2001 World Series of Poker

Tue, 03 Jun 2008 02:23

2001 World Series of Poker

A summary of 2001 world series of poker.


The year 2001 proved to be an amazing year for the World Series of Poker (WSOP). It was in this year that the WSOP's multimedia makeover was immortalized. It was also the same year the poker tournament was most heralded, thanks to Spanish champ Juan Carlos Mortensen.

WSOP's television coverage technically started way back -- in 1973, the third year that this serious competition was held. At that time, there was no regular timeslot for the event, which was initially aired as a special one-hour feature by CBS in late 70s and by ESPN in late 80s. The minute coverages done by the network giants were fairly good, but because of the time constraints, the show did not actually give any justice to the interesting and exciting tournament.

The 21st century was made witness to the evolution of the WSOP coverage with the Discovery Channel joining in. Most of the coverages done at this point were highly entertaining, informative, and extensive. TV stations already carried pre-taped interviews,  player profiles, and game recaps. The innovations made in the television coverage made poker an endearing sport to the rest of the world. Satellite tournaments were also in bloom during this time with the Internet used widely as an entrance point.

Aside from live coverages and interviews, the television world made another contribution to the popularity of poker, particularly in WSOP in 2001: the introduction of the drama behind the games through a CSI episode. Titled Death in the Dessert, the CSI tale looked closely on Ted Binion's sudden death in 1998 and the mystery that lurked behind it; Binion was the son of the WSOP founder Benny Binion. To create the controversial story, Ted's live-in girlfriend, Sandra Murphy, and her alleged boyfriend, Rick Tabish, were thrown into the plot, which was even spiced up with a burglary angle.

The telling of Ted's death did not end with the flashing of credits in the CSI episode -- the story continued to live on in different forms of media. Ted's death and its aftermath were all over the newspaper and magazine pages and were consequently aired in the radio as well. From the moment the suspected couple was arrested in 1999 to their trial and conviction in 2000 to their life behind the prison bars, best-selling books trying to crack the mystery were also consequently published. One was by Cathy Scott and the other was by poker pro James McManus, who discovered his talent at the felt table when he was sent to cover the WSOP event in 2000.

More than the action that was captured by the camera lens, broadcasted through radio frequencies, and documented in published pages, the activity and excitement inside the casino remain unmatched. The year 2001 specifically celebrated the birth of a poker king from Madrid, Spain and the odds that he beat to get the $1.5 million pot. Mortensen is aggressive, fearless, and lucky -- all these traits contributed to his triumphant battle against many known professionals who already have glittery poker careers. Aside from Mortensen, there's the exciting tale regarding Phil Hellmuth's 2001 success coming right after he placed second to Chris Ferguson the previous year. Although he was not able to go home a world champion, Hellmuth's winnings in all the seven events he joined (he did not rank lower than 15) were enough to shake any big-timer's bank account.

With the popularity of the sport being played up by a controversial case and two big-time poker champs, the year 2001 surely is one unforgettable year for the WSOP.