While there have been a lot of really interesting stories in the 2012 WSOP -- Ivey's five final tables in 12 days, Hellmuth's 12th bracelet, Grinder's second 50k victory, the OneDrop event -- one of the minor (very minor) subplots that has been talked about is whether or not I would break the WSOP single-season cash record of ten, held by the late Nikolai Evdakov. As of now, the lead belongs to another Russian named Konstantin Puchkov, who overtook me when he cashed the $5000 NL and I didn't. Puchkov is now tied for the record with 10 cashes, with me and Joe Tehan behind him at nine.
But most people were following my ascent, in part because they know me and don't know Puchkov, but mostly because from the conclusion of the first event and up until a week ago, I started every day either leading or tied for the lead. "So what'd you cash in today," became a common half-joke, half-inquiry among the WSOP regulars. It was frustrating because none of the cashes were significant: zero final tables, and no cashes over $20000. I would trade happily trade all nine cashes for a third place finish in some random $1500 event.
And besides, "most cashes" is certainly a nit record. Serious poker players don't play for cashes. Players have been regularly ribbing me, calling me "Chainsaw", or "Cousineau", referencing a pair of notorious min-cashers. In most of the cashes, I've amassed a lot of chips, but there was also the $1500 PLO8 where I cashed with 3/4 of a big blind. In any case, I'm pretty sure that my run at the record hasn't affected my play in any way; I've still played to maximize my equity (which usually means maximizing my chance of winning the tournament).
The more interesting question is whether it has affected the number and types of tournaments that I've entered. I feel that I have probably entered more $1000 and $1500 NL "donkaments" than I traditionally have, but this is probably a good thing: these are among the highest value events in the series. I have however skipped a number of tournaments either because I felt I wasn't a favourite, or simply because I just wasn't feeling up to playing.
It feels silly to me to care about this record. It's not a record that anyone good actually respects. It's not a record I'd be particularly proud to have. But I suppose it'd be something. I imagine it'd fall under the category of, "sorta neat, I suppose."
If I needed 11+ cashes to hold the all-time record as something to show that I made my mark on the WSOP, then that says something about me, and something I'm not a big fan of. Poker pros aren't supposed to care about such things. We're supposed to care about money, not legacies or stats. We make fun of Phil Hellmuth because he can't stop reminding the world that he is a 10-, 11- and now 12-time "World Champion". Records and the narratives that surround them are stuff for the media, not the players.
I certainly wasn't planning this for the 2012 WSOP. As I've written before, most of the fun of the WSOP for me is actually hanging out with friends, but due to playing a monstrous number of hours (for me) in the tournaments, I haven't done all that much of that. In spite of the gentle ribbing, a lot of people have encouraged me to really go for the record. The series is starting to wrap up, and I'll play all the NL tournaments the rest of the way, including the 10k 6-max, but I'm not confident enough to think that I'm a significant favourite in the 3k PLO8 or the 10k NL deuce. If I really, desperately wanted the cashes title, I suppose I would put those events on my schedule. But thankfully my ego isn't that fragile.