Slippers, peanuts, sex and poker - the title we never thought we'd write
The slipper stall is doing a roaring trade today. In case you had not heard, one of the sponsors of this year's WSOP is a slipper manufacturer. Like you must be, I was a little baffled at what link there can be between the biggest poker tournament in the world and comfy footwear for those chilly nights at home.
This is not the first obscure corporate marketing we have seen. In previous years we have had The Official Peanut of the WSOP, with said nut maker sending an eight-foot tall peanut to walk around the corridors of the Rio sporting a top hat and carrying a cane. Mike Matusow took a running jump at him and knocked him to the ground. I don't believe he has been seen since.
We've had beef jerky; energy drinks, too. But best of all, in 2006 a drug to combat erectile dysfunction was one of the table sponsors. Again, I cannot fathom what link that has with a hand of poker, aside from both tending to result in startling raises.
Anyway, back to the slippers. Earlier today there was a crowd two deep trying to grab freebies in assorted colours and styles. It seems the dealers were being offered them for nothing, and it generated a bit of a frenzy. I saw some taking two boxes, and then one woman pootled off with an armful, presumably being the owner of a giant octopus that likes to lounge about at home.
You see, people will take anything if it's being given away. If it's free, grab it.
All of which brings us back, in an admittedly contrived way, to what is actually happening on the tournament floor. Here there be free chips. What's that you say, Skip? Yes, free chips. A fair portion of the players at this stage of a tournament have chips and are afraid to use them. And that means those with a little aggression can help themselves. The bullies of the playground pinching the little bespectacled kid's candy.
While we are accustomed to seeing the likes of Jason Mercier or Lex Veldhuis doing that for fun, it's heartening to see Friend of PokerStars Jason Alexander getting in on the act as well. The Seinfeld star has had a great start to his Day 2, up from his starting stack of 63,000 to approaching 85,000.
Alexander, as you might expect, is a popular figure on Twitter (@IJasonAlexander) with around 46,750 followers. That's slightly more than me, but only if you take off the first two digits. He's promising to keep his followers up to date with his progress in Las Vegas, and as some of them may be intrigued enough to take up poker for themselves, then we should all hope he continues to pick off the playground weaklings.
Slippers, sexual performance drugs, peanuts, famous TV sitcom actors: anything to entice new people to the game sounds good to me.
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STARBUCKS INTERACTION OF THE HOUR
Staff: Are you a player?
Blogger: No, media.
Staff: So, is there anyone famous playing?
Blogger: Unsweetened ice tea please.
Staff: Is there anyone famous playing?
Blogger: Did you ever watch Seinfeld?
Staff: (Unenthused) yeah, that guy (Jason Alexander) was in here a few days ago.
Blogger: How about Nelly?
Staff: (Unenthused) yeah, he was in here a few days ago too.
Blogger: (Offended) You're not impressed by Nelly?
Staff: Anyone else?
Blogger: Unsweetened ice tea please.
Staff: So no one?
SPOIL SPORT OF THE HOUR
Tournament official clearing out the rail next to Phil Hellmuth's table. The reason? A colour-up in about an hour.
OVERHEARD IN THE HALLWAY OF THE HOUR
"I don't know, but I know it's rigged."
PERSPECTIVE OF THE HOUR
Man #1: "A ten dollar food voucher on a $10,000 buy-in is like a kick in the nuts. You can't even buy lunch with it."
Man #2: "You could buy a lot of chewing gum."
Man #1: "No you can't! You could maybe buy three packs!"
TWEET OF THE HOUR
@ESPN_Poker "A player was just given a 1 hand penalty for standing up and cheering. Best part was, he wasn't even in the hand. "