The 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event finally debuts tonight on ESPN, with the coverage focused on the first few days of the tournament when poker's premier event seemed to hold so much promise to not suck and possibly catapult the game into the mainstream spotlight at a time it desperately needs it.
Celebrities like Tobey Maguire, Montel Williams, Sully Erna, Brad Garrett and Old School director Todd Phillips built up impressive stacks early, big name pros were among the chip leaders, and despite Joanna Krupa being a no-show, new WCP fave Deanna Dozier (aka "Dee" - in photo at right) and Maria Ho more than made up for Krupa's absence as they proved to be multi-talented both in good looks and good play at the table.
But in the end, like tennis star Maria Sharapova in bed, the Main Event ended up disappointing despite all signs suggesting it wouldn't (seriously, how can a long-legged Russian girl that screams every time she hits a tennis ball be like a "dead frog" in bed?). Spidey shunned ESPN cameras and the media as he went deep. The pros, despite five past champs being still in the hunt with just over 200 players left, began to drop one by one as the final day neared, Maria Ho turned the field ugly when she went out in 38th and perhaps most disappointing, Scotty Nguyen went busto in 11th place, turning what could have been the most memorable final table in recent Main Event history into one of the most lackluster and unremarkable ones ever.
As the headline says, our pick for the star of tonight's coverage is singer/songwriter and actress Dee Dozier, who's about as pretty as they come and whose precious demeanor at the table captivated both those around her and the media early on and has repeatedly been shown on ESPN's promos for tonight's coverage.
We asked Dee yesterday what it was like playing in her first Main Event:
"I was a nervous wreck. I have a feeling when they air the coverage on ESPN people are going to think I'm like a freaking jumping bean. I can't sit still, even if I'm not involved in the hand, I'm nervous for everyone at the table. My gosh it's such a rush. I never bore. Not once was I bored during the Main Event."
And what it will be like seeing herself on TV tonight:
"I'm so excited but I'm so weird and goofy that I'm pretty sure that I will say some stupid things and make funny faces and really embarass myself. Could be entertaining!"
Entertaining likely, but we're guessing her nervousness at the table will come across more endearing than embarrassing. Stay tuned as we'll be featuring an interview with Dee soon on Wicked Chops Poker.
So again, it all starts airing tonight on ESPN, and this week and next just may be about as interesting as it will get. For our coverage of the early days of this year's WSOP, go here and here.