Writer’s Note: There is other news in poker outside of what’s happening at the WSOP being held at the Rio Las Vegas. Here’s press release on the latest from “Poker Night in America.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARIA HO AND DAVID TUCHMAN ANNOUNCED AS STARS FOR INNOVATIVE NEW TELEVISED POKER SERIES POWERED BY “POKER NIGHT IN AMERICA”
Las Vegas, NV (June 2, 2015) – The creators of Poker Night in America announced today they are launching a new television series called “Poker Night: The Tour” a new concept which will feature two of the game’s most popular poker pros — Maria Ho and David Tuchman. The series creators are also promising additional personalities will be joining the cast in the future.
“Last year, we launched a new series on CBS Sports Network called ‘Poker Night in America,’ which has proven to be a refreshing approach to showing the game on television and bringing in new viewers,” said PNIA and Rush Street Productions President and show founder Todd Anderson. “Next, we want to continue to push the envelope by developing this new tour and show. We’re excited to have both Maria and David joining the team and look forward to adding some additional star power in the coming weeks.”
Trivia question. Identify the following individual.
Who’s ranked in the top ten of most cashes in history at the World Series of Poker….and who has won two career WSOP gold bracelets….and who’s earned more than $5.5 million just in poker tournaments alone….and who’s cashed in the Main Event Championship four consecutive years (then, a record)….and who made the world championship final table the same year Stu Ungar won his last title….and yet, who plays poker only part-time, with the bulk of his actual winnings as a full-time professional gambler coming from not from cards, but rather from sports wagering and horseracing?
Here’s another hint: He’s one of the least conspicuous players in poker, seemingly invisible inside any cardroom, yet is a giant among gamblers because he’s not only overcome the odds and prospered for so long in such a variety of different endeavors — somehow managing to support himself by one holy virtue –which is looking for edges and then pouncing on opportunity; Just as impressive, he’s always conducts himself with pure class.
So, who is this person we may have seen but probably don’t know? The correct answer is: Chris Bjorin
Rep Porter, a two-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner, outlasted nearly 430 players on Friday afternoon in “The Colossus,” billed as the biggest poker tournament in history. Given more that 22,000 players are expected to enter this mega-competition, that meant Porter could enjoy bragging rights for coming in 21,612th place.*
Porter never had an above-average stack of chips at any point in the tournament and would have gone largely unnoticed, had it not been for his early elimination and subsequent walk of shame, wallowing through nearly 2,000 players packed like sardines inside the bustling Pavilion Room, at the Rio Las Vegas.
When asked to explain the humiliation, Porter snapped, “What can I say? I ran out of chips. I didn’t want to leave. But once I was out of chips, they wouldn’t deal me any more cards.”
Along the rail, Porter was welcomed by another former gold bracelet winner, licking his wounds and sharing his bad beat story with anyone in the surrounding area who would listen. Ken Aldridge, a used car salesman from North Carolina, couldn’t even outlast Porter.
When asked to comment, Aldridge said, “I hope to make it past the first level next time. I can’t believe Rep Porter finished higher than me in this event. Please don’t tell anyone, okay? That would look really bad if that were to get out.”
I appeared on the TwoPlusTwo PokerCast yesterday with hosts — Terrence Chan and Mazin “Msauce” Khoury. I’ve known Terrence for many years, both as a friend and a colleague. We once worked together at PokerStars. This was my first occasion to be on the air with Mazin.
Early in the interview, Terrence asked if I still get excited on the eve of the World Series of Poker, which officially begins today. Until that question was posed, I’d never really thought much of “getting excited” when it comes to working and covering big poker events. Sure, there once was a time early on in my career when I did get emotionally wired up, especially before the poker boom when I used to fly to Las Vegas every year and to cover the WSOP and hang out with lots of interesting characters. Those memories are priceless. But after you do that for a while, it gets old. Even the Beatles got bored with each other. All things must pass.
My anticipation of, and enthusiasm for, what’s about to take place at the Rio Las Vegas over the next six weeks certainly has not diminished any. Rather, it’s shifted. The game has changed. And I’ve changed, too. Now, I’m more interested in the people who I see and meet more than anything else — not just friends including players and fellow media, but the very best staff in the poker business. One recognizes there’s an espirit de corps amongst every WSOP workforce each year, which consists of more than a thousand dedicated people, many who travel to Las Vegas at their own expense from all over the country, working three shifts around the clock, with minimal complications, maintaining order amidst the chaos, especially when considering the enormousness of the entire operation. To me, what they manage to do isn’t just amazing. It’s a miracle.
There’s clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right.
Here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.
— Stealers Wheel (1972)
The 2015 World Series of Poker hasn’t even begun yet, and already I’ve been hit up for money in the hallway.
Seriously — what the fuck?
The world’s biggest poker event doesn’t begin until Wednesday at 11 am, but the panhandlers and parasites are apparently already patrolling the corridors of the Rio like it’s the gold rush, targeting the saps and suckers.
Earlier today, I was coming out of a meeting when I heard my name yelled from about 30 feet away. That happens to me frequently and usually, it’s either a loyal reader of someone I know in poker. Occasionally, it’s my annoying bookie who wants his money, in which case I pretend not to hear him and hastily scuffle off in the other direction. This particular face looked vaguely familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it exactly.
I don’t usually care much for engaging small talk, but since I was walking in the same general direction, we engaged in pleasant conversation for a wee bit until I came to a big glass exit door heading out towards the parking lot.