Okay, so most of the Seinfeld poker jokes were already made five years ago when Jason “George Costanza” Alexander first appeared in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event as a “Friend of PokerStars”.
But this year, the guy’s really been in the spotlight. As the WSOP tournament nears its conclusion, Alexander may be finally out of the action, but he far outlasted other celebrities and even professional poker pros this year.
The icing on the cake: Alexander has used his celebrity and newfound status as semi-poker pro to speak out against the UIGEA and the United States’ ridiculous online poker laws.
“A penny a hand per player could solve the national debt in two years,” Alexander said a few months ago, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “People want to play this game. There is no reason why they shouldn’t.”
Of course, some were quick to question Alexander’s logic. Onlinecasinosuite.com wrote that “his math might be a little bit off,” and some at the Two Plus Two poker forum think it’s straight up stupid.
But the math isn’t the point. Jason Alexander’s still a big star in the U.S., and now that he’s proven himself to be a bona fide Main Event-quality player, too, comments like his will only help the greater U.S. public realize the importance of regulating online poker.
Playing the (affiliate) angles
Again, why should poker affiliates care about the World Series of Poker? Here’s your answer:
- The WSOP is all over the media, from ESPN to Facebook, helping to increase online poker traffic
- Many rookie poker players dream of winning a WSOP entry (and striking it rich) by qualifying online.
And that last point isn’t just a pipe dream: It’s exactly what Chris Moneymaker did in 2003, and it’s what thousands of other online players have come close to doing every year since.
Yesterday’s WSOP chipleader was a 26-year-old who played online poker full-time. And one of the weekend’s eliminated players, Reza Kashani, is a Californian who paid his own way into the tournament “after just one year of playing poker,” reports PokerNewsReport.com.
“They all come from amazingly different backgrounds,” agrees Jason “George” Alexander, “from guys who are driving trucks to kids who are a year into college and drop out so they can play on the internet, to guys like Doyle who were playing this game when there were guns on the table.”
That kind of rags-to-riches (and outlaw) mentality is what fuels the WSOP’s popularity, and it can be a powerful conversion tool for affiliates who know how to speak the language.
At the moment, about 50 players remain in this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event, whittled down from the much larger number of 6,865.