(Canada Cal, on the 'Haley' soapbox for a bit longer...)
There are lots of people playing at the World Series of Poker, and there are lots of people writing about it. I'm doing neither, but I am enjoying reading the various reports, even if the whole batch does seem a bit lifeless this year.
Among the best I've seen so far are the reports filed by Gary Wise over at ESPN.com. While ESPN.com has stuck its foot in its corporate mouth on more than one occasion regarding poker, they've done something right in signing up Wise for the duration. Wise, who runs the smaller wisehandpoker.com site, hasn't been afraid to tackle a lot of the touchier subjects at this year's WSOP while still doing it in a way that's palatable to a mainstream readership. I remember reading about the popular Dr. Pauly having that gig for just a few days before that deal fell through, and while there's no way to know whether Wise is actually Dr. Pauly's replacement, it seems clear to me that Wise's work is a better fit in terms of style to what ESPN normally does.
Wise has done one of the best examinations of the Eskimo Clark situation that I've read. In it, he confirms that Clark seemed to be experiencing a series of small strokes, and he looks at the drive that a lot of players such as Clark have to keep making that push for a bracelet. The Vinnie Vinh tale also gets some ink, and Wise hasn't been afraid to step into a hornets' nest himself, as happened when he dared to talk about the bad play in the women's event. Even the final table in that was weird, with Katja Thater and Vanessa Selbst the only players willing to mix it up, while the other players sat back, imitating rocks, trying to back their way up the pay slots. Eventually Selbst went out, and just when Thater was about to run over the table, she ran into a couple of the waiting rocks' monster hands, and may have tilted a bit trying to get back to the lead. Thater, however, acquitted herself rather admirably in the razz final.
So, if you want to read some of the good stuff, give Gary Wise's stories a look. They are among the best of the year.