I assume I may have pre-written this column. Just hours earlier than one of many now-three World Series of Poker primary occasion ultimate tables, a participant was disqualified for testing optimistic for COVID-19.
Whatever the precise likelihood is of somebody testing optimistic for a illness that’s been on the coronary heart of a lot distress and ache for the 12 months 2020, it felt to me like this was inevitable. Having individuals play in a event on-line after which fly to Las Vegas for the stay ultimate desk within the midst of a pandemic was inviting catastrophe.
In truth, I mentioned as a lot only a few weeks in the past. (Vol. 34 Issue 1: This Is Not The Main Event You’re Looking For)
“Offering a tournament like this where players will have to travel to play in it, during the worst days of the pandemic, is a cynical and irresponsible move by those in charge at the WSOP and, even though I live only a four-hour drive from Las Vegas and have a safe place to play, I will not be participating in this event. I just don’t feel comfortable supporting it.”
There has been loads of dialogue on the web about what ought to have been accomplished by the WSOP after somebody examined optimistic, together with many strategies that might not have been so harsh. But for the entire dialogue, everybody who performed within the event knew precisely what would occur in the event that they made the ultimate desk and subsequently contracted coronavirus. It was acknowledged proper in the tournament’s FAQ that “any player who tests positive for COVID-19 prior to the start of final table play will be disqualified and receive the minimum final table payout.”
Everyone who determined to play on this occasion was conscious of the dangers related to enjoying it and agreed to be disqualified in the event that they made the ultimate desk and examined optimistic. The participant who examined optimistic, Upeshka De Silva, acquired the ninth-place payout of $98,813.
De Silva was supposed to return into the ultimate desk with the eighth-most chips and is, due to this fact, not dropping a lot theoretical worth. However, the truth that it was De Silva who was disqualified is an attention-grabbing wrinkle. He is by far, probably the most profitable event participant of those that made the ultimate desk, with 5 occasions extra earnings than his opponents and three WSOP bracelets already to his title.
The actually unlucky factor about all this story, apart from Upeshka getting a illness that will have long-term results on his well being, is that I’m now greater than midway by way of this column and I nonetheless haven’t talked about the winner of the event, Joseph Hebert.
It’s typically mentioned that no person remembers the runner-up in main sports activities competitions. This is a state of affairs the place we’d not even be capable to recall the winner.
I actually hope that we keep in mind Hebert’s accomplishment, however when you think about that Hebert loses to Damian Salas, the person who received the worldwide model of this hybrid occasion, will we keep in mind Hebert, or the truth that De Silva was disqualified?
If Salas loses, will we keep in mind his win, or Peiyuan Sun, the Chinese poker participant who opted to not journey to the Czech Republic for the worldwide primary occasion ultimate desk? What about Stoyan Madanzhiev, who received $3.9 million within the first WSOP primary occasion of 2020, held this summer season on-line?
(In truth, since Salas’ entry into the US has been delayed and the heads-up match will now be performed in January, will we even contemplate the winner a 2020 champion?)
The unhappy truth is that there’s a terrific story in every one in every of these those who made the ultimate desk, because the individuals who produce the WSOP broadcasts so typically show. The finest story this 12 months is perhaps Gershon Distenfeld, who had simply $10,375 in event earnings going into the ultimate desk however nonetheless pledged to donate all of his internet winnings from his $125,885 eighth-place end to charity. I hope that his story, and the entire attention-grabbing tales from the event, don’t get overshadowed by the coronavirus disqualification, however I’ve my doubts.
With a transparent thoughts, and pure understanding of what they have been stepping into, every of the 705 entrants to the US primary occasion and 674 entrants to the worldwide primary occasion put up their $10,000 buy-in and agreed to the phrases and circumstances surrounding this most uncommon of primary occasions. Now that the seemingly inevitable has come to fruition, there may be nothing to do however settle for the implications therein.
I hope it results in some introspection on the components of poker gamers as regards to how a lot energy they maintain within the poker world. And though I believe it’s much less seemingly, maybe some introspection on the a part of these operators that proceed to place revenue over the considerations of the gamers.
So, whereas it’s nonetheless contemporary in our minds. Please be part of me in wishing congratulations to Joseph Hebert, Damian Salas, and Stoyan Madanzhiev, the joint-winners of the 2020 WSOP primary occasion.
Gavin Griffin was the primary poker participant to win the Triple Crown, capturing a World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour title, and has amassed greater than $5 million in lifetime event winnings. You can follow him on Twitter @NHGG