Gary Wise, poker columnist for ESPN.com, writes :
Two weeks before the 2009 World Series of Poker main event, 55-year old Kent Senter was lying on his couch after a particularly tough session of chemotherapy. Senter, a former shipping manager at Lowe's, had seen his hours and disability insurance cut back the day before being diagnosed with multiple melanomas. Clinging to his life, he and his wife Patty had used up their savings to the point where staples like TV, phone service and food on the table were becoming less than a sure thing.
Patty arrived home from work one day, and whispered to Kent the last words he would have expected to hear: "You'll be going to Vegas."
As it turned out, so too would she, along with the three youngest of their four children for a 2½-week adventure that couldn't have happened were it not for the kindness of strangers.
"It was about two years ago," said Senter, now unemployed. "I had an old shoulder injury that kept getting worse. It felt like it had separated. I had the doctor look at it and he was concerned. He took an X-ray and thought I had cancer. In the meantime, I was in the process of transferring from New Jersey to Pittsburgh, so they referred me to an oncologist there. He gave me a clean bill of health, told me I was just getting old."
It turns out the doctor's mistake may end up costing Senter and his loved ones as his doctor explained that he only had six-to-24 months to live.
"It's just the amount of caring I've seen," said Kent. "You know, it's unbelievable. After WSOP tournament director Jack Effel made an announcement about me, I got a standing ovation. Strangers came up to me and wished me well … so many strangers. They see what I'm going through. The passion they had, the caring … it was unbelievable. It really picked me up. I just can't say enough. I have to wonder if there's any other community where people would care so much."
Here are some of Cory Zeidman's thoughts on the negatives of the 2009 WSOP, as published in All In magazine (Volume VI, Issue 7, 2009) :
"But it gets worse. During his opening announcements, Effel also informed the room that one of the participants had just recently been diagnosed with cancer. I thought that Effel was going to follow with something positive about that person maybe finding out the cancer was in remission, but no, Effel was asking for a round of applause for this person having cancer and participating in this event. Look, I feel horrible for this poor guy who has cancer, but at the start of my Main Event I didn't need to be reminded of the people I know or knew who have or had cancer. We're there to play poker, have fun, and compete for millions of dollars; we're not there to be depressed. Lots of people play in the Main Event who have handicaps, or have recently received bad news about their health. There's no reason whatsoever to single this guy out and ruin our mood like that.
Effel needs to get a clue. Maybe next year, before he shows up at the Rio, a visit to the Land of Oz with the scarecrow is in order."
Cory Zeidman wears Full Tilt insignia in public appearances (eg. Poker After Dark). I cannot reconcile this with other Full Tilt pros like Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst, who host annual "Bad Beat on Cancer" fundraising tournaments. I strongly urge Full Tilt to disassociate themselves from Mr. Zeidman.