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Random Thoughts: WSOP Edition

There seems to be a distinct increase in the amount of talent, that is to say attractive females, playing poker in Las Vegas this summer. The Tiffany Michelle effect? It seems that advertisers are handing out money like candy to these girls to wear a poker logo in the proximity of their cleavage. I'm calling cleavage advertising bubble here at the WSOP. Just like how an American player without an endorsement from a poker room has virtually zero chance of getting one these days, I predict semi-attractive women will have a tough time getting endorsed by poker sites after this summer. It seems that the investors in All-In energy drink are finally all-out. I haven't seen any of those wretched little cans floating around, just the bottled water. As a group, poker players are pretty huge squares. They are a great weathervane for bubbles, which is why I'm not buying any stock in Ed Hardy clothing at the moment. Apparently Gus Hansen bet $900,000 to win $10,000 that Raphael Nadal would win his match against Robin Soderling at the French Open. Soderling won. Last year, Phil Ivey bet $1 million (or more, depending on whose account you hear) that the L.A. Lakers would win the NBA Finals. Boston won. Would someone please let me know the next time a successful high-stakes poker player makes a huge bet on a sporting event? Thanks! Just when you thought Harrah's might be finally running the WSOP close to optimally, they found a way to make themselves look stupid. Each day after the first break at the WSOP, there is a five minute ceremony to present bracelets to recent winners. That's not exactly an awful idea, but what is an awful idea is playing the U.S. National Anthem every single day after the bracelets are awarded. For those of you who aren't here, I cannot tell you how awkward this is. Aside from interrupting gameplay in other tournaments (while the clocks remain active), it's just an incredibly ego-centric move on Harrah's part. This is the World Series of Poker. Subjecting all players to the U.S. National Anthem when a good 25% or more of them are not American is tacky. To play it once before, say, the start of the Main Event would be one thing, but playing it every single day is a joke. Yesterday, Phil Ivey, who is generally as cool as they come, could not help but appear awkward as he stood there waiting for the Anthem to finish. It is not as if he just won a gold medal representing the U.S. in the Olympic Games. The awkwardness of this is only compounded by all the poker players chatting with each other while the song plays. I kind of like that 'Poker Face' song. If you haven't noticed already, we have a team of people blogging for PokerTips at the WSOP this year giving our readers different perspectives in different languages. Just glance to your right and you should see what I'm talking about. Poker is kicking butt, and I think the recession might actually be helping, or at least offsetting whatever harm it's created. I have come across several players who have stated they are unemployed and cannot find a job anywhere so they decided to just start playing poker. This may not be making the games any easier, but it sure is accounting for an increase in the field sizes.

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