• Home
  • Win Big in Poker
  • Poker Championship Basics
  • Bookmark
 

The Pressure of Being a WSOP World Champ

If you've ever watched a classic Western, there's always a young buck who rides into town in a cloud of dust with foolish fearlessness and single-mindedness of the obsessed. His eyes are cold steel, and he has a gun to match. His obsession! Take down the fast gun in the West.

In poker, the "fastest gun" is the world champ, and cardrooms are overflowing with young guns eager to risk it all for one chance to take down the champ and build a quick reputation, if only among their buddies. There seems to be no quicker way to put a bull's-eye on your back than to win the Main Event at the World Series.

2005 champ Joe Hachem says that for every autograph-seeker and person who gushes, "It's an honor to be sitting at the table with you," there is another who will take outlandish measures for a shot at that bull's-eye, even if that shot is a long one.

"It's a challenge every time I sit at the poker table, because now I'm a target wherever I go," says Hachem. "It's much harder for me to play now. When it's just one person, it's OK, but when it's six people and they are all waiting to gun me down, it's harder to play. You have to be able to show down hands. You can't win with nothing. Half the time they will try to bluff you out of a hand because they know you don't want to risk your whole tournament."

With all those guns loaded and cocked, one false move can mean elimination, so the pressure is definitely on.

"There's more pressure on me now," says Hachem. "First, I'll probably be totally exhausted from doing a thousand interviews, handshakes, photos, autographs, and then the pressure from 2,000 people watching whatever move I make. The cameras will always be on, and that means other people at the table will start acting weird, as well. And I might end up getting the bad end of it because of their stupidity."

2004 champ Greg "Fossilman" Raymer says most of the strain he feels comes from within, and from his goal of playing every hand perfectly.

"I really don't feel any pressure at the table, except the pressure I put on myself. And the pressure I put on myself is to make smart decisions at all times. I don't care that much about results (or at least I do my best to not care). If I know I played a hand well, I don't mind losing it. And if I know I played a hand stupidly but manage to win anyways, I'm not at all happy with myself. And since that pressure, what little of there is, comes entirely from myself, it is not any different than it was before I won in 2004.

"I don't feel any need to perform to somebody's expectations. If their expectations are reasonable for how the game of tournament poker works, then I get to go a long time between results. And if they expect more than that, I don't care because they obviously don't know the game very well at all."

If you want to really talk about pressure, ask Chris Moneymaker about 2003, the year he won the Main Event. Not only was he playing in his first live tournament ever, but he also desperately needed the cash. The $10,000 buy-in itself was huge money to him at the time.

"There's less pressure now than in the first year i tried to win it," he recalls. "The money was very important to me, and there was tons of pressure from that standpoint, but now that pressure is off me."

And while being a household-name ex-champ carries with it a lot of baggage, Moneymaker wouldn't miss it.

"If you're going to win a tournament, this is the one you want to win. It carries the most prestige, and this is what you look forward to every year The World Series of Poker Main Event."

Differences between Poker Tourneys & Cash Games

11 October 2009

Value betting is a Poker strategy that almost all the masters of the game utilize to take advantage of their position on the table. Because it will be such an integral part of winning Poker strategies, it is necessary to learn how to use them well and in the correct circumstances.

Go to Full Story

 
 

Latest Stories

Differences between Poker Tourneys & Cash Games

11 October 2009

Value betting is a Poker strategy that almost all the masters of the game utilize to take advantage of their position on the table. Because it will be such an integral part of winning Poker strategies, it is necessary to learn how to use them well and in the correct circumstances.

Go to Full Story

 

The Rules of 7 Card Stud Poker

11 October 2009

7 Card Stud Poker is one of the most enthralling and exhilarating online casino games, with plenty of opportunities to win big pots and cash prizes. If you are inclined to play, then a fluency in the rules of 7 Card Stud Poker will serve you well.

Go to Full Story





Close