With the WSOP becoming what it has, you would suspect that many shrewd corporate types would be coming up with angles to get some exposure at poker's biggest event. You may recall our story here that Pokerstars have put Shaquille O'Neal into the WSOP, and while clearly a stunt, at least Shaq is a competitive guy who will give it a go, and is not going to take well to losing, even at something he knows little about.
Now we learn that a man has auctioned himself off as "signage" on Ebay. The player, Jeremy Enke agreed to wear a pink bunny suit, and wear the suit the entire week of the main event, not just when playing. The bunny suit will be embroidered with the logo of the online casino that does these kind of nutty things. Apparently, Jeremy has played a fair amount of poker, but very little of it while wearing a pink bunny suit (though, to be fair, we can't see him when he is playing on the internet at his house....so maybe)
The "plight of the pink bunny" got me to thinking. Imagine the sheer circus the first three (day one, flights 'A', 'B', and 'C') will be. Forget about the bunnies, aging (but still dominant) centers, and the other people that corporate America is going to put into the WSOP. Let's think for a moment about the, um, "characters" that are going to populate the main event this year.
Last year, anyone wearing a zany, kooky, or possibly even madcap outfit got camera time. I can only see this launching many an ultra kooky idea in the heads of many ultra kooks out there. I think we can look forward to many an outlandish get up, and some that may be too outlandish. I hope some shred of integrity can be salvaged for the WSOP, an event that in many people's opinion is up there with the greatest of any competitive events on the planet. I trust that Ken, and the WSOP crew will reel in the stuff that would do no more than demean the event that Benny Binion founded out of passion.
The WSOP is, after all a poker tournament. The biggest poker tournament of them all, in fact. I hope the focus can be on the poker, and not the circus, and I hope media entities like ESPN will focus on the cards, the players, and the personalities, and not the stunts. The Superbowl has in many ways become more of an event for corporate America than for the NFL, or the teams involved. But somehow the Super Bowl is still covered in a way that seems to be focused on football, at least after kickoff. I think once the actual tournament gets underway, and we're out of day one (all three of them) the WSOP will be great poker, and great drama as it always is.
Make no mistake, unique personalities are one of the things that make the poker world so diverse, and so great. I am certainly not suggesting that we remove any of the color out of the game, lest we wind up like the PGA. There is a fine line between color, and gimmick, however, and I hope that we can have a great World Series that won't need to be held next year under the Big Top.
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