WSOP 2011: Do we already know who wins?
The news today (admittedly not mainstream news but news nonetheless) is that one Las Vegas sports book is now taking bets on several carefully selected prop categories in this year's World Series of Poker main event, the first casino ever to do so. You can't bet on field size, or the identity of the winner, but you can use your judgement to narrow it down a little and eke out some small hint of value. You just have to disagree that this year's winner will be a man aged no more than 27 to make some money.
So with that said I think we can do a little better, employing careful use of brushstroke stereotype and wishful thinking. Let's face it, there are a few rules the Gods stick to when hand picking their candidates for World Series titles.
And so, if for some reason we were unable to play the full ten days we have scheduled (admittedly dependent on the elephant Brad Willis brought with him to work, running amok) and instead had to use a police identikit picture to describe the winner, there are a few features we could describe with certainty to the sketch artist downtown at the station.
Reigning champion Jonathan Duhamel
First, anyone who turns up in a novelty hat or a fancy dress costume will never win the Big One, nor, come to think of it, will anyone brandishing a smashed beer bottle or a knife. The same goes for the players who turn up 45 minutes early, taking their seat before the dealer has arrived. Relax, don't be too keen and for god sake don't look like you're here to enjoy yourself.
Taking the years since Chris Moneymaker prompted a revolution in the game (with a little help from PokerStars), the Main Event winner will be male, less than 40 years of age, wearing at best a shirt with a collar but more likely a t-shirt and a hoodie, as well as loose trousers (possibly elasticated) and a baseball cap. Statistically you're better off being called Joe.
No ordinary Joe Cada
They'll play online, a lot, and after some serious media scrutiny will have some convenient back story we can tap into - a long losing streak perhaps, a chance encounter that brought them to Las Vegas in the first place, a story of redemption or a straightforward account of one man's attempt to prove to the world that they have what it takes to win poker's biggest crown. No moustaches please, no beards beyond a goatee and make sure your surname isn't difficult to spell.
There, that's him officer.
Then there's the other player I'd like to win, if only to reset the benchmark for that victory photo beamed around the world to the poker media, and all those national papers that only run one poker story a year.
So let's hear it for Larry (or Laura), an elephant handler from the Ascension Islands, pushing 60, and the first player to win the WSOP main event while on the run from prison.
MISHAP AT LUNCH OF THE HOUR
Tell-tale splashes on Friend of PokerStars Bill Chen's shirt suggest he lost a battle with his gravy.
FACIAL HAIR OF THE HOUR
The gentleman in the orange section sporting a bushy, handlebar moustache (will never win the Main Event -- see above).
TOUGH TABLE OF THE HOUR
Florian Langmann, former EPT Monte Carlo winner Jeff Williams and 'Miami' John Cernuto.
ATHLETIC SUPPORTERS OF THE HOUR
Sports jerseys on display in remaining Day 1A field: Troy Polamalu, Roger Staubach, Drew Brees, LeBron James, Larry Csonka, Gary Payton, Vincent LcCavalier, and Henrik Zetterberg
LIFE SUPPORT OF THE HOUR
Blue section of the Amazon Room (the second of four sections of the Day 1 field about to break)
VIDEO OF THE HOUR
CLASH OF THE HOUR
The skin tones of Vince Van Patten (very, very, almost obscenely tan) and T.J. Cloutier (transparent) seated in the Purple section of the Amazon Room.
HAND OF THE HOUR
Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis Tweets this one... "Crazzzy hand. Dealer flips up A. I get second card, another A. Then look at my replace card A! I raise 800 in 150-300. 3 callers. Farha makes it 4k. I flat, 2 folds 1 call. Flop 653r. Farha bets 5k I call. Button goes allin for 20k. Farha calls I raise 15k moreFarha folds. Guy shows 44. Turn J river 3 and I'm up to 85k."