Monday, June 11, 2007

WSOP Day 10: Allen Cunningham Wins #5, Phil Hellmuth Seeks #11, and Negreanu Joins Team of PokerStars

By Pauly

The 10th day of the series happened to be one of the most stressful thanks to internet issues (The Rio's wifi crapped out) and the fact that I was wicked hungover after a day off of binge drinking. It was also a special day because of the Ladies NL event along with the loudest and rowdiest final table that I've heard this year. In addition, there were two Day 2s running (including the $1500 NL re-start which I drew) and the start of the $5K World Championship Limit Hold'em event that featured a slight controversy about the dinner break.

I was not scheduled to work until 2pm, but I came in early since Change100 was going to play in the Ladies event. I had a 25% stake in her along with a consortium of other media reps such as Otis, Felipe, and Mean Gene. 1200 or women bought into the record setting tournament as the entrants were spread out between the main floor and the Poker Sauna. Other bloggers such as Lana, Iron Girl, and Michelle Lewis of Pokerati were in the event. PokerNews members Dixie, Jennifer, and Khamsy were also in the mix. In fact, Dixie, Khamsy, and PokerWire Amanda all sat at the same table.

It was also a who's who of female players playing on Sunday such as Isabelle Mercier, Katja Thater, Lacey Jones, Susie Issacs, Shannon Elizabeth, Mimi Rogers, Cheryl Hines, Edna Dalton, PokerWire Heather, Anna "Poker Pixie" Wroblewski, Michaela Johanssesn, Erica Schoenberg, Jennicide, Lisa Wheeler, Sabyl Cohen, Wendeen Eolis, and Shirley Williams.

Mean Gene told me that as he walked through the field, several of the women scowled at him. I knew exactly what he was talking about. I wandered through the field jotting down notable players and some of the players gave me the evil eye. I wasn't checking them out, just doing my job. I didn't even attempt to take photos. I discovered the hard way that most of the women in Ladies only events hated getting their photo taken. When I covered a Ladies event at the Borgata in January of 2006, I had tons of problems. Most of the women turned away at the last second or covered their faces which made it difficult to get any decent photos.

Michelle Lewis and I failed to get Michalski to shave his back and wear a dress as he entered the event. No such luck. I'm still trying to goad Michalski into waxing his back for $200.

"I have not been surrounded by this many women since I was in a whore house in San Juan," I joked with Nolan Dalla.

Of course the jokes kept flying. Several dealers were making fun of the slew of lesbians in the field.

"Um, can we get a cock check on a few?" wondered BJ Nemeth.

Talk about intimidating. I tried to get off the floor as quickly as possible while checking up on Change100's progress. Iron Girl was seated a few seats to the right of Swedish bombshell Michaela Johanssen and her table got even tougher when Erica Schoenberg was moved to Seat 10. Katja Thater tracked me down and she said she was ill but sucked it up and played anyway.

"I usually don't like playing in all female events," she explained. "It's a lot of limping and calling stations."

We had a brief discussion about not being able to use her sexuality as a weapon which she usually does in tournaments that are 95% to 99% all male. Everytime I saw Katja she looked sicker and sicker, but she managed to survive the day and make the money. She's a trooper. Lana did not advance to Day 2, but she made the money as the bubble burst. Sadly, Change100 was knocked out early but at least she got to have sometime to herself on a rare day off.

Shirley Rosario did not play in the Ladies event because she made it to Day 2 of the HORSE event. The slow structure irked Daniel Negreanu since everyone was a shortstack by dinner break with about 12 big blinds each. He was also ticked off that the TD's changed the dinner break on the $5K Limit event. He signed up for two events along with Gigabet and David Chui. He initially thought that they would go on different breaks and he could play in the Limit event while he went on dinner break for the HORSE. They changed it at the last minute and Negreanu did not find out until a few hours into the event.

"I told David (Chiu) and Darrell Dicken to buy in based on the fact that I thought the breaks would be staggered," Negreanu told John Caldwell and myself. "You could get a solid hour in at 300/600 in the Limit event. You may be down to 6,000 or so when the other tournament goes on break, but you could get yourself to 20,000 in that hour and you are good for the night."

The HORSE event was supposed to play down to a final table, but due to the slow structure they stopped play at 4am with 20 players remaining. On Monday they will play down to a final table.

The buzz in the entire Amazon Ballroom was the yelling, shouting, and screaming that surrounded the final table stage. The final table of Event #13 $5,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em was stacked.
Event #13 Final Table and Chip Counts:
Seat 1 - Jason Lester - 295,000
Seat 2 - Allen Cunningham - 346,000
Seat 3 - Travis Rice - 544,000
Seat 4 - Alan Jaffray - 254,000
Seat 5 - Joe Patrick - 631,000
Seat 6 - Gavin Griffin - 524,000
Seat 7 - Humberto Brenes - 225,000
Seat 8 - Keith Lehr - 182,000
Seat 9 - Jeff Lisandro - 982,000
Despite being towards the back of the pack, Allen Cunningham kicked his game into high gear. He was the chipleader with three players remaining. Humberto Brenes busted out in 3rd place while Cunningham and Lisandro were even in chips. Heads-up play lasted 80 hands (or a "quick 80" as BJ described). When the dust settled, Allen Cunningham won his 5th bracelet.

And you know what? It could not have happened to a nicer guy. The poker world is full of douchebags, scumbags, and self-absorbed twats. It was super refreshing to see a humble pro like Cunningham take it down. He plays a lot like Phil Ivey. You rarely hear a peep out of him at the tables. He never berates an opponent. He's not mugging for TV time. He takes his beats like a man. More young pros should emulate players such as Allen Cunningham. The man carried himself with class and dignity and doesn't brag about being one of the top tournament players in the game.

(Photo courtesy of Flipchip)

He's now won bracelets in Pot-Limit Hold'em (2007), Seven-card Stud (2001), Deuce to Seven NL (2002), and No Limit Hold'em (2005 and 2006) and he also made 16 total final tables at the WSOP.

Flipchip picked Allen Cunningham to win the 2006 WSOP just a few days before the series started last year, and that was before Event #1 kicked off... not before the main event. He almost looked like a genius because Cunningham made the final table and was the biggest known pro to go deep in that massive field.

"He's got a playing style that I admire," said Flipchip who has been around the Las Vegas poker scene for four decades. "And the kid is flat out good."

Even Phil Ivey thinks Cunningham has a shot at winning twenty bracelets. Five down and fifteen to go.

Speaking of bracelets, Phil Hellmuth could smell his 11th bracelet coming. He made his first final table at the WSOP since winning #10 last year. With 160 or so players starting Day 2, Hellmuth was relatively quiet most of the day. He seemed focused and locked in. He was not kicking over chairs or playing Hellmuthian mind games with his opponents. Since the field did not include too many named players, Hellmuth relied on his reputation and by his mere presence at the tables -- he intimated his opponents.

Hellmuth slowly made his way up the food chain and stayed above average as a slew of bustouts happened during the first two hours of play. With about 10 tables to go, Hellmuth was in the Top 20 in chips. With about five tables left, Hellmuth could smell a final table. He stepped up his game and although he did not give off any classic Hellmuthian tirades, he did engage in more banter with his opponents. By then he figured out who he could needle and who he should leave alone. When the final 27 players redrew for seats, Hellmuth was in the middle of the pack but that would not last very long.

With 18 players remaining, Hellmuth took over the chiplead. He steamrolled his table that also included Fabrice Soulier and one of Men the Master's family members. They stayed out of his way but on the other table, Scott Clements had the advantage of not playing with Hellmuth and he quickly raced past the 1M mark as he took on the role as table captain.

Hellmuth had close to 1.1M in chips when he opened up for a 55K raise at the cutoff. Ut Nguyen moved all in for 200K. Shannon Eastin was shortstacked and she pushed all in for 117K. Everyone folded back to Hellmuth as he stood up and lectured the players at the table.

"Phil Hellmuth the greatest NL Hold'em player in the world," Hellmuth said as the railbirds hung on his every word and referred to himself in the third person. "Because Phil Hellmuth knows when to make big lay downs. Maybe I'm up against A-K and A-K. I'd be ahead but I have to fold here."

Hellmuth folded 7s-7c face up. He yelled, "Shoot!" when he saw Nguyen flip over Kc-Jc and Eastin tabled As-Qh.

The flop was Js-8d-7h. Nguyen flopped top pair but Hellmuth put his hands on his head and shouted out, "I would have flopped a set and busted you both!"

