If one thing has surprised me at the 2007 T.J. Cloutier and watch him do his thing. In fact, T.J. may even pass on some advice on how he's managed to cash at 51 WSOP events in his lifetime.
Playing in the short-handed No-Limit Hold'em event today, the ex-CFLer woke up with pocket kings. When an ace came on the flop he explained to all those around how difficult that hand can be to play.
"Queens or jacks you might be able to get away from, but kings are tough to lay down," he said.
What other game allows you that kind of access. The NBA sells courtside seats, but they can be upwards of $500 a pop. Entrance to the Amazon Room at the Rio is absolutely free.
Plus, where else can you chat with a celebrity while they're on the job. You can't just walk onto a movie set and watch an actor like Tom Cruise work. Wait for him outside the hotel he's staying at and you might even get maced or end up with a restraining order. In the poker world it's a whole lot different.
Funny twist however, even Hollywood personalities like Jennifer Tilly and James Woods, who have embraced the game of poker, have bought into the love fest with the fans. Woods was knocked out of an event pretty quickly the other day, but he was certainly willing to discuss his misfortunes with those on the other side of the ropes before his exit. Word is Jimmy loves to talk poker and is always willing to chat to anyone with an affinity for the game.
Poker is as hot as it's ever been and the players are just as accesible now as when you could chat with them in the smokey confines of an old school downtown Vegas cardroom. The players ought to be applauded for keeping it that way. For not letting the newfound celebrity status go to their heads.
However, I'm going to end this blog with a word of warning. If poker fans want to keep the game this open, they have a responsibility too. Don't sweat these players. If they ask to be left alone for a moment, give them some space.
One of the great things about poker is that you too can be the next big celebrity. Pony up $10,000 for the Main Event, get a good run of cards and you're in the club. So think about what it would be like if you were in their shoes and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
That way we keep the game great, and player and fan interaction like nowhere else.