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Best of John G. Brokopp

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World Series of Golf Goes All-In Again

21 August 2009

Like a Texas Hold'em poker player stubbornly betting his hand until all of the cards are on the table, Terry Leiweke refuses to fold on his dream.

Leiweke is the president and CEO of the World Series of Golf, an amateur competition which combines the athleticism of golf with the cunning of poker.

It's an intriguing concept to be sure, but one that has been slow to capture the imagination of golfers and gamblers, let alone the public at large.

This year's third annual edition, which was played May 11- 14 at the Paiute Golf Resort in Las Vegas, may be the charm.

The event will enjoy its most extensive television coverage ever with WGN America, a cable and satellite entertainment network, producing 13 original one-hour episodes of the action. The first episode aired Saturday (July 11) and will continue every weekend through Oct. 4.

When you take into account the replays, WGN America is devoting 26 total hours of programming to the event.

It's a far cry from the commercial network exposure the competition received on CBS for the roll-out in 2007 and on NBC last year, but both times the programming was limited to one weekend with only a few hours.

Cards and chips are not a component of play in the World Series of Golf, which pits outstanding amateur players from around the country.

The battle is fought with clubs, golf balls, and of course, money. Instead of keeping score, however, players make poker style wagers on their shots. The player who wins the hole takes down the pot.

Players buy into the tournament with $10,000 cash. Wagers are made on every shot. Participants ante up before each hole, then, depending on the outcome of their tee shots, they raise, call, check or fold on all subsequent strokes.

Bets are made contingent upon each player's position relative to the positions of his opponents. A shot off the tee into the rough warrants folding. A long drive down the middle of the fairway will keep the player in the game with a check or a raise on the next shot.

Players are eliminated when they go broke or when their bankroll is so depleted they cannot pay the ante on the next hole.

Each golfer who won their initial pairing advanced to the second round and recouped their $10,000 buy-in. Those who won their second round pairing advanced to the final round and were guaranteed a cash prize of at least $30,000.

The winner receives a cash prize of $300,000.

It's no secret that "friendly" wagers are a frequent component of amateur and recreational golf, which is one reason the format for the World Series of Golf is so intriguing.

The idea of playing golf with a Texas Hold'em poker wagering format has been a difficult sell as far as appealing to a broad audience, but Leiweke isn't giving up.

His dream is to create an impact similar to what the World Series of Poker has done. Maybe this will be his year.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp