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Tobey, Teitelbaum and Gold portend WSOP future
Nothing on earth has quite the same heady musk as the World Series of Poker Main Event - high-powered celebrity cachet and larger-than-life poker personality fused with just the right mix of amateur hucksters, aging showmen, softball superstars and their collective lust for fame and fortune.
Or, um, however you might describe it.
Whatever you decide on, though, if you wanted a little taste of it, you could definitely find it in the air of the Amazon Room today.
Case in point: the Tobey Maguire effect.
Dressed in a black hoodie and keeping his usual low profile, word that Maguire did in fact hit the tables today for Day 1 of Event #45, Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em, leaked out rather slowly.
But as it did, and filtered its way through the halls of the Rio, the railbirds began to filter in and peruse the room with both the strained anticipation and subsequent blissful reward that can only come through celebrity spotting - a portent of what's in store for the Main Event of course, celebrity players and celebrity gawkers now as much an element as the poker itself.
Case in point two: the Jamie Gold effect.
Dressed in his now ubiquitous Buzz Nation hat and black shirt, Gold stormed his way to a huge chip lead in the early levels of the Six-Handed event, employing exactly the same kind of strategy that pushed him all the way to the Main Event Championship last year - he talked his way to it.
Only this time, he had a few railbirds to show off for.
The thing Gold is most excited about for this year's event: they've brought the F word back in to play, with no penalty imposed for an odd, undirected outburst of cussing.
How pleased is Gold about it?
"F-ing A," he said, to anyone who would listen. "I can say Holy F*** as much as I want this year. It's F-ing great.
"There's gonna be a lot of beep beep at the Main Event, I tell you."
Case in point three: Ezra Teitelbaum.
Not to be confused with some of the other "characters" who show up at a WSOP Main Event for some camera time, Teitelbaum is actually legit - the New York City-based player has made it deep in a few poker events around the States and cashed in a World Series before, tying for 66th in the 2005 No-Limit Shootout.
But Teitelbaum - who hit the felt today in the Six-Handed event and actually held his own across the table from Tony G. - is exactly the kind of character that will get face time when the cameras roll. With his bow tie, cream loafers and green and yellow diamond socks, he's one of the chosen ones who get a moment in the sun for a few short minutes during the Main Event.
Or maybe longer even. Whether he actually is or not, he's clearly hit on perhaps the most intimidating persona you can have at a high stakes poker event - math genius.
When he tilts his head back and moves his lips a little, like he's running some numbers in his head, who's gonna have the nerve to call his raise?
Whatever the case, we'll find out soon. It's definitely wacky hat season.
Despite today's precursor, however, the $10,000 Main Event doesn't kick off until July 6.
When it does, though, PokerListings will have wall-to-wall coverage in our Live Tournaments Section.