The World Series of Poker 2009 officially starts today at noon in Las Vegas. Poker players from around the world have been arriving over the past couple of days in preparation for the world’s largest poker tournament series. Just as Vegas gears up for the series, some flights were delayed in and out of Vegas while President Barack Obama was arriving in Sin City.
The last woman standing during the ’07 WSOP, Maria Ho, commented about the President’s arrival via Twitter, “President Obama just landed in Air Force One at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas delaying our flight for an hour!”
Tiffany Michelle Twittered, “It’s not every day you get 2 watch Air Force One & Mr. President land at the Vegas airport. Guess it makes my delayed flight 2 LA suck less.”
The president was in the Poker Tournament Room at Caesar’s Palace last night, but there were no cards being dealt. Instead, he was there to help raise money for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s re-election fund, along with about 200 supporters who paid around $4,200 a couple. The president was of course given the Rain Man suite. As he stated, “I thought I had a good room at Caesar’s, but now that I am president they upgraded me. They have been stashing away a really nice room. It’s like one of those high-roller rooms. And now I have it because I am president.”
Not everyone is so happy to see President Obama back in Vegas, however. Nevada Governor, Jim Gibbons, even refuses to meet with Obama, stating, “…I am not interested in a handshake and a hello from President Obama. I am interested in an apology and a plan to undo the damage the president did.”
The damage he is referring to is the estimated millions of dollars that were lost because of a statement the president made concerning large corporations, specifically banks that received government funds, spending money on trips to Las Vegas, among other things. “You can’t get corporate jets,” said Obama. “You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime.”
With the start of the WSOP, Las Vegas is no doubt ready for the influx of players, supporters, and spectators that flood the city for poker’s most celebrated event. Event organizers as well as businesses all around the city are of course hoping for huge crowds, and have reason to believe that this year’s event could be larger than last year. They have added some additional tournaments and special events, such as Thursday’s 40th Annual No-Limit Hold’em Tournament, with a buy-in of $40,000 and Saturday’s lower buy-in $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Tournament. Soon enough we will know how badly, if at all, the economy has affected the World Series. For now, though, we can look forward to those four words that poker players always love to hear, “Shuffle up and deal.”