PokerNews hostess Gloria Balding has been covering poker for close to four years, and for the past 14 months she has traveled the globe in search of the top five things you won't see at a poker tournament. Of course, with all the research she's done, she also lets us know what you will see instead of what you may be missing.
What you will see: Well, Steve Jobs has not yet come up with smell-o-vision. Be thankful for this. Until he does, the best way to describe a packed Day 1 of any tournament is RIPE. Not in the juicy peach sort of way but in a garbage-strike-in-Chicago-in-the-summer sort of way. You’ve been warned.
4. Subtle clothing
What you will see: Ed Hardy and Affliction T-shirts decorated with more rhinestones and general opulence than the Hapsburg Empire circa 1914 in a look-how-much-I-can-overspend-for-my-clothes sort of way. Admittedly the dragon, ninja and tattoo motifs are meant to toughen the look of the most pithy online players, if by “tough” you mean Barry Manilow and by “look” you mean the disco ball at Studio 54. Highly reflective clothing that may or may not conduct electricity should only be worn if you plan on space travel. OK, Guy Laliberté gets a pass.
3. Intellectual literature of any kind
What you will see: Poker biographies. The latest poker bios from your favoritish poker players are usually sold near the registration desk at any tournament. Usually, the books expound on the author's descent into assorted vices, for example, hookers, horses and Ed Hardy clothes (see above), only to be saved by poker. The lack of outside reading material is strange considering the number of JDs and MBAs among poker players whose super powers, if used for good, would make the World Bank look like a country club. Oh, and please refrain from silently judging while the author of said poker biographies is playing craps at 3 a.m. in a random casino surrounded by hookers or horses or both. You don’t know what the writer has been through unless of course you’ve read the book — then judge away.
2. PokerStars Team Pro Antarctica
What you will see: Team Pro Asia. There has to be some sort of explanation for this. The flags are a good thing. It highlights, in a palpable sense, the growth of poker worldwide. Now, it has been awhile since I crushed my local risk game, but isn’t Asia a rather large area? Why would such a broad label be given to the Team Pros from countries with alphabets that make tattoos for disenfranchised college students? It is even more confusing since, politically speaking, Asia isn’t known for getting along like My Little Ponies on Earth Day. In contrast, take a moment to think about Uruguay. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Yeah, it’s hard! And since most of you probably confused Paraguay with Uruguay anyway, it’s all the more strange that Uruguay gets a flag patch. On a more sensitive note, yes I mean that, it’s awkward that Asian players are walking around with “ASIA” on their arm. As one player shrewdly asked, “Do they think we can’t tell?”
1. A slew of chicks with sponsorship deals from consistent results, perseverance and hard work
What you will see: A slew of poker guys without a sponsorship deal in spite of consistent results, perseverance and hard work. The winnings of some of these guys are equal to the GDP of most lesser-developed countries. At every tournament, there are patched cute girls who are getting their a photos taken “playing” poker while getting schooled by the kid to the left. Meanwhile, the patchless player is pulling down so much money that the cute girl thinks he is datable — at a table at Tao — after three bottles of Cristal. I know this is meant to entice more women into poker, but the idiocy of putting merely adequate players on a pedestal, just because their double helix has XX chromosomes, is not doing anyone any favors. If you insist on burning my bra over this, at least let me take it off first.