ESPN beings airing the WSOP Main Event tonight at 8pm. The Main Event had three Day 1’s, and Day 1 and Day 2 of Day 1 (still with us?) are covered tonight.
Who knows what ESPN will show…except maybe the editors and program directors at ESPN. But according to TVGuide.com, in hour 1 defending champ and general bad–ass Greg Raymer will be featured, along with celebs like Shannon Sharpe (who was a Day 3 of Day 1 participant, so go figure), James Woods (same), Jennifer Tilly, Peter Parker, and Shannon Elizabeth (who eventually went down in a four-way). If we knew what the expression meant, we’d bet our bottom dollar that Sam Farha knocking out Oliver Hudson on THE FIRST HAND will be featured in hour 2. Just a hunch.
But we imagine some of the real flavor (yes, flavor) that made the WSOP ME so interesting will be left out. So just in case they decide to show nothing but all-ins at the featured table, here’s some shit you may miss…
:: The dork in the Elmo head. 10k buy-in. Chance to win $7.5M. Early stages of the tournament. Lots of fish. You can build a stack quickly if you buckle down and concentrate. So of course, the logical thing to do is don a big Elmo head to strike fear in the competition. As seen at right, some over-sized dork decided it’d be funny to try and play the biggest tournament in the world while wearing an over-sized Elmo head. Why risk doing something stupid (aside from the Elmo head) on poker’s biggest stage just for a few giggles? You can debate the merits of its funniness among yourselves, as we know some people thought it was genuinely funny. That’s fine. But we were there when he was asked to remove the head. And seeing a grown man being told he can’t wear an Elmo head was actually pretty sad.
:: For celebs, poker is the new cocaine… Man, celebs love playing poker. It makes you think what celebs did (other than blow) before the poker craze. Sure, Tobey Maguire’s hiding-from-photographer-theatrics were juvenile, but at least we know he’s got game. His bud Oliver Hudson we’re not so sure about. Brad Garrett was respectable, as was Shannon Elizabeth. JTill earned much respect too, as has James Woods, although to a lesser degree. In fact, it almost seems like many of these celebs are doing better at poker than at their chosen profession. But hey, the ubiquity of celebrities in poker tournaments enhances the image of the game, so we’re all for it.
:: Raising Hellmuth. Like death, taxes, and something else inevitable, we all knew it was inevitable. That’s right, a Phil Hellmuth blow-up. And on cue at the featured table, Hellmuth did not disappoint. Even had he not stopped by and talked to Wicked Chops Poker during his 20-minute-meltdown, Hellmuth’s sucked-out blow-up was still the highlight of Day 2. Since they can’t show it all, read all that went down in Raising Hellmuth Parts I, II, and III.
:: The emergence of Crazy Brit Barry Paskin. We’re sure he’ll get some face-time during Day 2 coverage, when he was continually begging for his poker life to continue…while people seated next to him were begging him to change his shirt. But we were there at the genesis of Crazy Brit Barry Paskin when he was just…Foul-Mouthed Barry Paskin. Early in Day 2, Paskin dropped an f-bomb and was forced to go to time-out for 10 minutes. We spoke with him right after he was reprimanded. He only moderately smelled at this stage. By the end of Day 2, you might be able to smell him through your TV screen. That bad.
Check for us in numerous background shots of the featured table and sweating pros as they’re on death watch. Pretty sure we’ll be in it a bunch. And supplement ESPN’s airings with more detailed looks at what happened through our Wicked Chops Poker WSOP Main Event coverage. If nothing else, we’re a whole lot funnier than Norman Chad.