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World Series of Poker Proves Worth of Online Gambling

You could fit all of the virtue in Las Vegas onto the face of a single poker chip and still have room to spare for its grace and charm, its subtlety and sincerity.

More conspicuously absent of course are the clocks, windows, exit signs, fresh fruit and vegetables and any sense of style whatsoever — not that the place caters to the health-conscious or the haute couture. But for all its glaring deficits this vacuous, vice-infected town does have plenty of something: Good old-fashioned cash money.

And around 9 p.m. last Friday night, after surviving seven exhausting days of folding and holding, Gregory "Fossilman" Raymer pocketed $5 million of it when his deuces full of eights bested David Williams’ deuces full of fours, winning him the 35th annual World Series of Poker No-Limit Hold’em Championship.

After Chris Moneymaker’s mythical victory last year (ESPN, show it again, please?), PokerStars players are now 2-for-2 and have grossed over $7,500,000 on a combined buy-in of $200. No matter how you look at it, that’s an impressive return on investment.

This is precisely the kind of mouth-watering bait that WSOP host Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, ESPN, Internet cardrooms and all professional poker players love using to lure hundreds of "fish" into the tournament each year (guys with no chance of winning; dead money), thousands more into the city, and millions worldwide into the sexy jaws of Texas Hold’em itself.

Everybody who watches the "World Poker Tour" (WPT) on TV, has seen "Rounders" more than once (by the way, few pros give away their hands by eating Oreo cookies), or even played a little at home or online, thinks that they have mastered the game. The ones that actually have are bellying up to the buffet table and having a feeding frenzy.

Perhaps my favorite rationale for coughing up the $10,000 to buy a seat in the World Series goes something like this: In what other sport can you spend ten grand and sit down next to its legends and superstars? Fair enough, $10,000 won’t get you on the court with Shaq or on the links with Tiger, but I think I’ll wait until I spot Doyle Brunson or Johnny Chan hopping onto a bus and snag the seat next to them for a buck-and-a-quarter.

Even more enticing is the fact that very few of the 2,576 entrants in this year’s championship event (more than triple that of 2003) actually forked out the 10 large themselves. Rich backers stake many of the top pros (as if guys like Phil Hellmuth or Howard Lederer need any more help). Many of the solid veterans won their seats via "satellites" (winner-take-all mini-tournaments that cost between $225 and $1,025 to enter).

That said, 2004 was undeniably The Year of the Internet Player.

The majority of the field qualified through "free-rolls" and "shootouts" (basically the web’s version of satellites) hosted by online casinos like Party Poker, Planet Poker, and of course, PokerStars.

Read the entire article at: SFGate 

2004 Online Casino News Archive


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