July 13, 2005

Countdown to Boone

I have never seen a group of fans so excited about the acquisition of a guy hitting .231. Mariners fans spent the entire first half complaining about Bret Boone and talking about how done he was, and with one trade now an entire group of fans thinks he just had a bad few months and is surely set for a big second half.

So while the baseball world breathlessly awaits the beginning of the Bret Boone Era in Minnesota (for the love of Cuthbert, people, don't get your hopes up!), here are some quick poker notes and a link to my article over at The Hardball Times (which, coincidentally enough, features the Twins' new second baseman) ...

I know far too much about this year's World Series of Poker Main Event already, and the tournament still has three days remaining. Here are the chip leaders heading into today's action:

1) Tim Phan: $3,244,000
2) Mike Matusow: $2,561,000
3) Farzad Bonyadi: $2,402,000
4) Steve Danaman: $2,143,000
5) Phil Ivey: $2,027,000

Those may seem like some huge numbers, and they are, but remember that the winner will eventually have to find a way to accumulate over $56 million in chips.

While he's about $1.2 million behind Phan in chips, I think Ivey has to be considered the favorite at this point. He has over two times the average stack and is perhaps the best poker player in the world. Plus, he is without question the coolest-looking player left in the tournament.

Last year's champ, Greg Raymer, was at the top of the leaderboard for most of the tournament, but lost several big pots last night to drop below par. He is still in 31st place with $766,000 in chips though, which is a pretty amazing accomplishment in itself considering the size of the field.

With 58 players remaining out of an original field of over 5,600, here's who I'd like to see win:

1) Ivey
2) Raymer
3) Matusow
4) Tiffany Williamson
5) John Juanda
6) Yakov Hirsch

I'm rooting for Ivey and Juanda because they are two of the greatest tournament players around and I generally like to see the best man win. Raymer repeating as champion, while going through two fields that combined to have nearly 9,000 players, would be maybe the single most amazing feat in poker history. With Matusow, I just think it would be funny if the second-most despised player in all of poker (behind Phil Hellmuth) won the biggest tournament ever. Plus, I find him humorous at times.

Despite not knowing who she was until last week, I'm rooting for Williamson because a woman winning the Main Event would do all sorts of things for the world of poker, and a black woman winning the Main Event would be even better (plus, I like the idea of the WSOP champ being named Tiffany). And last but not least, Hirsch is one of the partners over at Rotoworld, so perhaps if he wins the $7.5 million first prize I'll be in line for a raise.

Today at The Hardball Times:
- Bizarro World All-Stars: 2005 (by Aaron Gleeman)
- Business of Baseball Report (by Brian Borawski)

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