As I mentioned in my last post, there was a lot of resistance to Harrah's decision to delay the final table of the WSOP. A quick glance at the nine players left seems to validate this radical idea.
Here are the names: Ivan Demidov, Peter Eastgate, Kelly Kim, Craig Marquis, Scott Montgomery, Dennis Phillips, David "Chino" Rheem, Ylon Schwartz and Darus Suharto.
This has to be the most anonymous final table in the history of the World Series of Poker. These massive fields actually make it more likely that the last table standing will be full of a couple foreign players, a couple minor online or casino pros and a couple players from the Friday night home game.
And if the final table started right now, I'd have absolutely no rooting interest.
This is the sports fan in me talking. I like to pick a side and root for it. If I'm watching any competitive endeavor, I'll choose a favorite. That's virtually impossible when I have absolutely no idea who these people are.
Over the next few months, we'll have plenty of time to find out what each of these men has to offer the poker world. None are likely to create a new Moneymaker effect (only Tiffany Michelle could have done that and, thankfully, she and her UB patch are gone). So that means they can fall into a few different categories:
The Gentleman Champion
I kinda think this is where we find Joe Hachem and Greg Raymer. Both are very good poker players who have been tremendous ambassadors for the game since winning their bracelet.
The Jackass Champion
Jamie Gold, anyone? I hated the way this guy played the game and I hate the way he promotes himself. Thankfully, he's shrinked back a bit into the shadows. Although, I'll admit, it's been great seeing him get smacked down on High Stakes Poker. Everyone loves villain... I suppose.
The Invisible Champion
Is Jerry Yang still alive? I suppose it was a great story, seeing this man, so devoted to helping others, living the American dream, win the WSOP. But he's virtually vanished.
The Lucky Champion
The day I win it all, I'll clearly fall in this category. It's where we find Robert Varkonyi. Anyone who's seen the (poorly produced) WSOP final table of his victory knows just how fortunate he was to see his hands hold up. Of course, anyone who wins this event has to be lucky a few times... but Varkonyi's luck was so great he rarely ever gets any credit for whatever poker skill he may have.
It's impossible for me to say right now which categories these players fit into, but that's the beauty of the final table delay. We've got months to see what each of these players has to offer. And that will make the final table that much more interesting to watch come November.