to navigate through them.  Scott Montgomery took down his first bracelet last year in one of these events.  Jon Turner fell just shy of doing the same this year.

Back around 2006, there were many in the media that wondered if pros would ever come back out on top overall at the WSOP.  I personally was playing semi-professionally at the time and saw the shift starting.  I said then that it would not be long before the pros would come back on top.  2008 turned out to be the “Year of the Pro” when the pros started taking the majority of the bracelets.  Now, they are firmly back in charge of the WSOP.  While it is still true that “Anyone Can Win,” it has clearly become much more difficult for amateurs to win a WSOP bracelet.

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