Top Five Poker News Stories from 2008 that Never Happened
THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2008-12-28, by Ozone, TwoGunSince this is the last Weekly Shuffle of 2008, it seemed fitting to recap all of the major happenings in the poker world from the year. But quite frankly, 2008 was kind of a boring year for poker. That's fine by us. In fact, we went so far as to request such a thing at the start of the year. But recaps of boring years don't make for very enjoyable reading.
So instead of reminding you about all the mundane crap that took place this year, like the governor of Kentucky going on a witch hunt against online gambling, the WSOP final table being pushed back four months, and the European Union taking strong positions against state-run gaming monopolies, we decided to to write about more exciting stuff. Sure, these things might not have actually happened, but it's kind of fun to pretend that they did. Without further ado, here are the top five news stories from the poker world in 2008 that never happened:
1. Obama makes overturning the UIGEA a key point in his campaign
American poker players felt a sense of vindication in June when Presidential candidate Barack Obama declared in a debate that one of his major objectives as President will be to overturn the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act. As he shared in a debate with rival John McCain, "It's simply not fair that bills, such as the UIGEA, are able to piggy-back their way onto unrelated initiatives in Congress. When I'm President, one of my first orders of business will be to overturn the UIGEA. If Congress wants to send me a similar bill that was passed on its own reconnaissance, I would consider signing it. However, I will not allow laws to exist in this nation that were created in a surreptitious manner."
Poker pro Doyle Brunson praised Obama's decision saying, "I might vote for that young lad after all." On news of this, Party Poker's share price jumped 65% since it appears the company will be able to re-enter the U.S. market.
2. Full Tilt poker pros arrested
Several members of Team Full Tilt, including Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, and Chris Ferguson, were arrested by federal agents in Las Vegas on charges of running an illegal online gaming enterprise. It is believed that the settlement made by Party Poker founder Anurag Dikshit with U.S. officials gave the Department of Justice legal footing to go after the Full Tilt operators. The DOJ was able to gain access to to information regarding the inter-workings of Full Tilt when former team member Clonie Gowen filed a law suit that listed all Full Tilt owners. Armed with a list of owners and backed by new legal precedent, the DOJ finally made their move against Full Tilt by raiding seven of the owners' Vegas residences.
Although the DOJ's position in this case seems strong, it is still a risky move on their part. If the Full Tilt owners win their case, it would send a signal to other firms that operating in the U.S. is now fair game. However, victory may be all but assured for the DOJ. Reports have surfaced that owner Mike Matusow is willing to testify against his peers in exchange for avoiding a second trip to the slammer. Matusow told reporters, "I ain't going back there. I'll do whatever it takes. Poor Cunningham isn't going to last a week. He'll get passed around that place more than a bag of Oreos."
3. Pot-Limit Omaha replaces Texas Hold'em as the most popular poker game
What some have been saying for years was an inevitability finally became official in September: pot-limit Omaha surpassed no-limit hold'em in popularity. "I've been saying since 1993 that Omaha will one day be more popular than Texas Hold'em, I just didn't think it would take this long!" said poker player and commentator Mike Sexton. "When it comes down to it, Omaha is just more fun," commented poker pro Gus Hansen.
Omaha's summit to becoming the most popular poker variant was made possible when the "poker boom" finally reached Europe last spring. It was beginning to appear that the poker boom would never make it to Europe, but the game soured in popularity when a biographical documentary on Barack Obama was aired throughout Europe that mentioned he is a fan of the game. In the day following that documentary, traffic to online poker rooms spiked by 28%.
4. Michael Phelps follows up 8 Olympic gold performance by reaching the final table of a poker tournament
After winning eight Olympic gold medals in the Beijing games, Michael Phelps showed the poker world that his thirst for gold-related prizes in unquenchable. In October, Phelps began participating in poker tournaments in Vegas. In the second event of the Caesars Palace Classic, a $1,500 buy-in, Phelps reached the final table but took a bad beat to be eliminated in 9th place. The $5,200 payday was but a small taste of poker glory that awaits Phelps if he begins to take the game seriously.
Oh wait... this actually happened!
5. WSOP Main Event won by a female
Oh... who are we kidding? For that to have a chance of happening, it would imply more than seventeen women in the world play poker seriously. No, Annie Duke does not count as one of those seventeen ;).
The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.
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