Well, the World Series of Poker is still going on in Las Vegas and I have been following the action, all in hopes of finally getting good at poker and learning all the rules of this crazy game.
The complete list of winners and events going on can be found here. So far the tournament has featured victories by a lot of no-names, with the notable exception of Phil Ivey (pictured) who won the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event for his eighth World Series bracelet.
Also, we've seen a big tournament so far for CANADA! Canadian poker pro and former Main Event "November Niner" final tabler Scott Montgomery won the $1,000 No-Limit event, and just last night Gavin Smith won the Mixed Hold-'Em event for his first bracelet. So the tournament has been good for Canucks so far. Way to go.
Happening today was the much-hyped Tournament of Champions and I don't know what to make of this event. This was one of these things where 27 of these top "all-stars" were selected or voted into playing at these tables, and it's all the usual big-mouths (Phil Hellmuth), legends (Doyle Brunson) and the usual other poker celebrities (Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Chris Ferguson, Annie Duke etc.) who we normally see on TV poker shows like Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker or that new FOX show The Big Game that premiered not too long ago. Honestly, I don't see the point of a Tournament of Champions. They may be "champions", but if you look at who has been winning at the tables at the WSOP this year it has been everyone except these guys. This isn't so much a "Tournament of Champions" as it is a "Tournament of Late-Night TV Poker Celebrities."
The other thing a little frustrating about the coverage I'm seeing of the WSOP is that there's way too much focus on these "deep runs" by these "big names" from the poker world. So you'd see all these reports about a guy like Phil Hellmuth that everyone knows about, making a deep run at some tournament, while the actual chip leaders at the event don't nearly get the same kinds of headlines or coverage. In fact, the vast majority of winners this year at the World Series of Poker have been guys who haven't appeared even once on any of these poker TV shows.
Try as it might, the stars of the "sport" of poker (I use the term loosely) don't dominate the events nearly as much as you would think they should, given all the hype these people get. These tournaments are ones that basically anyone can qualify for and win, and that's the charm behind it all. Everyone's looking to be the next Chris Moneymaker.
You can follow what is going on with the Tournament of Champions here. Coming up in another week starting July 5: the Main Event.