Thoughts on 2011 WSOP Main Event Coverage

Having watched most of the WSOP Final Table on the 15 minute delay from ESPN, I have to say that I was very impressed by the coverage and how enjoyable most of it was.  I did not enjoy the long periods of time when players were just thinking about their moves, of course, but I figure it is part of the experience. After all, these guys are playing for million dollar jumps in payouts, so why not take your time and try to figure out if you need to fold or call in a big spot.

 Another observation one could make was how much better the rest of the table was compared to “Bob” Bounhara from Belize. And still, he made it all the way to the final nine.  It’s a testament to how much luck is involved in tournament poker, but also, how even amateur players can sometimes make the correct moves at the proper time for entirely wrong reasons, and either not get credit from the better players or get too much credit and somehow win a big hand or two that gets them far in the tournament.

 There will be lots of discussion about Phil Collins’ play, but the results speak for themselves.  His style, though unorthodox and some would say mathematically sub-optimal, has won for him many times online.  It is a somewhat exploitable approach against such a strong line-up of players though, and I think that proved to be true in this final table.  Some people might even say that his approach had merit with Pius Heinz and Ben Lamb on his left, and he did seem to make some extremely gutsy laydowns (AQ v AK). But in the end, it appeared that he was somewhat lost in hands against opponents that were driving the action and had no problem placing him on a very accurate range.

 Some people will probably also question the apparent indifference Ben Lamb had to pushing all his chips in the middle when behind. But he is Ben Lamb, he had to expect to get called light many times (and he did), and his luck kept him in the running to the final three.  There is major debate going on about what Ben was doing shoving KJ against Staszko’s pocket sevens, but the bottom line is that if this hand is not the first hand three-handed, most people would just call it standard.  Both players had the bottom of their range here, and both played it fine.  As usual for poker tournaments, key hands end up with close equity splits when the money goes in.

 And what can you say about champion, Pius Heinz. A young man with lots of courage and a good handle on the game.  I heard an interview with him this morning where he explained floating the turn on a hand where he only had 7-high and his opponent had a boat.  Totally understandable now once you know that he thought he had a very solid read on his opponent, and this was one of those times were the read was wrong.  A great example of how physical reads in poker can be deceiving, even when the observed player is not trying to be deceiving.  Congratulations to Pius Heinz on his victory.  He seems like a very deserving champion.

About Frank Panama

Frank Panama is the host of the Michigan Poker Monster podcast, a podcast about Michigan poker. He lives in Saint Clair County, Michigan, and loves to play and talk about poker.
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