Posted: Saturday July 9, 2005 3:58PM; Updated: Sunday July 10, 2005 2:29PM
The SI jinx lives. Scurrying in and about 200 poker tables looking for one man is a little bit like searching for a needle in a haystack. Then, just after 6 p.m. I came upon former Louisville basketball coach Denny Crum, who is profiled in this week's SI. Just as I approached his table I heard, "All in!." Crum, who was down to his last $2,500 in chips, went all in with a Q-K. Everyone else at the table folded except one player, who had pocket queens. The community cards came up all low cards and Crum was knocked out.
"I got nothing better than pocket eights all day," Crum said afterward. "Well, I did get pocket aces on the second hand of the day, but everyone folded, so I only wound up getting the big and small blinds."
2003 WSOP champ Moneymaker played yesterday. Clad in olive green cargo shorts and a black short-sleeved shirt, Moneymaker has that "Dress Not To Impress" look down. Something straight out of the John Walters' Collection. To look at him is to understand why poker's popularity has grown exponentially. There's that unmistakable "If he can do it, I certainly can" feeling you get when you see him. Sort of the same feeling I used to get watching former New York Yankee futility infielder Luis Sojo slap base hits in the World Series. The difference, of course, between Moneymaker and Sojo and the rest of us is that they actually did do it.
At the WSOP expo Friday, the folks at PokerBlue.net employed a shrewd gimmick to get passers-by to stop at their booth. You could pull up a chair and play Texas Hold 'Em against a young, nubile PokerBlue rep. If you beat her, she lost her shirt (literally). Whereas if you lost you only surrendered the free chips that they had given you. There were at least half a dozen PokerBlue reps walking around in nothing but bikini tops.
Maybe it's a sign of the apocalypse, or maybe just a sign of how outrageous the poker boom has become: also at the expo, Antonio Esfandiari retro jerseys (in the style of hockey jerseys) were on sale for $39.99. I'm thinking, What might an Amarillo "Slim" Preston or a Doyle Brunson jersey be worth?
In Celebrity Poker Showdown news, Tobey Maguire (Spiderman), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Jennifer Tilly (Bullets Over Broadway) have been knocked out. Mimi Rogers, who once played the role of Tom Cruise's wife and was aces in her appearance on CPS, survived the preliminary round. Tilly, by the way, won the WSOP's No Limit Texas Hold 'Em Ladies Event and a $157,625 prize last week. The 1994 Oscar nominee (ironically, she portrays a horrible actress) had this to say to USA Today earlier this week about her poker jones: "I'd rather do this than be in some crappy movie that will end up on cable." Tilly, 46, dates poker potentate Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, who is 33.