Who among the 2011 WSOP November Nine grabbed the Good for Poker title?
It’s that time. It’s time for $240 worth of pudding. It’s time for our annual Good, Bad, or Meh for PokerTM column.
This year reminded us a lot of 2007 (minus Tobey Maguire acting like a douche). Coming down into the final 150, there were a lot of “name” pros and “big name” pros. But they started dropping like flies. And when the dust settled, we were left with this.
Within the industry, 2011′s final table is definitely better than 2007. But while the casual or mainstream fan may not know, well, anyone at this final table, it doesn’t mean that it’s a total disaster either.
Keep in mind, none of the below is a reflection of if somebody is a good guy or not. We base the Good, Bad, or Meh on whether or not we think the individuals will be a good ambassador for the game and has a hook or story that can cross-over to mass media and grow the game. In particular this year, given the legislative climate, we see the “can he demonstrate that poker is a game of skill” storyline being a key determining factor.
With that out of the way, here’s how we see it.
Good for Poker
Ben Lamb – This was a snap call. Lamb is the current WSOP Player of the Year. He’s got loads of personalities. The pros respect his game. He’s got a good-looking girlfriend. He can pound alcoholic beverages. But most of all–at a time when from a regulatory, legislative, and general public perspective–he does great for the aforementioned “poker is a game of skill” argument.
In that regard, the WSOP Main Event is running great the past few years. The best player in the game, Phil Ivey, final tabled 2009. The guy who should’ve been WSOP Player of the Year last year, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, made it last year. And now the guy who is going to be WSOP Player of the Year this year coasted to the final table.
Lamb seems like the guy everyone in the poker community can rally behind this year. The mainstream media can easily tell his story: Lamb gave up drinking as a prop bet during the summer and finally got hot and fulfilled his potential. Plus, the guy who was playing the best poker this WSOP made the final table of the Main Event. Makes sense. Easily packaged. Wrap it up. Tie a bow around it.
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