First of all, congrats to Liz Lieu who cashed in the $5K Limit Hold'em event. She made the money in 19th place. In honor of Liz Lieu Tuesdays, here's one of her favorite pics.
(Courtesy of Liz Lieu)
Playing in Event #18
(Photo courtesy of Poker News)
And if you didn't know, Doyle Brunson called Phil Hellmuth the "best hold'em tournament player in the world." That was moments after he presented Hellmuth bracelet #11 with Johnny Chan in a make-shift ceremony near the bracelet display area.
Hellmuth entered the final table second in chips and managed to outlast a field of over 2500+ players. He won over $670K for first place (as Otis pointed out that figure might barely cover his Chinese Poker loses to Phil Ivey) but the money did not matter as much as his winning of bracelet #11.
(Photo courtesy of Flipchip)
I could sense the gravity of the situation late on Day 2 when Hellmuth seemed unusually quiet. He was locked in and focused and didn't expend any unnecessary energy. I didn't watch much of the final table. It was in the Bluff Tent (actually just a final table in the Amazon Ballroom that is covered up by large black cloth) which is an area near the ESPN final table that is blocked off to the public and the media. Bluff films the table with hole cams and you can view the episode on a one hour delay on worldseriesofpoker.com (if you buy the entire WSOP package for $50).
Not being able to see final tables sucks ass, especially the good ones. You have to buy it online or go to the poker room at the Rio (on the casino floor) to view it. As official media, we have to wait one full hour to report on any hands. Hellmuth's bracelet ceremony was finished as he was heads up on the internet feed. Even though he won, we couldn't report it on PokerNews unil an hour later.
Zee Justin played on the first "sequestered" final table. His parents flew in just to watch him play at his first ever WSOP final table. However, they discovered that they were banned from the "tent" and could not see the action. Same thing for the Phil Hellmuth final table. No one in the public got to see it live and had to settle on the delayed feeds in the poker room or had to buy the package on the internet.
Anyway, on his quest for #11, Hellmuth busted Scott Clements to add to his stack and by the time it was three-handed, Hellmuth had more chips than the two remaining players combined. He eventually finished them both off before he won bracelet #11 at 7:59pm.
"Doyle Brunson told me that he bet $300K on me to win a bracelet this year. At the end of Day 1 when I was one of the chipleaders, he bet another $100K. I thought, I better not let my man Doyle down!"
"It was a nice consolation prize," added Brunson who had his record of ten WSOP bracelets broken.
"Good job," added Johnny Chan. "Now Doyle and I have to catch up."
Hellmuth mentioned that he kept only the first bracelet that he won and gave the rest to his family members.
"Today is June 11th. My sister Molly's birthday is 11-11-71 so it's fitting that I give her number 11," Hellmuth added.
Before he left the stage, he mentioned that "if my lawyer let me, I'd buy all of you 40 bottles of Dom. But he's afraid you'd get drunk and sue me."
The Poker Brat made poker history as became the first player to win 11 bracelets and he also set the record for total number of cashes at the WSOP at 59, which I'm sure he'll keep adding to over the next six weeks. He's also made 38 final tables at the WSOP, which is just one shy of TJ Cloutier's record. You can check out Flipchip's photos of Hellmuth's 11th bracelet ceremony.
My assignment on Day 11 was Day 2 of Event #5 $1,000 Ladies NL. The field started at 1268 on Sunday and the action went so fast that 65 players remained at the end of the first day. Sweet Svetlana Gromenkova made the money and busted out in 28th place. The Russian girl from Brooklyn and I first crossed paths when I worked for the Borgata covering the Borgata Winter Open in January of 2006. She made the final table of a Limit Hold'em event (that was won by Steve Benton who's a good friend of Action Bob). Anyway, she took two bad beats at the final table and busted out in 3rd. She was so pissed off about her elimination hand that she stormed out of the ballroom and did not return for two full days before she picked up her tournament winnings of $13,977. Talking about steaming...
Anyway, Susie Issacs busted out on Day 2 along with last year's champion Mary Jones. Katja Thater was among the chipleaders most of the day. She made her first WSOP final table despite being ill the last two days. Her hubby Jan Von Halle from 50 Outs made a final table last week. In fact two German women made the final table. I'll be rooting for Katja at the final table.
Event #17 Final Table Seating Assignments and Chipcounts:Random note... during the Ladies Event, some of the women burst into tears when their hands held up or they came from behind to win. Not after they busted, but usually in a close call situation. It happened several times and even Otis picked up on that.
