The Adventure for Poker Gold
From the drama TILT made by ESPN to the deal Chris Moneymaker signed with Death Row Records to create Moneymaker Gaming, business continues to create strange bedfellows. Everyone seems to be trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the poker rainbow. Things are moving so fast in the poker world to where anyone can become famous for 15 minutes. But for success, luck favors the prepared.
The industry of Internet webcasts of player action from casinos and poker rooms is stepping forth for a share of the multi-million dollar pie. In a deal with The Bicycle Club in Los Angeles, Las Vegas based iStreamPlanet is betting that people are willing to watch not just tournament action 24/7, but regular players in different poker games. Plans are in the works for deals with Vegas casinos for providing poker webcasts to prospective Internet subscribers that number just over 800 million.
The World Poker Tour organization who helped explode poker on TV has now started the WPT Boot Camp for anyone who wants to learn from top professionals how they can win big. The WPT has also instituted the "Family Poker Resource Center" so that the entire family including the kids can play the game of poker. On top of that they have also partnered with Wagerworks to create an online poker room for poker lovers to enjoy the game. Harrah's who beat Wall Street expectations in the 4th quarter of 2004 with an impressive 118% gain, retained former CBS Sports President Neal H. Pilson to expand World Series of Poker broadcast opportunities. Pilson states that, "The World Series of Poker is one of the most valuable sports properties on television today." This deal could be worth billions. And online poker rooms are also making an average of $2 million to $2.5 million per day as part of the poker industry.
And what is the average man and woman doing to cash in on the big money? Well, after Annie Duke won the 2004 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, women are coming to the table in droves. (Prior to this, women WSOP champions like Nani Dollison, Debbie Burkhead and Barbara Enright were little known.) Annie let the world know that good "female" players are actually good players period. And with the attraction, the money, prestige and fame poker can bring a successful player, (Gus Hansen was voted one of the top 50 sexiest men alive by People magazine in 2004), the books, tapes, cards, chips and tables are flying off the shelf into the hands of men and women. This is making retailers very happy.
In areas where land based poker rooms are not available, quick minded individuals have either opened up their homes or bought homes and have people playing poker inside of them, if the local laws will allow for such. And yes, these residential homes are packed with poker players. Some for the fun and others for the money. And for those who do not have these "poker homes" in their area, they play online. With multiple tournaments given by online poker rooms, some players have admitted to playing 4 tables at once on their computer. Everyone from college students to corporate executives to moms who are trying to earn a couple of bucks are taking to their PC's trying to grab their portion of the gold.
All this heated activity has some saying that the trend is on the downside of the bell curve. But businessmen, businesswomen, corporations, and those who love the game state that with America having over 50,000,000 poker players, things have just begun to get started and that the golden ring will be within grasp for those willing to reach for it.