Top Stories of 2005 – Part III –
Poker = Mainstream


While the talk of its inevitable demise keeps going, poker’s popularity keeps growing.

The last of our 2005 Top Stories focuses on the mainstreaming of poker.

Cause in case you didn’t notice, poker happens to be, like, huge right now.

Lindcreek_1Consciously noting that something is “bordering on ubiquity” is almost as big of a cliché as saying something is “bordering on ubiquity,” but what the hell, poker is bordering on ubiquity.

Advertising is everywhere. PartyPoker even runs that cheap-looking-hand-dealing-cards-on-felt ad during primetime network TV now.  Guys like Chris ‚ÄúJesus‚Äù Ferguson have commercialsErick Lindgren and Howard Lederer are sponsored by an alcohol company. Trading cards are in the works.

60 Minutes even ran two features on the felt phenomenom this year.

Poker has officially arrived.

And it will stay.

Too much is at stake for it not to…

When you have major media entities like ESPN paying $20 million for WSOP distribution rights over the next two years, players with their own video gamesPmf, and public companies with market values in the billions, there are too many sources with a vested interest in poker’s success for it not to "stick."

Other trends didn’t have such backing.  ESPN never aired swing-dancing competitions in 1997.  60 Minutes wasn’t airing segments on tight-rolled jeans and big poofy hair in 1989.  Pac Man never went public (although he did have one helluva catchy theme song).

The only way you can legitimately see poker going from lava-hot to zero-Kelvin-cold is if douche’s like Senator Kyl have their way.  Or, as Dr. Pauly thinks, "Poker and gambling survived the wrath Hurricane Katrina but I’m afraid a huge online poker scandal or some bad press involving a big time pro or another major terrorist attack could affect poker’s popularity in the future."

While the explosive growth will have to slow, it doesn’t mean poker is going away.  As we’ve noted, the poker boom falls much more in line with the growth of golf than of some other fly-by-night trend.  Money dictates all, and there is some serious greenbacks backing poker now.  Players are celebs on par with atheletes.  And ANYONE can play.

And now that mainstream America knows it, poker ain’t going anywhere.  It is here.  To stay.


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