Seat 1: Vanessa Selbst - 354K
Seat 2: Katja Thater - 340K
Seat 3: Mindy Trinidad - 444K
Seat 4: Kathy Gliva - 147K
Seat 5: Anne Heft - 277K
Seat 6: Sally Boyer - 326K
Seat 7: Julie Dang - 48K
Seat 8: Frauke Ritter Von Sporschill - 523K
Seat 9: Randi Calabro - 110K
The Asshat of the Day Award goes to the guy who yelled at me because I was blocking his view of a table during the Ladies Event. He stood up on the elevated platform by the No Limit lounge which overlooks ESPN's final table and you could see down at some of the regular tournament tables.
"Hey you! Hey you're in my way. Move!"
Otis and I sweated one of the two final tables, the one where Katja Thater sat. I whirled around and pointed at myself like Robert Deniro's character in Taxi Driver.
"You talkin' to me?"
"Yeah you," the tourist said. "You're blocking my view. Move!"
I pulled up my badge so he could see, just to let him know that I was working as part of the media.
"I don't care," he shouted. "Move, I can't see!"
"I don't care," I shot back which drew several chuckles from the railbirds who started to follow the banter.
He could have got off his lazy ass and move closer to the action. Instead, he decided to break my balls. As I walked back to the media desk to enter chipcounts, he jawed at me. That's when I put him in his place.
"Hey tough guy, please tell me the address of that station where you pump gas at in Iowa, so I can come by and act like a complete jerkoff while you're at work."
That nimrod never bothered me again. Alas, he's the Tao of Poker's Asshat of the Day.
In the past I almost got into two altercations with unruly railbirds.
The first time I nearly came to blows was at the 2005 WSOP. It was at the final table for a PLO event with eventual bracelet winner Rafi Amit playing Vinnie Vinh heads up. Around 3am, a drunk tourist kept elbowing me out of the way. After the third elbow, I elbowed him back so hard that he dropped his beer. He pushed me. I pushed back and Nolan Dalla had to step in to break us apart. Security was called and they whisked the guy away.
The last time I had an incident was at the WPT LAPC at Commerce with three tables remaining. As I stood watching JC Tran's table, a railbird actually shoved me out of the way so he could see an all in hand. I gave him the old, "What the fuck? Do that again, I break your nose you motherless pussyfart."
Bouncin Round the Room on Day 11
The biggest news was the Eskimo Clark incident. I got a text from Otis that read, "Eskimo on floor. Maybe a heart attack." Eskimo was in the Poker Sauna playing in an event and he felt a numbness in his arm before he slumped over. Rumors ranged from a heart attack to a stroke. Luckily one of the guys at his table was a doctor and they got him to lay down on the floor before the paramedics arrived. The TD sent that tournament on a break while medical staff attended to Eskimo. No word on his status.
We had six events to cover on Day 11 including two final tables:
Event #15 $1,500 NL - Final TableLiz Lieu charged up her iPod on Mean Gene's laptop. Yes, I was jealous. I would have obliged, but I was squirreled away in the corner covering the NL Ladies event.
Event #16 $2,500 HORSE - Final Table
Event #17 $1,000 Ladies NL - Day 2
Event #18 $5,000 Limit Hold'em - Day 2
Event #19 $2,500 NL - Day 1
Event #20 $2,000 Seven-card Stud Hi/Lo - Day 1
I had several Robert Varkonyi sightings over the last few days. And no, he didn't have a hook in his mouth.
Dealer Wisdom of the Day: "You can't be chasing flushes heads up," said one dealer during a break in the $2,500 HORSE event.
Walter Browne made the final table of HORSE. He told BJ that he was a grand chess master. Browne made it heads-up before he finished in second place.
Pokerati's Donkey Bomber tried to win barcelet #2 however, he busted out in 4th place. He made two final tables this year and has four overall final tables in his poker resume. Why someone of his skill hangs out with Michalski... we'll never know.
Maudie would be happy that I ate fruit salad for two days in a row and I even abstained from booze.
For the first time since the WSOP started, I actually skipped the Kilt and drinking altogether. I had a special meeting to go to that popped up at the last minute. I considered stopping by after work, but went home instead to write.
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next to...
1. Thor Hansen
2. Greg "FBT" Mueller
3. Padraig Parkinson
4. Mike Matusow
5. Fabrice Soulier
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