In brief: WSOP’s low buy-in events raise questions; Jungleman challenges Gus Hansen; Mike Takayama covers up

With all eyes fixed on Las Vegas currently, there has been an abundance of WSOP stories surfacing this week. If there is one thing you can always guarantee with poker’s premier festival, it is that there will be plenty of talking points. WSOP 2019 is only just into its second week and we already have some points of interest to relate.

Big 50 too big?

With the all-time record for field size broken by the Big 50 event, WSOP organisers were probably feeling quite pleased with their accomplishment. That high-five moment soon faded however, as players began voicing complaints about the event. The $500 buy-in tournament attracted 28,371 competitors and saw many players queueing for long periods of time just to be seated. It was not only the Big 50 that caused problems, with Daniel Negreanu tweeting about a payout backlog and hour-long delays in the $600 Deepstack. 

Sergio Aido also weighed in on Twitter with a list of concerns about WSOP’s organisation abilities, and there is a growing feeling that the WSOP are sacrificing a large part of what is positive about playing the WSOP in exchange for getting as many players through the door as they can.

This apparent mentality is epitomised by the rise of lower buy in events such as the $500 and $600 tournaments mentioned above. Doug Polk voiced his thoughts on Twitter, questioning just how low WSOP buy-ins could feasibly go.

The prestige of winning a WSOP bracelet is being eroded by these events in the eyes of many, and the same can be said about the gradual increase in the number of events organised each year.

Jungleman lands in Vegas and issues challenge to Hansen

Tournament action may be booming across Vegas this time of year, but the same is true of cash games too. For the big guns, Bobby’s Room is the place to be, and some the game’s biggest names have already paid a visit. Gus Hansen has reportedly been involved in $2k/$4k games and was followed to the felt by Daniel “Jungleman12” Cates, after Hansen challenged the infamous online star to come and play him. Jungleman responded with an eerily dark Instagram video in which he sent a funny, yet ominous message to Hansen, claiming to have “new moves and new memes” which the Dane would not be able to handle.

Hansen had already admitted on Instagram to losing a six-figure sum while playing, and that was before Cates arrived. His summer could now be about to go downhill fast.

Mike Takayama fuels debate about acceptable attire

There has been a question about clothing in poker for many years. How much facial covering is too much? Filipino player Mike Takayama looks determined to find out, having sat down in event 16 wearing a face mask, dark glasses and a hat, covering the entirety of his face.

Some players took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, perhaps not being aware that face masks are common in Asia, and not just at the poker table. Shaun Deeb apparently called the floor to ask if it was acceptable for Takayama to cover his entire face, and apparently it was deemed to be within the rules.

Whatever Mike Takayama is doing or wearing these days it clearly works, given that he won the first WSOP bracelet ever for Philippines last year.

Article by Craig Bradshaw