Rubbernecking at the 2007 World Series of Poker


In some circles, famous poker players are genuine celebrities.

They don't attract the same level of attention as their silver-screen pals one state over - that much was evidenced by the animalistic wail of the crowd along the Ante Up for Africa charity tournament red carpet when Ben Affleck made an appearance, while Victor Ramdin breezed by like the rug was a moving sidewalk.

Nonetheless, the pros spend plenty of time at the Jerry Yang, might not have been a celebrity three days ago but he is now and one suspects he'll enjoy it.

Yang took the microphone with the confidence of a seasoned public speaker at press conference prior to the final table Tuesday. His words sent the media into a storm of scribbles as he gave a buttery rendition of his days as an impoverished child in the mountains of Laos, to his years doing God's work as a missionary to pinching pennies as a father of six to afford buy-ins at poker games over the last two years.

"If it is God's will, I will win this tournament," he said. The Lord responded in the affirmative several hours later when Yang took down the championship title. He'd later tell ESPN that he prayed for a set and God gave him one.

But that doesn't work for everyone in Las Vegas. If it did church bells would rival the chiming of the slot machines on Sunday morning and the pews would be the best place to spot professional poker players.


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