The mark of any sporting great is the ability to transcend their chosen discipline and cross borders into the mainstream. Michael Jordan did it in basketball, Muhammad Ali in boxing and Tiger Woods did it in golf.
Having the necessary skills to rise to the top in sports is one thing, but having the ability to rise above the niche and make non-fans aware of your presence is quite another. Naturally, athletes such as Jordan, Ali and Woods are few and far between. However, when one does emerge, a movie or a book, like Super Bowl Gold, which we reviewed, often follows.
ESPN hasn’t ‘really’ covered poker since Poker’s Black Friday online shutdown in 2011. The sport was hurt and numbers began to dwindle, in players and ratings. ESPN would show it from time to time, but without much fanfare.
The 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event final table was covered ‘live’ on ESPN (with a 30 minute delay). The drama was intense. Sweden’s Martin Jacobson, 27, won his first WSOP bracelet and took home $10 million dollars.
Jacobson defeated Felix Stephensen with pocket tens. He was quick to call Stephensen after going all-in. He ended up winning with three tens.
Jacobson had the chip lead for the last few hours, but only had seven big blinds left early on in the final table. It’s not exactly ‘a chip and a chair’, but it’s pretty darn close.
When Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker, his win inspired not only a new generation of poker players and the poker industry. Ten year later, professional poker is one of the fastest growing games in the world and has been questioned as whether it should even be considered gambling. Many that play the game know that it is a skill game and consider it a sport on part with baseball and football. The question is whether or not that the game can truly be considered a sport. Continue reading