WSOP November 9 final table starts tonight! (Hopefully I get to see it on TSN somewhere.)

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The World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event resumes this week at the Rio in Las Vegas, as the nine remaining players go into battle at the final table. For profiles on who is playing, here’s a piece from PokerNews. Also, here is a profile of Mark Newhouse who has made the November Nine for two years in a row.

As part of the festivities Canada’s Daniel Negreanu was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. Anyway, that was the weekend. The “November Nine” starts tonight.

As of right now, however, I have no idea if I will even be able to watch it on TSN! Apparently they are showing NFL and MLS playoffs tonight on their five — count ’em — five TV feeds, but they will be airing the WSOP feed from ESPN on not a single one of them. Instead, we are told they will have a stream available online. Well, they better make it available to everyone and not just to the usual Bell customers, otherwise I’m going to be mad.

Apparently the second night and the likely crowning of a winner will be on TV tomorrow night, which still does us all no good tonight. As an aside — isn’t it ridiculous that in Canada, where we get inundated with poker shows ad nauseum on TV and where people can play online poker on PokerStars, PartyPoker, 888 and the rest everywhere in the country, we can’t even watch the WSOP final table tonight live on TV? Meanwhile in the USA, where online poker is banned in 47 of the 50 states, the whole nation can watch it on ESPN?! This is more proof that the human race makes absolutely no sense.

Now, an important event like the crowning of a new Main Event champion causes me to pause and reflect on the “state of poker”. Frankly, I am just totally down in the dumps about the entire state of the game, particularly online.

It’s all because of what happened in the aftermath of the Black Friday site shutdowns in the USA and the whole attempt towards legalization and regulation afterwards. There was all this talk from the poker people about the coming “second boom of online poker” due to regulation coming in the USA. But only three states have any licensed online poker now at all – Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Moreover, the other states have been moving at an absolute snail’s pace. If I were an American online poker pro, I’d give up completely on ever returning to the USA and just keep on playing in Mexico or Canada — where, I should add, life is probably better anyway.

Moreover, the lobbying against online poker from the likes of the land-based Las Vegas casinos has been intense. Folks like Sheldon Adelson have been leading the charge against all online gaming and will stop at nothing at having it banned in every state. What’s worse, he has pretty much the entire Republican Party at his feet, begging for his donation money.

I don’t believe for a moment his altruistic claims about how this is going to prevent kids from being hooked on online gambling and all that. This is, in my opinion, only about greed and his own self-interest.

Still, I truly think the anti-online people are winning the battle down there. Heck, this is the Uptight States of America we are talking about. Look who just won the election! The GOP! And they’re full of no-fun types of people who hate all forms of gambling!

Frankly, the entire political climate in the USA is a big problem for the online poker folks. I don’t like it, either, and I don’t know what can be done about it. But to me, I see no signs of any poker “boom” happening in the USA — quite the opposite, in fact — and worse, I even see retrenchment happening in other countries (ie. Singapore.) I think online poker folks will be lucky if they just hold on to what meagre gains they’ve made the last year or so in the USA in places like New Jersey and Nevada. Sorry, but I’m calling it as I see it. The good old days are definitely long over for the poker fans.

Anyway, I’ll be tuning in the WSOP action tonight, assuming there is something I can tune into.

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