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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

The Shyster, The Bookie and The Grey Knight-errant

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With apologies to Michael Craig for my title, the final table of the WSOP, 2006 may have more poker impact than the Big Game at the Bellagio. Although, it may be more suited to a Greek Chorus than the written word, it is certainly a convoluted tale and is getting as involved as the classic tragedy.

Reality TV normally seeks to manufacture strife and exploit human nature to provide the viewer with small screen enjoyment. Poker is a purer reality--commented and edited--which present a somewhat distorted view of that reality. The WSOP and WPT are a black and white interpretation of an impressionist canvas with soft edges letting us make more of the brush strokes than a simple photograph provides. The episodic aspect of TV poker can't present the actual facts on its best day. It has limited context.

Past WSOP winners become caricatures of their real selves. Current ads emphasize that aspect using Moneymaker. A year or so after the fact, the others at a final table become bit players. This year's final table seems to have become as important as the win. It keeps broadening and showings us bits of reality beyond the scripting.

It is not like poker isn't all about our greed and competitive nature. Poker is combat and that combat isn't limited to 64 squares with defined pieces. The subtlety of poker translates more to Sun Tzu than a Mayberry experience but it is structured around a table that we sit at and then leave to carry on our normal lives. For some at the WSOP table this year, they cannot get up. Reality here goes beyond a poker moment.

We are going to see a lot more of this tale. It is still in act one. By the time it ends there will be books and magazine articles and news magazine - print and TV - coverage that will be all over the various issues. Many will approach with a preexisting bias that will not place the game in a good light. There is just too much dirt coming out to fail to attract The Inquirer type media.

The most balanced view of this-should it happen-isn't going to be a glowing look at poker; too much of the unattractive edges are in view. But, hopefully, it may differentiate between those edges and the reality many find in their poker experience. Poker isn't fair and players are never expecting fairness. Sadly, the unfairness of 'real' reality will impinge on poker's popularity. If that doesn't end up affecting us all, I'd be shocked. Interesting times are ahead.


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