Wednesday, April 25, 2007

WPT Championships Day 3: Tilt-a-Phil

By Pauly

"Fuck!" screamed Phil Hellmuth as he slammed his fist on the table after the pot was being pushed to Shawn Buchanon.

Hellmuth had been on fire despite having Carlos Mortensen and Gavin Griffin at his table. Just a few minutes earlier he was the first player past the 1 million chipmark. Before that hand was dealt, his stack topped 1.5M after he took two big pots off of Paul Lee with K-K and a set of 10s. Hellmuth was calm and in control until that hand. Then he exploded.

I took this photo moments before the blowup

Here's what happened. Hellmuth raised under the gun to 20K and Buchanon reraised to more than 50K at the CO. Hellmuth called as the flop was 10d-6d-3h. Hellmuth check-called a 120K bet. The turn was 7d and both players checked. The river was the 9c and both players checked again.

"I got a pair of sixes," announced Hellmuth as he tabled As-6s. Buchanon flipped over K-7 for a pair of sevens.

"Fuck!" screamed Hellmuth as he slammed his fist on the table.

I still can't tell if those outbursts are genuine or fabricated. Regardless, for the next twenty minutes, Hellmuth put on a show for everyone in the Fontana Room. He spoke so loudly that you could have heard his whining across the street at the Paris casino. A wall of media surrounded his table as he berated Buchanon.

"This motherfuckin' kid just bluffed off 200K to the best player in the world! Nice play, genius! There's no way you are going to last the day," Hellmuth said as he pointed at Buchanon who was sporting a retro Boston Redsox Ted Williams jersey.

"Playing against the best players in the world and bluffing off your stack with K-7? Nice play genius," he continued. "You're supposed to be busted."

"Who's stacking the chips, Phil?" needled Amnon Filippi who sat at the adjacent table.

"Sit down you baby," another pro shouted.

Hellmuth ignored the catcalls from the other tables and stood up.

"Sucking out on me? I can see right through your soul," he said as I tried my best not to laugh. "I'm at the top of my game and you suck out on me. He looked right at me and I saw it in his eyes."

"Learn to take a beat," said Buchanon who was visibly rattled after waking up the sleeping giant.

"Everyone knows not to bluff me. They tried yesterday. Time after time and I picked them all off with Ace high. Bottom pair. Second pair. Didn't matter. I always knew when the were bluffing. Make sure you write that up on the internet," he said as he pointed directly at me.

"I'm playing for $4 million and history, pal. What are you playing for?" the Poker Brat continued. "The way you're playing you won't last the end of the day."

Hellmuth's verbal tirade lasted over thirty minutes as he would not let up. His table was next to be broken up and he pleaded with the floor person not to break them up.

"I got to get my chips back from that donkey," he said.

Side note... Buchanon would end up busting out in 57th place winning $46,410 while Hellmuth was moved to Raymond Davis' table. Davis would take the chiplead for a while before Hellmuth made a rush near the end of the day to finish up as the chipleader with 1.8M in chips and 54 players remaining.

The big story on Day 3 were the rapid fire bustouts. Although 212 players started the day, the money bubble broke as some of the bigger names in the field failed to cash such as Phil Ivey, Jen Harman, Chip Reese, Billy Baxter, Shannon Shorr, Gavin Griffin, Erica Schoenberg, My Main Man Freddy Deeb, Isabelle Mercier, Amir Vahedi, Allen Kessler, Joe Sebok, Berry Johnston, Vinnie Vinh, Andy Black, Martin De Knijff, Jamie Gold, Hoyt Corkins, Jani Sointula, Liz Lieu, JC Tran, David Singer, JohnnyBax, NeverWin and Nordberg.
Here's the payout list:
1: $3,970,415
2: $2,011,135
3: $1,082,920
4: $696,220
5: $464,110
6: $309,405
7: $278,465
8: $247,525
9: $216,585
10: $185,645
11-15: $154,705
16-20: $123,670
21-30: $92,820
31-40: $77,350
41-50: $61,880
51-100: $46,410
Noteworthy players who cashed included Ross Boatman, Barny Boatman, Joe Tehan, Humberto Brenes, Lee Markholdt, Bob Stupak, Anna Wroblewski, Ram Vaswani, Bryan Devonshire, Sam Grizzle, Melissa Hayden, James Van Alstyne, Sammy Farha, Johan Storakers, and David Daneshgar. They took home $46,410 each.

