For the first time in 34 years, the WSOP held a team tourney in the Event #61 Tag Team Championship. And long-time pros Doug Polk and Ryan Fee proved to be the best duo as they beat an 863-team field to win the $153,358 top prize (split between them).
Over 2,000 players in all entered this $1,000 buy-in event, which allowed teams to have up to four members. In Polk and Fee’s case, they opted for a two-man team, both earning a separate gold bracelet for the win. As mentioned before, this was the first time that a team event was held since the 1982 Mixed Doubles tournament, which required one male and female participant.
Interestingly enough, Fee and Polk didn’t enter this tourney because they wanted to share a bracelet or play in a historic event. Instead, they thought that it’d be a great opportunity to promote their new coaching site with team patches.
“We entered this tournament because we thought it would be a good way to promote our new coaching site, upswingpoker.com,” said Fee. “We thought – it would be a cool way to promote the website, especially if we won!”
Jonathan Little is another pro who took a unique approach to this tournament, inviting his parents, Larry and Rita, to join his team. The Little’s ended up taking ninth and collecting a $10,724 prize. This wasn’t just a family affair, though, since some very good players made the final table. Marvin Rettenmaier, Moshin Charania, James “Flushy” Dempsey, and Benny Glaser were some of the pros whose teams made the final.
But in the end, Polk and Free’s skills guided them towards the victory.
“I think being one of the skilled teams is a huge advantage (in the team event),” Polk told a WSOP reporter. “It’s not a big deal if your teammate punts off your stack somewhat reasonably. But on the weaker teams there is a lot more pressure to just not screw things up. So, we can play our game and not really care if we bust. The less-skilled teams have players that don’t want to be that guy that goes deep, makes a bad call, and busts out.”