Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008 | 7:15 p.m.
Spectators are welcome to watch the action at the World Series of Poker final table at the Penn & Teller Theater, free of charge, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Due to high demand, however, as many as 250 people have been lined up outside the theater at any given time since early Sunday morning, waiting for space to become available inside. The theater is configured to seat about 1,000 spectators for the tournament.
The unprecedented 117-day delay before the final table contributed to the demand driven by supporters of the nine finalists as well as poker fans, World Series of Poker commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said.
"Even more than before, there was a greater sense of anticipation for the final table," Pollack said. "Before, it wasn't as easy for the players to bring their family and friends here en masse."
Members of the seemingly ubiquitous cheering section for Dennis Phillips are easy to spot with their custom St. Louis Cardinals baseball caps tricked out with various poker-related logos.
One vocal supporter of Muscovite Ivan Demidov, the current chip leader, presents an image that would have once seemed incongruous but now probably just reflects the international essence of poker. While cheering Demidov on as he tries to win $9.1 million in a poker tournament in Las Vegas, this guy regularly stands up and waves a red flag with the traditional hammer-and-sickle insignia ... at the same time he happens to be wearing a New York Yankees jersey.