As day worked into evening on the third Day One of this year's World Series of Poker, one part of the current poker explosion has had quite a serious presence on the scene at the World Series. The number of online poker room shirts that populate the Amazon Room is tremendous and not just from the major online sites either. It isn't strange to see a table simply covered with seven or eight online poker players and there quite honestly are some rooms that I have never heard of that have sent players to participate in this year's event, continuing a tradition that started back in 2002.
With this influx of new blood, however, there are also the appropriate miscues along the way as well. Because of Harrah's dislike for anything with a "dot com" in its name, many of the players have had to decorate their shirts, hats and jackets with (hopefully) matching color tape that eliminates the offending "com" from being picked up by a camera. While this is a little bit of a hassle to the players, it is perfectly in line with Harrah's not wanting to offend the government in this time of pending legislation with the online situation. Thus you will see quite a few poker rooms without the "dot com" that you have come to expect.
Another problem that has popped up is in the inexperience of online players in the live game. When they play online, all that has to be done is a quick mouse click and the bet (or raise) is made. It's a little different in the live poker world, however; on many occasions, floor personnel have been called to tables to explain to players that they simply cannot chuck their chips into the pot and have that be their action (raise, call or otherwise). According to the Tournament Directors' Association rules (which the World Series is played under), a player must make a verbal declaration of their action prior to single oversize chip entering the pot. If there is no such declaration, then the action is taken as a call. This has been a tough lesson to learn for a many of the online players that have made this mistake and, if they can make it to Day Two or beyond, it's a mistake they won't continue to make.
As the players stepped out of the Amazon Room to head to their dinner break, there were some casualties to report. It looked as though only about a quarter of today's players have been eliminated, but the call of "seat open, Table XXX" is beginning to become more prevalent. Mike Matusow, Lacey Jones and Jennifer Harman have made their exits but Matusow will have some screen time when the Main Event comes to television later here in August, as he was at the featured table for his time here. When you watch him play, be sure to look for the online player that is sitting next to him. He barely looked old enough to drive, let alone step in a poker room! It's just another indication of how the online world continues to influence the live poker world of today.