Through all the limit Hold'em sessions, hipster bars, pool parties and corn hole that Memorial Day Weekend provided, 'The Colossus' has stayed in the front of everyone's mind. Every poker related conversation has been fixated around that exact event, which is expected to be the biggest live poker tournament in history. It's one of those "must play" value events, with 1st place likely seeing someone turn a $560 buy-in into, potentially, a $2,000,000 score.
"You think we're going to know whoever wins?" Kevin Grabel asked while the better part of #TeamKittenPoker, Brittany Paige and BCP's Aaron Massey all settled in for a relaxing day by the condo pool.
"Nah, no way. Too big." Geno Raman said.
Aaron disagreed, claiming, "There'll be a big name that goes deep, trust me."
"Wow, imagine that." Raman mumbled, while Grabel stayed true to his initial prediction of a completely obscure victor, "Nah, I can't."
The voices started to die down but there was one final input, from Brittany, the quietest of the group.
"Someone's going to go home a hero."
When she first said it, I don't think any of us really got the full force of the comment. But, the more I thought, the more I began to understand. Think of your home casino or poker room. Think of the absolute hysteria that winning 'The Colossus', or any event at this summer's WSOP, would cause. Sure, it's not like professional sports fandom, where fans are loyal solely to their hometown teams. But, from my experiences, the hometown support in many East Coast poker rooms is certainly palpable.
The two close to home cases for myself have to be Paul Volpe and Asher Conniff. Asher's recent conquest of the WPT World Championship has been well documented over the last few months. But last summer, while I worked my first series at the Borgata, the talk around the WSOP was all about Volpe. The Philadelphia native and cash game regular was about as hometown as the Borgata had out at the series and everyone expected it to be his breakout year.
I didn't personally know Volpe then, only recognizing his name from past WPT broadcasts. As someone new to the Borgata community, I jumped on the bandwagon and jumped on it quick. Long story short, he did more than break out. He won his first bracelet by defeating Daniel Negreanu heads up for the Event #13 $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball title, while cementing himself as one of the world's best poker players. After meeting Volpe during his Fall Poker Open Championship final table run at the end of last year, he was likely to be considered a hero at the Borgata with or without the bracelet. It's absolutely impossible not to like and root for him.
You take a player that is a more or less unknown and vault him, or her, to the top of the poker world and we could easily see the The Colossus create it's own modified version of the "Moneymaker Effect".
The way the poker community is connected through social media, maybe I do know the person who ends up winning 'The Colossus' later this week. Maybe I don't. It's impossible to say. The fact is that 68 players will win bracelets over the next two months. They will return to their home poker rooms as heroes. With their quests for WSOP glory all starting later this afternoon.