Weekly Poker Update: November 23, 2020

Poker Update November 23, 2020

Last week, we told you about the surprise announcement that the World Series of Poker has announced a pair of live “Main Events” for the prestigious brand. This came at a point where most people assumed that such a thing wouldn’t be, forgive the pun, in the cards. After all, live poker tournaments create all kinds of complications in terms of social distancing and protective precautions.

How Many Main Events Are Too Many?

The solution is a pair of hybrid events, one in America and one for international players. Early rounds of these Main Events are set to take place with players competing against each other online, as his been the norm this poker season. But those who eventually reach the final table will actually get together, as in the old days, to fight it out for the big prize.

For the most part, the announcement that the final table would be in person was met with enthusiasm amongst the poker community, considering the potentially massive pot up for grabs. After all, winning the World Series of Poker Main Event is generally considered to be among the most, if not the most, prestigious prizes in the entire game. The fact that it seemed to have been rescued in a year when most had written it off looked like a positive story on the whole.

But someone brought up some interesting points about this new undertaking that cast it all in a different light. And that someone, Stoyan Madanzhiev, has a pretty good perspective. After all, he is the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event champion.

Before you go thinking that you’re reading double, that last sentence is correct. Back in September, Madanzhiev took home nearly $4 million by winning the Main Event of the World Series of Poker Online edition that had taken place throughout the previous month. As such, it seemed like he would be able to add his name to a prestigious list of poker stars who won the coveted title.

Yet the new announcement, which insinuated that an actual World Champion hasn’t been crowned yet this year, seems to suggest that Madanzhiev’s title was somehow less than legitimate. Even though it was advertised as being the crowning achievement in the world of poker at the time. Can the two seemingly disparate statements coexist in any way?

Pro Poker Player Stoyan Madanzhiev

Well, in defense of the WSOP, they’ll take whatever marketing angle they can to try to sell this thing to the poker-playing public. And there are some differences between one and the other as well. For the upcoming World Series of Poker, there will be a higher buy-in, and there will be no buying back in for eliminated players to gain multiple chances, something that was allowed in the September event.

Still, to suggest somehow that what Madanzhiev did in September doesn’t count towards an actual Main Event win is definitely unfortunate, especially when nobody can be sure if those live final tables will actually manifest, considering the continuing uncertainty.

There likely will be continued debate over this going forward until these two World Series of Poker tournaments commence in a few weeks. Let’s hope the end game is that, no matter who wins these newer Main Event tourneys, that Madanzhiev’s accomplishment still gets the recognition it deserves.

Bitcoin Poker Boom

When you think about poker in an old-fashioned sense, you might think of big wads of cash on the felt as players throw their cards on the table. But according to recent reports, it’s all about the digital coins changing hands these days. Yes, the Bitcoin boom is being felt far more acutely in the world of poker than perhaps anywhere else.

For those who aren’t that technologically savvy, Bitcoin is the most popular type of the monetary form known as cryptocurrency. The value of the coins has risen and fallen wildly over the past few years. And with the uncertainty surrounding the financial markets, it’s been a boom time for the Bitcoin gambling crowd lately.

In recent weeks, the value of Bitcoin has risen to its highest level in almost three years. And it’s not that much of a leap to say that poker players are helping to fuel that boom, at least in indirect fashion. According to the Winning Poker Network, a major player in the world of online poker, the network has had to really up their Bitcoin game just to keep in line with the demand for the digital coins.

Bitcoin Image on a Laptop Keyboard

The CEO of the company claimed in a recent interview that the vast majority of payout requests from poker players have come in Bitcoin. Players are certainly savvy to the rising value of the currency. As a result, Winning Poker Network has been forced to hustle just to keep up with the demand.

As for WPN itself, it usually quickly converts any Bitcoin that it receives into fiat money. After all, with a business at stake, they have to be careful about volatility factors. But it is interesting to see that the players themselves, guys and gals who really understand the importance of having a strategic edge, are so adamant about such major exposure to Bitcoin.

Polk-Negreanu Update

The grudge match of the century rolled on this week, with Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk trading haymakers. It’s been fun to watch the lead changing hands with such regularity. And there’s not much separating the two as we get deeper into the battle.

As of Sunday, these two had played 3,800 hands over the past few weeks. After the first session took place in a live setting, they’ve since been going at it in real money Hold’em action in an online sphere. Most experts felt that such a setting gave Polk a major edge, which is why he was a 4 to 1 favorite on many betting websites.

Negreanu has been far more than just competitive. In fact, he was in a solid lead over much of this week. That was until Polk came firing back with a session in which he outdid Kid Poker by over $200,000. So, where do we stand? With that big session win, Polk now holds a lead of only a little over $26,000. Considering that is well within the range of the margin for a single session, it’s a tenuous lead at best.

It’s important to remember that the end is far from near in this battle. Polk and Negreanu are scheduled to play at 12,500 hands, at which point, one of the two can call it quits. If they decide to stick it out from there, the stakes can be doubled, and the event will go to 25,000 hands.

In any case, this has been tighter than many expected. There’s no telling what can happen, and it’s certainly possible that one of these two can form an insurmountable lead with several big sessions in a row. But there also exists the possibility that this could come down to the last few hands of the marathon match, which is what everyone wants to see.