There’s something I’ve been wondering about lately, with regards to the major poker tournaments. Before I mention it, I guess I should clarify that my interest is purely philosophical, since I’m about as likely to enter one of these tournaments anytime soon as I am to empty my bank account to play heads-up against Phil Ivey.

But anyway, as I’m sure many of you know, the first World Series of Poker, way back in 1970, featured an entry fee of $10,000. And in most of the articles written about the history of the event, there’s some comment that mentions how amazing it is that slothoki after so many years the entry fee is still that same $10,000, though considerably less when compared to $10K in 1970 dollars.

So what I want to know is: why?

I’m not even really talking about the World Series, since there’s a huge amount of history and tradition there, and it obviously seems to be working for them.

It’s just that when you see reports about the major tournament at the Taj Mahal, Bellagio, Foxwoods, et al, the final event is inevitably No-Limit Hold `Em with a $10,000 buy-in. Tourney after tourney is the same thing, so that this now appears to be the default fee for the foreseeable future.

I wanted to know if any tournament ever tried a bigger entry fee for a major tournament, say $25,000? Is there some reason why $10K is considered the absolute upper barrier, or is this just stagnant tradition left over from 1970? Any thoughts on the subject?

Bad Beat or Bad Play?

Ever wonder if your AK unsuited should have lost to that pair of 7’s?

Everyone has a million bad beat stories, but how bad are those bad beats really?

I stumbled across a website that gives you the odds on command (Hat Tip: A Poker Odyssey).

You can plug in your hand, their hand, and even cards on the board. It’s a fascinating way to find out whether you should have really played that hand.

And if you’re wondering, the 7’s beat that AK unsuited about 54% of the time.

Television Explosion Part 2

As James mentioned in the comments to Television Explosion Part 1, Fox Sports Net is in the poker game.

Tomorrow, they air the most ambitious televised poker event of all-time. While most of the poker we see on TV is played weeks, sometimes months in advance, the Showdown at the Sands will be televised less than 24 hours after the winner is crowned!

The roster for this $10,000 entry fee event is impressive: WSOP defending champ Chris Moneymaker, two-time WSOP winners Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, poker bad boy Phil Hellmuth, and top pros Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey.

Fox Sports Net will utilize 21 cameras, 21 tape machines, 12 instant replay machines, 3 continuous running editing computers and a special event NFL broadcast truck.

The network says it will also feature a first-of-its-kind “Rabbit Hunting” camera, “In the event of a fold, viewers get to see the cards the dealer never flipped over and only they will know if folding was a good idea or if it cost the player thousands of dollars.”

I’m not sure how this is different from the hole card cameras used by the Travel Channel and ESPN, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

The event is set to air from 12:30pm to 6:30pm local time. Check your local listings because many affiliates will not show the entire event. My affiliate will air the last 4 hours. There is also a scheduled replay of the final at 8pm.

Nothing says “Happy Thanksgiving” like 6 hours of poker!