Vanessa Rousso
Photo courtesy of Flipchip

Everyone kept an eye out for the Poker Pixie (as dubbed by Otis). Anna Wroblewski was among the chipleaders to start Day 3. She was trying to make the money along with attempting to be the last female standing. She took out Isabelle Mercier. Liz Lieu was eliminated when she tried to bluff at a pot on the turn. Jen Harman busted out early followed by Erica Schoenberg who cashed in last year's WPT Championships. Although Melissa Hayden was shortstacked and not catching any cards, she outlasted everyone except Anna and made the money. Hayden was freerolling into the event after winning a seat in the Super Satellite the day before the event started. Hayden is currently 10th on the Women's All Time money list and has made 3 final tables at the WSOP.

The Poker Pixie's run ended when Grant Lang rivered a flush on her and she finished in 70th place.

"I was impressed with how she played," mentioned Phil Ivey in an interview with PokerNews. "She's tough to read and mixes up her play a lot. And she's a presence at the table. That's a good thing."

With the final table set for Friday, there's three days of poker scheduled with only 54 players remaining. There's a small chance that they could get down to 6 players by the end of Day 4. Tournament officials will have to make a decision during play on Wednesday. It would be nice to get a day off or having a very short day on Thursday.
Top 10 in Chips:
1 Phil Hellmuth (Palo Alto, CA) 1.827M
2 Raymond Davis (Commerce, CA) 1.704M
3 Loi Phan (San Marino, CA) 1.419M
4 Kirk Morrison (Topeka, KS) 1.327M
5 Roland De Wolfe (London, England) 1.287M
6 Thomas Wahlroos (Helsinki, Finland) 1.189M
7 CK Hua (Rosemead, CA) 1,041M
8 Carlos Mortensen (Las Vegas, NV) 939K
9 Mike Wattel (Phoenix, AZ) 935K
10 Ian Johns (Seattle, WA) 862K

15 Sorel "imper1um" Mizzi (Toronto, Canada) 703K
16 Abe Mosseri (New York City, NY) 646K
17 Tim Phan (Westminster, CA) 646K
20 ZeeJustin (Los Angeles, CA) 625K
24 Paul Wasicka (Boulder, CO) 558K
25 Jimmy Tran (Las Vegas, NV) 550K
28 Bill Gazes (Las Vegas, NV) 510K
29 Lyle Berman (Minneapolis, MN) 501K
31 Jared "TheWacoKidd" Hamby (Henderson, NV) 494K
35 David Oppenheim (Los Angeles, CA) 424K
37 David Levi (Las Vegas, NV) 360K
39 Mikael Thuritz (Stockholm, Sweden) 333K
43 Danny Alaei (Las Vegas, NV) 278K
47 James "KrazyKanuck" Worth (Toronto, Canada) 230K
48 Praz Bansi (London, England) 219K
49 Mark Gregorich (Las Vegas, NV) 197K
54 Patrik Antonious (Las Vegas, NV) 38K

* * * * *

Bouncin Round the Room on Day 3

Before Day 3 started I walked into the bathroom and saw Paul Wasicka trying on a baby blue Full Tilt hat. He normal wears a magnetic logo but left it at home. "Guess I'll have to go with the hat today," he said.

There were two Chops sightings in the Fontana Room in consecutive days. Chops from Wicked Chops Poker fame and now was checking out the scene. I love Wicked Chops Poker...

Change100 and I ate breakfast at the Bellagio's cafe behind the conservatory. We had a nice seat along the rail overlooking the flowers. She opted for the Bellagio omelet which is filled with Maine lobster. Jani Sointula sat at a nearby table.

When I set up my laptop in media row about thirty minutes before the start of Day 3, I overheard two dealers talking about poker they played off the Strip. They each shared bad beat stories. I decided to come up with a rate sheet to hear bad beat stories:
Liz Lieu = Free
Readers = $1
Dealers = $5
Bloggers = $27
Pros = $100
European Pros = 100 Euros
Just before the action began, Shecky told me that he saw Phil Ivey at the Fontana Bar buying a watch from some guy wearing a PokerStars shirt.

Sweet Sweet Erica

Erica Schoenberg wore a white silk shirt and black shorts. She also has a pink iPod mini and might be the sweetest person in poker.

In his interview with Poker News, Phil Ivey said that he's only playing two WSOP events this summer. Guess which ones?

"They think I'm an idiot," imper1um told LeAnne our new PokerNews reporter. No one at his table knew that he was the number one ranked online player in the world. At the end of the day, he was 15th in chips.

At one point play was suspended as officials "went to the tape" to figure out a chip discrepancy. I got an unexpected fifteen minute break so I sprinted to the sports book with Benjo. The French kid is my new sidekick. I'm thinking about adding him and Snoopy to my NYC entourage with Derek, The Rooster, and F Train. Anyway, I got Benjo hooked on sports gambling. I feel awful because he's down since the trip started. Everything we bet on goes to shit. I even made him cash out all of his $50 bills and get new ones. I told him about Grubby's superstition that $50 are bad luck. He told me that it is tough to get $100 bills from French banks because of all the counterfeit issues. Anyway, we lost on the Nets-Raptors game. Spread was 5 and Nets lost by 6. Merde!!

I think that I got a waitress fired because she refused to serve me (either water or mineral water - I go to the bar to drink booze) on two consecutive days in media row. All the other waitresses brought me Perrier or bottled water. One even told me to take back my a tip. Anyone who's been around me knows that I'm a generous tipper. For some reason that one waitress snubbed me. She really set me on tilt when she actually pretended to take my order than never brought me anything. I metioned that to one of the floor supervisors that I know. He said that some pros complained too and that he'd pass along the complaint. We never saw her again. I wonder if they'll ever find the body...

Once the money bubble approached, for some reason security guards were letting in spectators which was a nightmare. Sometimes I see how casinos run things and I'm amazed at their decisions. With $4 million on the line, you figured that the Bellagio would ban all spectators and rope off certain areas. But that didn't happen.

The Poker Shrink almost pummeled a reporter from a different outlet. If you have never met the Poker Shrink, he's one of the nicest guys that I've met. But he's also a big dude. I definitely wouldn't want to piss him off. That guy was lucky I talked the Poker Shrink down. Otherwise he would have gotten an atomic wedgie been tossed into the Bellagio lake.

Foiled Coup showed up with his German stripper friend, who wore a lime green Marilyn Monroe dress. He was still sans camera and hoped that James Van Alstyne would bring one in for him.

Amy Calistri and I did a dial-a-shot at the Fontana Bar with AlCantHang.

Shronk told me that he saw Ray Davis shooting dice with Davidson Matthew and Amnon Filippi on one of the breaks. Davis was still in the tournament and was late a few minutes getting back to his seat.

At one point Gavin Smith was doing chipcounts for PokerWire. It's a tough life. One minute you're a millionaire. The next you're broke and doing chipcounts on Roland de Wolfe. I'm joking about Gavin being broke. Then again, when you drink as much as he does and throw around a ton of cash in outrageous prop bets, I'm shocked that he's not busto.

Linda Geenen dealt in the Fontana Room during the last level. I had not seen her yet on this trip but I barely spent any time in the poker room. She gave me a big hug.

I lost $20 doing coinflips with Gaz. Talk about a bad beat. I called heads and tails fell. So rigged. By the way, Gaz told me a hilarious story about getting pulled over by Las Vegas police. Gaz is an Aussie and staying at a friend's house while he's away on business. Gaz drove Hux's car from the Bellagio to the house.

"Hux tells me if I get pulled over, the registration and insurance is in the glovebox," Gaz said. "Sure enough, I got pulled over about 10pm on the way home tonight. I think maybe it was just cos I didn't look like I knew where I was going (I missed the turn-in to the condos) and was riding the inside turning lane a little. Anyway, the cops get out of the car and I do the donkiest thing of the year. I go to get the paperwork out from the glovebox. Cop A shouts "He's reaching!" and both cops draw their guns. My hands were in the air so fucking quick. Scary shit. I reckon if I hesitated, they shoot. So they get to car, tell me put my hands on head and get out, so I do, explaining to them I am from Australia and Australian license was in pocket. They checked it, tell me next time put my hands on the steering wheel if I am pulled over, and let me go."

Gaz was almost shot by trigger happy Las Vegas cops. They let him go when realized he wasn't a tweaker, just an Australian.

* * * * *

Don't forget to check out Flipchip's WPT Championship photos.

And you can follow the WPT Championship by visiting our live updates over at Poker News.

While you are there, peek at the Poker News extensive WPT Championship video gallery put together by our mulitmedia guru Shronk. The video gallery includes interviews with your favorite pros such as Phil Ivey, Zee Justin, Humberto Brenes, Roland de Wolfe, and Patrik Antonius.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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