Roberto Luongo's entrance in the World Series of Poker kicked off a minor controversy in British Columbia when citizens learned that the B.C. Lottery Corporation was paying his entrance fee. A government organization subsidizing a pro athlete's offseason fun time, especially when we all know how well-compensated he is, will raise a few red flags.
That said, Luongo's a celebrity and he's getting way more publicity for the BCLC than $10,000 of marketing ever could have. Plus, for those of you concerned that the money was frivolously spent, I'll have you know that Luongo's getting some pretty good mileage out of the free ride. He's still in contention, having survived the first two days of competition at the WSOP main event in Las Vegas. From the Florida Sun-Sentinel:
The main event began with 6,598 players -- a field so large that the first two days of play are spread over three flights. Luongo finished his second day early Wednesday morning with 142,000 chips, which puts him 252nd of the 3,119 players in the total field still alive. The total field will thin some more today, when the final group of 2,267 players who made "day two" play again.
At the time of this writing, Luongo has gained 94,400 more chips and some big names -- including 2011 and 2008 WSOP Main Event champions Pius Heinz and Peter Eastgate -- have been trimmed from the field.
So how's he doing it?
There are two reasons for Luongo's success. The first is sibling rivalry. His brother, the far more fabulously named Fabio Luongo, is also in the competition, and he's doing even better. Fabio is 76th with 186,000 chips.
The second is Luongo's style, which has been described by poker experts as "conservative." Effectively, he plays poker like he plays goal, something he explains in this clip for Bluff Magazine above.
Luongo's conservative style works even better when his teammates aren't screwing up their gap control in front of him.
Anyway. If you ask me, that video is too nicely edited. Let's watch the one where the interviewer doesn't know who he is and a guy trips over the camera cord halfway through: