Who would you rather?
Well, we’re kind of at a loss here.
The 2008 WSOP Main Event will come down to a Russian vs. a Dane, with Ivan Demidov going heads-up against Peter Eastgate sometime around 10pm tonight.
Barring some info on either that we don’t know about yet, we can say that neither of them would be categorically bad for poker.
But we’re not sure if either would be categorically good for poker either.
Which, like last year when that one guy beat the other guy, they are more likely just categorically Meh for poker.
The good news is that neither appears to be a fluke, like the guy who won last year. Demidov finished third at the WSOP-E Main Event, cementing his poker creds. Eastgate appears to be the real deal too. If Eastgate does win, he’d break Phil Hellmuth‘s record as youngest Main Event champ, which would get some decent press among the so-called poker media and maybe some mainstream pubs.
But bottomline is neither is a U.S. American, a woman, or a particularly dynamic personality. Daniel Negreanu they ain’t. So we can’t see either moving the needle much and getting more than a few die hards excited. More likely, the winner will be greated with a collective "meh" and shoulder shrug from the mainstream public.
Outside of the soon-to-be rich Demidov and Eastgate, the big winner in this is really Poker Stars, who can promote the hell out of these guys in Europe, where poker is still booming and where these two may have some broader appeal.