Tuesday, July 15, 2008

World Series of Poker: The New Fall Classic

After 11 days of play, the final table is set in the Main Event at the World Series of Poker. The excitement is at a fever pitch, the crowd is poised to root on their favorites, and everyone who cares about poker is breathlessly awaiting the crowning of this year’s champion, which will take place…

…In November. For the first time, the final table will be held in November, presumably to allow ESPN the opportunity to score a ratings bonanza during Sweeps Month. This may seem a little like playing the Super Bowl in May or the World Series (baseball) in February, but on the other hand I can understand the thinking that went behind it (cynical as that thinking may have been). Not surprisingly, the final table is made up of relative poker unknowns, and now ESPN and the Online Poker companies (Full Tilt, Poker Stars, etc.) now have four months to turn these guys into stars. I’m not a big fan of the idea, as you can probably tell.

Of course they will deny it, but I’m sure that ESPN is crushed that neither Phil Hellmuth nor Mike Matusow, both of whom went very deep into the tournament, didn’t make the final table. Their presence alone would have guaranteed an interesting and entertaining final table. And they’re probably devastated that Tiffany “Hot Chips” Michelle came so close (17th place) but couldn’t quite pull it off. They’ll probably make her a star anyway, but she would have been a huge draw.

But, the players who are left deserve all the kudos they can get. Seat assignments, and chip counts:

Seat 1: Dennis Phillips 26,295,000
Seat 2: Craig Marquis 10,210,000
Seat 3: Ylon Schwartz 12,525,000
Seat 4: Scott Montgomery 19,690,000
Seat 5: Darus Suharto 12,520,000
Seat 6: Chino Rheem 10,230,000
Seat 7: Ivan Demidov 24,400,000
Seat 8: Kelly Kim 2,620,000
Seat 9: Peter Eastgate 18,375,000

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