Bryan Devonshire has over $2 million in career tournament earnings on the felt, but his real passion is for the outdoors. He’s only played two previous events this summer, before playing at this years 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event. Devonshire contends that poker isn’t as promising as it used to be. Though there are edges still to be had, one must always think about his hourly rate, both on and off the tables.
“I came out for four nights earlier this year, I played the No Limit Deuce, and the Pot Limit Omaha. Then I went back home. Tournaments just aren’t as lucrative anymore. There’s a lot of good players, and there’s not much incentive for endorsements anymore. Four years ago you won a bracelet and you got an endorsement package worth five or six figures. Now you win a bracelet, and you’re just another one of many.”
“This summer I’ve been guiding white water boats all summer. It’s kind of what I did before I started pursing tournaments really hard. I love being outside, I love being around people and taking them outside. It’s always been a business aspiration of mine. It’s something I always had involved in my life to keep things balanced. I interrupted that to pursue tournaments with the intention of pursing an endorsement deal, etc. That was fun while it lasted but, it just doesn’t exist anymore. Pokers always been about game selection, and as a professional it’s always been about my hourly. My hourly in Vegas isn’t that high anymore. Even during the series. People are really good at poker these days, there isn’t much new money anymore,” explained Devonshire.
Devonshire defines himself as a realist that doesn’t see the poker economy getting better anytime soon. At least not until legislation in most states are passed allowing online gaming.
“My long term plan has always been that once poker starts waning, figure out the next thing. I’m just a realist about poker. Unless there’s some new boom in the U.S. market, which I don’t really see happening with all of the legislative morality that we still embrace in this country – things just aren’t going to improve. People either quit or they get better. If they legalize online in every state, there would be another boom, but I don’t ever see that happening,” said Devonshire.
“People playing poker right now have played for awhile. People that are here for their first World Series generally come from an online background, and they’re good. Where ROIs (returns on investment) were once in the hundred percent range, now they’re in the thirty, forty, or fifty percent range if you’re really good. Obviously that’s different with the Main Event and different events here and there. And the way they treat you out here, is pretty poor, too. So, I’m over it. I’m happy to go back and work outside.”
Devonshire explains that part of the problem he has with the World Series of Poker is how it’s ran, and how the staff treats their patrons.
“It comes down to actually caring about your customer around here. There’s this prevailing attitude at the World Series that people will come no matter how they treat them. And it’s true. So I cant blame them for making a ton of money off it.”
“For example, last time when I came out, I tried to start a cash game over here, and the cash games were dead because they rake more than everybody else in town. They give you the worst cards in town, the worst dealers in town, and they just have a poor attitude in general. And so this game gets going around 5:30 or 6, and he wants to collect time at 5:39, and we complain. Then he gives me shit for complaining about not wanting to pay time at 5:39 on a new game. And I’m saying that nobody collects time on the first down on a brand new game, especially one that isn’t full with a new list. We’re only three minutes in. So instead of saying, ‘yeah my bad, lets get the cards in the air, we’ll take time at six,’ he starts a fight with the entire table, myself included, and the game breaks. People are pissed, and the fish in the game are feeling deterred from playing anything at all,” said Devonshire.
“It’s like Bellagio; after the floor staff had that attitude for so many years, they realized they weren’t the shit anymore. So they started taking care of people, and now Bellagio is a great room again. So yeah, the fish don’t play cash anymore, it used to be that they’d bust a tournament and they’d play cash all day, but where are they now?”
As of Level 7, Devonshire had accumulated approximately 72,400 chips on Day 2c of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event.
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