Tuesday, November 08, 2011

World Series of Poker Championship Tonight

Tonight, the final 3 players left in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event will play each other live (well, 15 minutes delayed) on ESPN starting at 9 Eastern. I've thoroughly enjoyed the way ESPN is now covering poker with this unedited style. The tension is increased as we don't get to see the players' cards until the hand is over, and we get to see the smaller battles that set-up the huge, game-changing hands. As a poker fan, that's much more entertaining than just watching Ace-King go all-in against pocket 8s and seeing who wins a 50/50 hand.

Here are the three remaining players:

Pius Heinz (Germany):
Heinz has a commanding chip lead with over 52% of the chips in play. He nearly has twice as many chips as the other two players. He's aggressive, fearless, will raise with any two cards. His style, combined with such a chip lead make him very dangerous. He's very good at applying constant pressure on his opponents.

Ben Lamb (USA):
Lamb won a WSOP event in the summer, and is perhaps the best at reading people among the three finalists. However, he's only still alive due to some lucky breaks that saved him from his own bad decisions. He needs to either continue to get lucky, or use his reading ability to chop at Heinz's stack of chips.

He also looks like a young Tim Thomas.

Martin Staszko (Czech Republic):
Staszko is the oldest of the remaining three (Heinz is 22, Lamb is 26, Stazko is 35), yet ironically has the least amount of poker experience. He's a solid, level-headed type of player that understands game theory well (he's a world renowned chess player). He understands situations, but has occasionally struggled to understand the people he's playing against.

For Heinz to win, he needs to avoid disaster. He needs to prevent himself from being too aggressive and bluffing off his chips. It's a fine line, because he also needs to put the pressure on his opponents.

For Lamb to win, he needs to take his time and not let Heinz win all the small pots. Lamb needs to wait for an opportunity to take a big pot. He has plenty of time, so long as his chip stack isn't steadily decreasing. He needs to tread water and wait for the right time to strike. He needs to attack Stazsko in order to keep himself afloat.

For Staszko to win, he needs some cards. If he gets a few big hands, hits a few flops, he's skilled enough to extract maximum value from good fortune. But if he's not getting any cards, he'll see his chips slowly leave him. The other two players are more aggressive, and Stazsko might get run over if he doesn't either get cards or change his game.

I think Heinz will win. He has the chips and the proper set of skills to use them.

Missouri to SEC*

It's official, The Missouri Tigers will be joining the SEC, and will become part of the East Division. Even though there will only be two SEC teams west of Columbia, MO (Texas A&M and Arkansas). The SEC now has 14 teams, and we'll all see how well that works before leagues move toward 16 teams.

My big question is, when will conferences start dropping teams? That, from a legal perspective, is so much more difficult to do. But does Vanderbilt belong in the SEC? Does Iowa State deserve to be in the Big XII?

The musical chairs continue. The Big XII can afford to lose Missouri because they've added TCU and West Virginia. They'll still have ten teams, and could add the likes of Louisville. Or why not Houston?

So now the SEC's territory spreads from Gainesville, FL to College Station, TX. From Baton Rouge, LA to Columbia, MO. From Lexington, KY to Columbia, SC. And now in the SEC there are now three teams named "Tigers," two named "Bulldogs," and two playing in towns called Columbia.

Who's next for the SEC? If they decide to expand to 16, why not target Texas and Oklahoma? Or maybe Miami and Virginia Tech. In all the inter-conference maneuverings, the SEC has been the most desired conference to be in. Nobody has left the SEC, and their options for expansion are the most extensive.

Bruins Win Third Straight

After starting the season 3-7, the Bruins have won 3 straight. They pummeled the Islanders 6-2 thanks to some hot streaks that were extended.

Horton scored twice, Krejci and Lucic scored, and Seguin scored a goal. In his last 7 games, Lucic has scored 7 goals and 5 assists. Sometimes Lucic goes through frustrating slumps. But when he pushes himself, when he skates, the goals come in bunches. And he leaves an imprint on the game.

Did you know Tyler Seguin is 7th in the NHL in scoring? He's scored 8 now, and has 69 games to score 3 goals in order to match his total from last season.

The Seguin-Bergeron-Marchand line was fierce last night. They were a few inches from scoring 3 goals instead of just 1.

And last night, the Penalty Killing was tenacious. Speaking of the PK unit, Paille's face will be examined by a specialist after he took a slapshot from Steve Staios.

The B's beating the Islanders shouldn't be much of a surprise. The Islanders kind of suck.

The Bruins have a slightly tougher test on Thursday when they host the Oilers, who lead the Northwest Division.

Photo Credits:
AP Photo