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25/06/2007 No. 31
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday June 25, 2007

This morning, I ate bacon with maple syrup for breakfast, lost $500 in 10 minutes of playing blackjack, and considered buying a T-shirt with a jewelled tiger's face on it. Yes: it's Las Vegas time again. The World Series of Poker 2007.

A smaller field is expected for the main event, due to draconian changes in American internet gaming legislation. I feel sorry for the thousands who won "packages" on and (instead of collecting the usual ticket to the world championship, plus free hotel room) have been given the monetary equivalent instead. Many of them balked at actually spending $15,000 on a Vegas holiday, and simply kept the money. Financial prudence versus the chance of a lifetime; I bet they would rather not have had the choice.

One person who didn't have the choice is German professional Katja Thater, who is (like me) sponsored by PokerStars for this year's WSOP and couldn't just keep the money. Just as well: Katja is on terrific form. She made the final of the ladies' tournament, an event that has rather underlined its own outdated status in 2007 by offering the winner a free makeover. I thought it was a practical joke, but no: the organisers really did decide that a $262,000 top prize might not be enough to attract the ladies, so they threw in a lipstick lesson as well.

As if that weren't enough to show this tournament up for the anachronism it has become, Katja (after finishing fifth) went on to take a magnificent first place in the Razz; not just an open event, but one for particularly serious professionals. The message is clear, boys. At world championship level, it may be still be fun for us to have special soft fields and free mascara, but it certainly isn't necessary.

Your can read more byAnthony Holden at his website

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