He was right as Nguyen won the pot and Eastin busted out in 17th place. That hand didn't tilt Hellmuth. He hunkered down and continued his dominance at his table. Meanwhile on the other table, Rick Fuller took over the chiplead after he busted two players on the same hand. Fuller was all in with Ah-6h and up against A-K and A-Q. He flopped a 6 and since he had both players covered by a tiny margin, they both busted out as he nearly tripled up to 1.4M. That put him into the lead with Hellmuth and Clements not far behind with 1M chips each.
Event #15 $1,500 NL Hold'em Final Table:
Seat 1: Rick Fuller - 1,779,000
Seat 2: Scott Clements - 1,232,000
Seat 3: Morgan Machina - 834,000
Seat 4: Fabrice Soulier - 344,000
Seat 5: Ut Nguyen - 624,000
Seat 6: David Simon - 880,000
Seat 7: Andy Philachack - 446,000
Seat 8: Phil Hellmuth - 1,482,000
Seat 9: Taylor Douglas - 259,000
Scott Clements prevented Hellmuth from winning #10 last year and it would be interesting to see of those two get to battle it out again for another bracelet. Love him or hate him, Phil Hellmuth will be chasing history as he attempts to become the first player to win 11 WSOP bracelets. He's currently tied with Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson with 10 each.

"Are you ready to make history?" I asked Hellmuth as he bagged up his chips.

"Don't you know it, baby!" Hellmuth said. "Phil Hellmuth is going to make history."

The final table starts at 2pm. Our coverage at starts at 3pm. They are playing the event in a closed space not open to the public so Bluff can broadcast it on the internet while showing the hole cards. You can tune into for more details on how to view the final table.

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Bouncin Round the Room on Day 10

Friedman and I walked into the Amazon ballroom behind Kathy Liebert and she dropped her shades. Since she had on headphones she could not hear us shouting her name. I almost tackled her to hand them over. She smiled and thanked us.

"Fuckin' Americans!" said Felipe as he got into work on Sunday. He told me a crazy story about a guy trying to sell him a bike for $40. I told him it was probably stolen.

Mean Gene is looking for a new nickname. Any suggestions?

Our mult-media guys Shronk and Steve Frey came up with a hilarious bit:

Click here to veiw Coffee, Soda, Juice... via RSS or Bloglines.

At one point, Andy Bloch was screaming at one of the floor people during a color-up. He felt that they should be standing behind the dealer instead of across from the dealer and only players and dealers should be allowed to touch the chips. After the missing chips fiasco at last year's main event, the color up process is much slower and requires a floor person to physically do each color up. "No one wearing a jacket should touch the chips," explained Bloch. "That's why dealers don't wear coats. You can easily hide chips in the pockets."

Afer ten days of action, some poker players are developing that foul stench and body odor that makes me shiver everytime I walk past them. With the Ladies event going on, you figured a few of them would have showered.

If you don't know by now, Daniel Negreanu is now a member of Team PokerStars.

Jean-Robert Bellande was sweet talking the Milwaukee's Beast girls. He managed to get two of them to go fetch him lunch from the Poker Kitchen.

I saw Phil Hellmuth tip a waitress $10 for one bottle of water.

Grubbette played cash games in the Amazon Ballroom and I bumped into her outside as we headed to the bathrooms near the Poker Sauna.

Zeke, one of our floor reporter for PokerNews gets some of the most hilarious stuff. He told us that he overheard Doyle Brunson say that he could not go to bed until he ate two packs of Skittles.

I headed to the Kilt for dinner break (big shocker there) with StB and Steve Horton.

Stella Count at the Tilted Kilt: 18

Richard "Dick Bro" Brodie was no longer 86'd from Harrah's properties and he played in the $5K Limit event. "I want to take a piss next to you, Pauly," he said. I told him, "No peeking. Eyes forward at all times." Sadly, we never had a bathroom break at the same time.
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next to...
1. Jean-Robert Bellande
2. Chip Jett
3. Daniel Negreanu
4. Steve Z
5. Phil Laak
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Don't forget to check out LasVegasVegas for Flipchip's WSOP photos. And come back at the Tao of Poker for daily recaps and head over at PokerNews for live coverage and updates including chipcounts.

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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