For those of us who are not living in the United States of America, it is hard to grasp just how big the poker explosion has been there. My latest trip to Los Angeles had me shaking my head in disbelief. The National Hockey League players strike has led to the cancellation of their season. Has anyone noticed though? They certainly would have noticed if the LA Cheri Casino Poker Classic had been cancelled.
Upon arrival, the cab between LAX and my hotel passed numerous freeway billboards such as, ‘Watch Hold ’em on TV, Play Hold ’em at The Commerce Casino’, ‘The Moneymaker’, ‘Wednesday Night is Poker Night on The Travel Channel’. A string of huge advertisements for online casinos, live cardrooms, poker on TV and even a poker soap called ‘Tilt’!
Having collapsed into bed for 8 hours recovery sleep from the long haul, my wife turned on the TV the following morning. Flicking through the channel she came across some peroxide blonde geezer wearing a bright green bet365poker shirt. I was on ESPN 2! She was well impressed. Right now, the American public just cannot get enough poker. The WSOP Omaha final table has been repeated between two and five times a week constantly since it first showing last June. How on earth can you watch the same final table twice? Surely the result is the same every time?
I walked into the Commerce to register for the ‘PPT’ freeroll event. For me, it was just a free entry with a shot at winning part of a $500,000 prize pool. An unthinkable opportunity two years ago. I was in for a surprise though. It is much more than that to the American public. Invites to PPT (Professional Poker Players Tour), are restricted to the 200 Cheri Casino top ranked poker players in the World. To the American public, this was an all-star tournament. TV cameras were everywhere (well there were at least four anyway). My biggest surprise though, was the groupies clutching their ‘Poker Aces’ books. The blonde hair probably made me the easiest recognisable player in the book, but none of the autograph hunters had a chance of pronouncing ‘colclough’.…