While the arrival of Bad_IP and the commencement of a $50,000 celebration of poker's excess might not seem to have much in common, in many ways they present an interesting contrast between the two factions in that obvious poker dichotomy that pits live players versus their online counterparts, or to a similar extent, the old versus the new.
Basically, the H.O.R.S.E. event consisted of nearly 150 of poker's elite, and the tournament had the railbirds to prove it. The royalty of poker and nearly all of the recognizable faces (save Jonathan "FieryJustice" Little defeating Cory "UGOTPZD" Carroll at the Mirage Poker Showdown. Carroll defeating Justin "Looshle" Pechie at the Caesars Palace WSOPC event.
Oh yeah, and Eric "Rizen" Lynch, Sorel "Imper1ium" Mizzi, Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo and legions of faceless avatars crushing WSOP events before heading up to their hotel rooms to multi-table high stakes ring games for hundreds and thousands per hour.
Maybe Seidel and Co. have too much money to worry about multi-tabling, or have just lost interest in the game. Their attendance records speak otherwise, however. More likely, then, that they've simply been unable to adapt to the Scandinavian LAG/ADD style that is making college dropouts into millionaires without the need to live in Vegas or play the circuit, or even leave their parents' basements.
There are exceptions to this argument, of course. Gus Hansen and Patrik Antonius straight kill online, and Antonius final tabled the H.O.R.S.E. event last year. FullTiltPoker pro Allen Cunningham is not a multi-tabling icon but could possibly be the best cross-generational player in the world. But these exceptions are few and far between, and don't speak to the general state of the two pokers in the current era.
On Friday, then, while it will be easy to crown the new H.O.R.S.E. champion the greatest poker player in the world, it's probably more accurate to look at the event as a barometer of the relative strength of poker's most visible superstars, the relics of the live games and of Binion's Horseshoe and the pre-hold card era. The greatest poker player in the world, in this day and age, is a myth; until Doyle and Chip and T.J. rake their last pots, there will always be two pokers and thus two (at least) champions.