Sunday, September 14, 2008

What Has Changed In Poker Since 2003?

I was surfing on for new Blu-ray discs when I stumbled upon the WSOP 2003 DVD on sale for $10. I figure it's worth $10 to collect a bit of poker history.

As I watched the DVD, many random thoughts went through my head. I thought I would share some of them and reminisce about days gone by.

1. The fields were drastically smaller. There was one episode where Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, and Dan Harrington were all at the same table during the Main Event. ESPN would kill to find a table like that now. 3 former champions randomly at the same table in the middle of the tournament. That may never happen again.

2. The play seems so weak tight. In 2003 there was a lot of limping in with small pairs and suited connectors. Nobody seems to ever raise with a draw or heaven forbid check raise. Chris Moneymaker seemed to be the only one who ran any crazy bluffs and got away with them because nobody knew who he was. I had forgotten how bad the bluff was that eliminated Amir Vahedi at the final table. He moved in with no pair, no draw against Sam Farha. If you're hoping to find a fold, you should look somewhere else. Farha was by far the loosest player at the table.

3. How might 2003 been different if Phil Hellmuth's Queens held up against Jason Lester's Jacks with about 30 players left? If Phil wins the Main event, does Ultimate Bet become the number one poker site? Barely anyone had an online poker site on their clothing in 2003. I did not see one hat for Party Poker.

4. Who in their right mind would go to Binion's to watch the final table? Back then they did not have any bleachers or an overhead TV to see the community cards. They had about 10 rows of chairs set up around the table. What was there to watch?

5. Whatever happened to Jason Lester? Did he go back to trading options? Answer: I checked the Hendon Mob DB and actually he's done quite well, including winning a WSOP bracelet in Pot Limit Hold'em. I guess he must shun the limelight because I never see him on a major poker broadcast.

6. I had forgotten that ESPN actually had 7 episodes of coverage. They only repeated the final table ad nauseam over the years so I had forgotten about all the early coverage. I believe this was a big jump for them and possibly the first time they had shown something other than just the final table.

7. Does Robert Varkoni curse God every day that he won in 2002 instead of 2003?

8. Norman Chad is introduced as a writer and tournament player. Did he ever win anything of note? His name is absent from the Hendon Mob database.

1 comment:

#1 Stalker said...

Phil Ivey was the only player in 2003 to play "2008 poker" (aggression aggression aggression)...which makes you think what brand of poker he is playing now...(3 steps ahead of everyone else).