On Wednesday night’s installment of the popular UB.com sponsored poker news show “Poker2Nite,” Victory Poker pro and 2007 Playboy Playmate of the Year Sara Underwood broke down her future in the industry.
Kicking off the episode was a recap of last week’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) media conference call, which revealed that Red Bull and Nat Nast had joined on as sponsors. Also leaked during the call was that Full Tilt Poker pro and seven-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey led the voting for the 2010 WSOP Tournament of Champions. More than 300,000 votes have been cast for poker’s version of an all-star game.
On Ivey’s popularity, “Poker2Nite” co-host Joe Sebok told viewers, “Phil Ivey has really distanced himself with his Main Event final table last year… At the end of the day, wherever the money goes is where the popularity is going to go and Ivey has that locked up.” Ivey is poker’s all-time money leader and owns nearly $5 million in career WSOP earnings alone.
Recent expansion of the WSOP Circuit to Africa and the World Poker Tour (WPT) announcing a stop in London then took center stage. Sebok, however, believed that the additions weren’t warranted: “I think it’s too much. It’s great across the world to grow poker, but how many tours do we need?” PokerStars, for example, hosts a number of different tours worldwide, including the European Poker Tour (EPT), Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), and Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT).
WSOP officials noted that pre-registration numbers for the 2010 version of the poker gala are up from 2009. However, Poker News Daily has heard rumblings that attendance in the Main Event could be as low as 5,000. Sebok remained optimistic: “The numbers are going to go up. I can’t say it enough: people love poker.” He set the over/under on the Main Event attendance at 6,932, which would put the top prize at nearly $10 million.
Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad made the move from Betfair to Full Tilt Poker in recent days. Another shakeup occurred at Bodog, where David Williams, fresh off a win in the WPT Championship, parted ways with the site. Sebok lamented, “Bad beat, Bodog. Obviously, this was a business decision made prior to David Williams taking down the WPT Championship, but it seemed like bad business to me.” Possible landing spots for the bracelet winner include Victory Poker and UB.com.
Speaking of Victory Poker, Underwood then joined the set. Kicking off the segment were highlights from a yoga session featuring Underwood and Sebok. Then, “Poker2Nite” co-hostScott Huff asked Underwood how her poker career has progressed. She responded, “I play online almost every night. I read, I watch, and I get lessons. I’ve been on a fast pace to really learning how to play and dominate.”
On the game’s appeal, she relayed, “I just enjoy it. It’s a challenge and I think it’s fun. There’s always more to learn.” Interestingly, Underwood was childhood friends with new Arizona Cardinals signal caller Derek Anderson, formerly of the Cleveland Browns. She’s fresh off competing in a tournament in Reno organized by Jennifer Harman benefiting the National Kidney Foundation. Rounding out the Versus program was a look at the PokerStars-backed “Big Game,” which filmed in recent days in Las Vegas. “Big Game” participant Jason Mercier told Wicked Chops cameras, “There’s never been a game like this where somebody is given money, they’re on a freeroll, and they have to make money. It’s going to create a whole different dynamic at the table.” So-called “loose cannons,” or online qualifiers, are given $100,000 from PokerStars and compete against five big-name pros. The series begins airing in mid-June on Fox.
New episodes of “Poker2Nite” air on Wednesdays at 11:00pm ET on Versus. With the ongoing Stanley Cup playoffs, the air time has fluctuated, so check your local listings for more information.