Last night I was flipping back and forth between the football game and the WSOP 2013, that’s the World Series of Poker for the people who’ve never seen that acronym. Since PokerStars and FullTilt stopped allowing US deposits for what seems like years now, I’ve basically quit playing online and live poker. I’m both happy and sad about this, which I’ll get into, but last night tweaked a nostalgic feeling within me while I was watching this year’s coverage. It also had me thinking that the players that are part of the November 9 could have just as easily been 9 other players.

I miss the final table rush of poker. The exhilaration of pushing your stack with 37 off to steal some blinds was fantastic. Learning the pushing ranges was what separated the good from the upper echelon. It wasn’t luck that the same people continued to win. As I look back on the thousands of sit n go’s I played, I yearn for that gambling rush. I was a profitable player on Stars but never to the point that it warranted all the hours I spent playing but as I watched last night, it dawned on me that the 9 players who got there, luckily got there.

The players at the final table, which will commence November 4th, have won life changing money. First place money is 8+ million and the rest of the cashes are not too shabby. These nine players though are remaining from a field of 6000+ and they’ve all had their ups and downs which is guaranteed with poker. The unique thought that hit my brain was that this run was magical for these 9 players and I’m not sure they realize how lucky they are. If one card went differently, it wouldn’t have been them in this life changing event.

Making the final table of the WSOP is the poker pinnacle. All eyes on you. You make even more than the prize money from advertisers who know people will be watching that event. If these players never do another thing in the poker industry, they did it for this one tournament. This will inflate their ego and make them think they are cut out for one of the most emotional professions there is. Are they? Probably not. As stated above, if one card didn’t go their way, it would have been a different person. This is what I find so fascinating. This is what produced the Moneymaker effect. I can be that guy!

I understand it completely and for the first time in years I felt that feeling again. Back in the online days I was almost that guy a few times. I had deep runs in tournaments that could have netted me tens of thousands of dollars which isn’t life changing but it’s nice pocket change. If online poker came back, I’d have a tough decision if I wanted to play or not. It uses a lot of time and this time is mostly cerebral which is fun but is also anti-social. This is the reason I gave up playing video games. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s that I deemed them a waste of time. For those 9 players at this final table though, I think they would agree it wasn’t a waste of time. At least for them.