Sweat Factor at the World Series of Poker ii

The other kind of sweat is the fellow players and backers that make up the game. Backers are usually also players. Trading saves is never a bad idea. I remember at the Bayou Classic a couple of years ago when Brandon R. went deep he was at a table with Phil Gordon (who I believe eliminated him). Phil Gordon was reported to announce he had a "save" or a piece of one of the other players there. Being a stand-up guy he didn’t want anybody to think they were colluding by hiding these facts from the other players. I’ve played a ton of tournaments since and I’ve yet to have anybody announce they had a piece of a tablemate—even when I knew they did. Phil Gordon owns a piece of an online poker room it is not https://poker.bwin.com/.

That annoucement was a classy move. No doubt made easier by Phil Gordon’s internet created wealth (virtue as they say is often just a lack of temptation) but many people might have decided to root for or sweat Gordon from that day onward. Course at Gordon’s elimination or his partner’s (incidentally a Gulf Coast local—take your pick from gulf coast poker’s who’s who page he’s on there) one of them suddenly became a much bigger supporter of the other. How many times did a friend become a horse you were riding to a hopeful big score once you were bounced from a tournament? A lot, I’m sure. Sometimes these types of relationships develop far away from the world series in qualifiers like in Online Sit and go poker tournaments.

Perhaps, at this World Series deals were made. Perhaps, two of the locals GCP was cheering hardest for, traded a piece of each other, and perhaps John Dolan (a November Niner) was one of them (I have no idea if he was or wasn’t… but if I was friendly with guys left in the top 50 or so of the Main Event I’d be hedging my bets a little bit, that’s for sure). If so, that casual friendship would be transformed into something different altogether.

Say if an online friend and Dolan had saves they’d be one of his biggest fans… period. The second best thing to winning the Main Event yourself would be having a piece of the guy winning the Main Event. Okay, that’s not quite true, the true sweat is the one enjoyed by backers of the guy winning the Main Event. Then they guys that traded shares.

That sweat, has to be the ultimate. It’s like watching your stock investment climb steadily through the day and knowing when you cash out you are going to be considerable richer. Backers are men of danger and of gamble because they are putting their good faith and their money behind the skills and talents of another. They also need to endure bad beats, coolers, and hand selection from afar.

I have a friend who was backed for a trip to Vegas in a startlingly short sample size and after a couple of buy-ins lost in a cash game, and one o-fer in a tournament suddenly had a poker coach. The backer wasn’t half the player, the player was but the backer suddenly fearful of his money was advising the player to adopt the same “old-man” strategies of the backer. The relationship quickly soured before the trip was over.

So, the backers have to have the restraint to allow their investments to play. When they go deep in a tournament like this it’s easy. When they have nothing to show for four or five straight events it gets a little harder. This year plenty of the Main Event players have backers, trades, and supporters (either family, friends or fans). The race to the finish line is as visceral for those sweating the players as it is for the players doing the sweating at the tables.


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