Finally caught the final table of the World Series of Poker 2008 over the weekend. Some assorted thoughts on the game, on poker, and on TV production:
Boy, someone at ESPN really loves their ring flash, don’t they? I’m not sure shooting interviews with the final table players with big glowing circles over their eyes is really a good look.
I was happy that the man I was rooting for — Dennis Phillips — made it all the way to third place. He made me nervous in the early going. And where is Steve Danneman these days? I miss him. He was fun.
Man, it must suck to lose at the final table on a one-outer. I don’t blame the guy for stumbling out of the arena after that. Ouch. I wonder if he’s getting the six of diamonds tattooed on him now somewhere? (That bad beat is so memorable, I didn’t have to look up which card was the killer; I remembered that one, as I’m sure Scott Montgomery forever will.)
Delaying the final table for four months is done for television and I don’t like it. Part of the thing with a big tournament like this is momentum and physical stamina. Letting people take four months off resets everything. Letting them see the videos of the people they’re playing at the final table with is almost unfair. Since everyone has the same “advantages,” though, I guess it’s fair.
That four months also gave all participants the chance to line up sponsors and so, ugh, everyone looks like a friggin’ NASCAR driver at the poker table. Those obnoxiously large and ungainly patches are ridiculous.
Also ridiculous is the crowds. It’s the final table of poker, NOT a gladiator combat thing. The crowds just get more and more obnoxious. If you thought The World Poker Tour had unwieldy crowds, you haven’t seen anything. The site of 300 people in red caps and white workshirts rooting for Phillips was kinda cool, though. I could have done without the truck horns. Or the singing from the Danish contingent. I’m such a purist, aren’t I?
Lon and Norm still crack me up. I suppose I’m not a purist in that way. I know they don’t talk about poker strategy, but they’re entertaining.
Now who will make a joke out of “The Demon Deacons?”
Sorry to see the head to head battle last all of five minutes. I’m sure some of that was in the editing, but who can beat the drama of Monkeymaker/Farha?
I don’t know that I could ever play a final table like that. I’d likely just let myself get blinded off, waiting for a couple of other people to get greedy and lose first. So long as you weren’t out first at the final table, you were an instant poker millionaire.
I can imagine the scenario: After folding for two hours straight, I’m in the small blind and dealt pocket aces. Not wanting to scare anyone off, I call the big blind. The big blind immediately folds, knowing I must have something insanely good, so why bother?
“Winning Poker” is not the title of a book I’ll be writing anytime soon.