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Ivey In World Series of Poker Final Table Could Boost Ratings
CNBC.com | July 16, 2009 | 11:54 AM EDT

The World Series of Poker has turned into a tremendous property for ESPN over the years. It’s basically the sporting world’s version of the lottery, with a little bit more skill attached.

The plot works something like this. Guy you never heard of wins millions of dollars. He then quits his job to become a professional poker player.

All great stories.

Chris Moneymaker wins $2.5 million in the 2003 event after having his entry fee paid for by winning a $39 online tournament.

The following year, Greg Raymer, a fossil collector with strange holographic sunglasses, takes home $5 million and quits his job as a patent lawyer.

Producer and talent agent Jamie Gold wins what might go down as largest prize ever when he wins the $12 million prize in 2006. He eventually had to give some of that up after settling a lawsuit with a man who claimed Gold made an agreement prior to the event to split the prize.

If the World Series of Poker or ESPN has any issue, it has been that the Cinderella story is getting old. But luckily, this year, all the cards will be in their favor.

The final table shaped up last night. It includes nine players, many of whom have good stories to tell. There’s Steven Bagleiter, a former head of corporate strategy for Bear Stearns and a self-employed logger from Oakland, Md.

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