WSOP 2012: If poker was a contact sport...


Not one to go through the motions, Jack Effel has welcomed players to their first day of the World Series of Poker Main Event, ratcheting up the excitement like only he can.

"The place is here and the time is now," he announced as players continued to file into this place just in time for now.

The message may be the same but the faces are new and, wearing a striking red shirt with a salmon pink tie, the new look Jack, who shows flashes of Sam Rockwell, welcomed players with the same enthusiasm he's used for the 43 days he's been here this summer.

Effel ran through the house rules as well as safety information, but it was hard not to notice the guy in pool shoes standing behind him in the shadows, waiting patiently, his arms bulging from within a t-shirt with Mike Tyson's face on the front.

Effel continued to explain the rules; ten-handed until every table had lost a player, 30,000 starting chips, five levels, dinner. Then the newer rules:

Out in the hallway at the Rio

"We want you to celebrate," he added, reminding players that the television cameras were here and that they should enjoy themselves. "Just do not leave destruction in your path".

Talking of destruction, it seemed the right time to introduce the man standing behind him: top Mixed Martial Artist, welter-weight champion, MMA Fighter of the Year 2008 and 2009, known by the initials "G - S - P".

"I want to warn all of his opponents, don't try anything stupid", said Effel, getting laughs from players and GSP himself, also known as George St-Pierre, who took to the mike to great applause.

Men watched St-Pierre with a natural awe, as all men do when looking at someone who, despite appearances, has the capacity to beat the crap out of anyone who looks at him wrong.

"I'm here to welcome you and I wish you the best of luck," said St-Pierre. "This is my first major tournament so I'll try not to tap out too fast."

And with that play began. St-Pierre stepped away from the mike and into the view finder of a waiting camera man wearing a neck brace. The snapper, risking further injury, flung his arms out wide to suggest St-Pierre do the same for the shot. He had to ask a second time before St-Pierre did as he was told. You'll no doubt see the result, the picture and St Pierre's progress, in the press later today.



"He's the man who made the continuation bet famous!" --Jack Effel introducing Dan Harrington to the Day 1B field


"He's out. You won't hear him crying." --Player to person in search of the Poker Brat


"Hellmuth and Cantu have been playing high limit mixed HU @PalmsPokerRm since the wee morning hours." --@AlCantHang


"I (heart) Slovak Models" (Team PokerStars Pro Dag Palovic)


"You can never be too safe on Day 1, boys and girls." --nit who was being chastised for being a nit