There are some new kids on the block and they want to play some poker.
The new group is the World Poker Players Association (WPPA), and I learned a little of their plans when I talked with WPPA spokesman Louis Asmo and how those plans would affect The Orleans poker room.
I’ve been friends with Asmo for years and we’ve spent many times playing cards across the green-felt tables. So I was happy to hear of the deal the WPPA struck with The Orleans.
But first, a little background. A few years ago there was an annual poker tournament held at the Gold Coast. When Michael Gaughan built The Orleans, the poker tourney was moved to the West Tropicana casino and became known as The Orleans Open.
As many senior poker players know, Carol and I have hosted our Seniors Charity Poker Tournaments at The Orleans for years.
Thus, it was exciting news to hear that The Orleans and the WPPA are teaming up to host a series of blockbuster poker tournaments appropriately called The Majors of Tournament Poker.
A tentative schedule of events include:
”¡ The WPPA Championship of Poker, Sept. 20-Oct. 6
”¡ The Tournament Players Championship of Poker (The TPC), Nov. 4-21
”¡ The Memorial Championship of Poker, Jan. 9-28
”¡ The Master Championship of Poker, March 11-28
”¡ The World Championship of Poker, May 1-31
”¡ The U.S. Open Championship of Poker, July 1-31
And, yes, all my ageless comrades, we have been invited to host a seniors event in each of these tournaments.
As the popularity of poker sweeps the country, it makes sense to stage these tournaments. There are so many people who see championship events on TV and it’s no wonder many of them want to test the waters in a "no limit" game.
New card rooms are opening every day in order to help meet the demand to play casino-style poker. The Golden Nugget just opened a beautiful room and Bally’s opens its poker room next Monday. And just a couple of weeks ago I flew down to christen a new card room at the Isle of Capri casino on the banks of the Mississippi. (I even won the first pot in that new card room!)
Online poker has also helped fuel the poker craze. The estimates of how much money is transacted through Internet poker sites is staggering — it exceeds "bricks and mortar" poker rooms by billions of dollars a year. Even seniors have a poker site (seniorpoker.com), where they can learn the games, play for free or play for small stakes.
The series of tournaments that the WPPA will stage at The Orleans is only part of the effect this new poker organization will have. In a future report, we’ll look at tournament structure, TV rights, ethics and payouts established by the WPPA.
Until then, I’d like to offer Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip of The Week, which comes from my pal, the Grand Old Man of Poker, Johnny Moss.
Johnny always said, "To learn any poker game, you have to play with the best: the ones who play every day."
Thanks, Johnny, for all the poker lessons you gave me. And save me a seat in the big game up there — and make sure it is on your left!
Until next time, stay lucky.