Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Jennifer Tilly, WSOP Champion

Jennifer Tilly will never win an Oscar, but she does have a World Series of Poker bracelet.  She just won the Ladies Event at the WSOP 2005, making her the first Hollywood name to take the title in any WSOP event.  It helps that her boyfriend is Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, one of the top pros on the circuit, who was busy at the time playing heads-up with Johnny Chan in the $2,500 Pot Limit Hold 'Em tournament (Chan won, nabbing his record 10th WSOP bracelet).

They're about halfway through the 40+ different tournaments that make up the WSOP, with the big one -- the $10,000 buy-in No Limit championship -- starting on July 7th and running for 8 days.  Word is that they'll allow 6,600 entrants, and first prize will be a cool ten million dollars.  ESPN's coverage is going to be huge this year, stretching from the middle of August all the way through November, at which point Norman Chad's head will explode.

Meanwhile, James McManus is doing a daily journal from the WSOP for the NY Times. McManus wrote the terrific poker book "Positively Fifth Street" about his experiences at the WSOP 2000, when he used his advance from Harper's to enter the big event, where he worked his way all the way to the final table, surprising even himself.