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No shame in second

Written by Ben Blaschke

We all know poker tournaments are all about the winner. As the old saying goes, if 1,000 people enter, 999 of them are going to go home disappointed.

But poker is a unique game. While only one player will walk away with a trophy at the end, around 10 percent of the field will take home a profit by making the money. And some of those will do much better than that, given the fact tournament payouts are so heavily weighted in favor of the top three.

One of these men will go down in history on November 5. The rest won't

One of these men will go down in history on November 5. The rest won’t

In the case of a tournament such as the WSOP Main Event, a second or third place finish is going to guarantee a multi-million dollar payday. In fact, with around 6,500 players taking part each year, even making the final table is a stunning achievement. Yet, as we’ve already noted, only one player is officially recognized with a trophy.

Which got us thinking – is it time we started giving more recognition to the second and third place finishers in the way of plaques or even smaller trophies of their own? Should there be an honor roll for those who reach the final table of the world’s biggest events? Why should their memory disappear into the ether but for the turn of a card when heads-up?

This is a certainly food for thought in the current climate given the increasing rake in many events around the world and fewer incentives being offered to players overall. I recall the welcome pack I received when I played my first live major in Manila back in 2007 – a veritable treasure trove of clothing and trinkets that brought a little smile to my face to help cool the nerves. These days you’re lucky if you get a hat.

Could poker do with a few more of these?

Could poker do with a few more of these?

With so many tournaments being held across the globe these days it’s tough to keep track of exactly who has achieved what, but at the very least we could give the players themselves a better reminder of that magic day when they came within a whisker of winning the Macau Poker Cup, the Aussie Millions or the WSOP!