Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Main Event's All-In Chips --- Souvenir or Jinx?

One of the mysteries of the this year's WSOP was the inclusion of an oversized "all-in" chip, which was emblazoned with "All in" verbiage on one side and the logo of the WSOP's presenting sponsor, Beast Light, on the other. (I've got Phil Laak's chip, and I'll drop in a photo of it alongside a regular chip once I return in a few more days.) Some marketing type thought these things were a good idea, and as you know, if it's a marketing brainstorm than the opposite is likely true. It's unlikely you'll ever see one of these things make the TV screen, barring some forced action shot where the sponsors leverage the thing into sight, as with those Marlboro-smoking aliens in Men in Black.

The problem with the chip was that despite its no-denomination value and optional use, if it did find its way into the pot, it was still a binding "all-in" action, as happened a handful of times on Days 1-A and 1-B. Floor supervisors offered varying anecdotes about players dropping the chip, having it land on edge and roll into the middle, or about an "in jest" tossing off the thing forward by a player, then having that player realizing that it was too late to alter the action. A couple of players also found a way to make fake bets with the things, offering a new opportunity for angle shooting.

But a lot of the players just didn't want the things on the tables. Whether for fear of accidentally bumping it forward or including it as part of another bet, or not liking to be constantly reminded of the words "all in" (which is all but the winner's final fate), the things disappeared. Pocketed, given away, discarded, they all met the same fate --- and by the last of the four opening days the word had spread to most of the players and the chips were scarcely seen. I haven't seen one since the early part of the first Day Two's action, nor do I expect to for the remainder of the event.

Remember, when in doubt, listen to the marketing folks. Then do the opposite thing.

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