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Low-key Big Celebration

9/7/2008
The World Series of Poker is a constantly evolving tournament that is never the same two years in a row. Buy-ins, total entrants and four-month gaps in the Main Event aside, the rulebook behind the scene also gets constant edits and upgrades. And one in particular implemented this year could have explosive results as “excessive celebration” is strictly forbidden.

Now, what is deemed “excessive” is a bit of a grey area, and over-the-top entrances like Phil Hellmuth rocking up to the Rio in full General Patton regalia are still okay, but once seated and the cards dealt, it’s all business.

With a riding crop, helmet studded with 11 stars (one for every WSOP bracelet he’s won) and a regimen of 11 sizzling hot girls in tow, Hellmuth, as a promotion to the Ultimate Bet Army, upstaged himself from last year’s debacle when he arrived in NASCAR garb and proceeded to smash into a concrete barrier with his race car.

At press time, the 1989 Main Event champion made it through to Day 2 of the Main Event with a healthy chip stack.

“I’m glad he didn’t crash this year,” said World Series of Poker commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. “If Phil was able to make an entrance that is bigger than anyone else’s entrance and do it without injuring himself or any of his colleagues, I think that’s a good thing.”

But according to the new WSOP rules, that’s where it being a good thing ends as any celebration to match or accentuate his attire will be met with penalties even an 11-star “general” couldn’t combat. But it doesn’t stop with Hellmuth. Mike Matusow and Tony G better keep themselves in check as well.
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