After one week at the 2007 WSOP, I logged 92 hours or so on the floor of the Rio. I don't know if anyone has logged more hours aside from Jonno. I should pass the 100 hour mark sometime on Friday. After 92 hours, I can tell you that I'm not short of material for my Las Vegas book.
If anything... it's the same shit, different year. And as much as people loathe Harrah's, plane loads of poker players are arriving every few minutes ready to donk their bankrolls off in satellites, cash games, and in WSOP events. The beast is getting bigger and bigger everyday. No one can stop the cancerous affect of the WSOP.
Physically, I'm tired. Mentally, I'm fine and writing wise I'm at the top of my game. I just wish I had more time to sit at home and write (and edit). I don't and have to make best with what little free time that I have. I have not played a single hand of poker since the series started. That includes online and live. I expected the long hours when I accepted the position with PokerNews. And I'm fully prepared to work at least 80 hours a week over the next six weeks. I can already see other media reps burning out. That's when I kick it into high gear.
I see the sunrise almost every morning and I'm up a few hours afterwards. There's always a landscaping team working on something two days a week at the Del Bocca Vista. Getting woken up by leaf blowers or lawnmowers in Las Vegas is absurd and often makes me grumpy for a few hours.
The first week of the WSOP is complete and depending on who you talk to, things are either worse, better, or the same. My assessment? Things could be better, but considering how huge that the WSOP has gotten I think everything is par for the course. Harrah's fucked up a few things... and that was no surprise. Cardplayer was involved in some controversy... that was no surprise. Non-exclusive media is moaning about the new rules... that's old hat. Players were bitching about long lines, crappy food, and the cards... sounds like last year, right? The dealers have been moaning about their pay and long hours... what else is new?
I'm still amazed that no one has been killed yet at the series. Tempers flared on Day 1 during the long lines but no one threw down in the hallway. Thankfully we averted an all out gang-war with Tony G and The Shulmans, so I'm no longer worried about getting shanked by a Cardplayer intern on the way to the Tilted Kilt. We came close to losing someone the other day during the windstorm. Some dude almost bit it when part of the tent (aka Poker Sauna) spliced his arm off and blood spewed everywhere in a gory scene out of a Tarrantino flick. But aside from a lot of tempers, foul moods, and shit-talking... there has been no major crimes to report aside from numerous fashion faux pas. But I'll let Change100 critique poker players' wardrobe choices.
After one week of play, several bracelet winners have been crowned:
2007 WSOP Bracelet Winners:History was made on three instances. Event #3 was the largest ever non-main event field with 2,998 players. Event #1 was won by MrSmokey1 who is the youngest player to ever win a bracelet. And Phil Hellmuth set the record for all-time cashes at the WSOP.
Event #1 $5,000 World Championship Mixed Limit/NL Hold'em: Steve "MrSmokey1" Billirakis
Event #3 $1,500 NL: Ciarin O'Leary
Event #4 $1,500 Pot-limit Hold 'em: Mike Spega
Event #5 $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud 8: Tom "DonkeyBomber" Schneider
Event #6 $1,500 Limit Hold 'em: Gary Styczynski
Event #7 $5,000 PLO w/ rebuys: Burt Boutin
Event #8 $1,000 NL w/rebuys: Michael Chu
Event #9 $1,500 Omaha 8: Alex Kravchenko
On Day 7, I arrived early to write and ended up having to work a few hours earlier than I was scheduled. Of course I didn't want to work, but I'm a team player and stepped in to help out with the $2K NL event... the one that Brandi Hawbaker cashed in.
"She's cute, like a monkey," mentioned Benjo about Brandi.
I covered the entire Day 2 of Event #11 $5K Seven-card Stud. 180 players bought in and the top 24 made the money. Day 2 started at 2pm and lasted until almost 4am when the final table finally got set. Johnny Chan busted out in the money in 18th place and failed in his bid to win bracelet #11. Phil Ivey is trying to win his 6th bracelet.
Event #11 $5K Stud Final Table Chipcounts:David Oppenheim got a three-hour massage. The relaxation helped as he starting to amass the big stack. He steamrolled his table once action got short-handed and kept adding to his lead. Phil Ivey was at the other table doing the same thing.
1. David Oppenheim - 609,000
2. Phil Ivey - 322,000
3. Pat Pezzin - 234,000
4. Theo Jorgensen - 229,000
5. Oriane Teysseire - 195,000
6. Chris Reslock - 141,000
7. Ted Lawson - 90,000
8. Marco Traniello - 30,000
Image courtesy of PokerNews
I have a greater appreciation of Phil Ivey after watching him play Pot-Limit Omaha and Seven-card Stud against the premiere players (in those events) in the world. You can learn so much about poker and about life from watching Ivey. I admire his stoic expressions at the table. The guy expends very little energy. He rarely talks and often keeps an eye on whatever random sports event was on the TV (you know he had action on the NBA finals). What I love best about Ivey is that he's the biggest swinging dick in poker, and he never acts like an asshole at the table. I have never seen him berate his opponents. He takes bad beats like a man. He never talks trash. He never starts trouble. Most of the time, you don't even know he's playing since he's so quiet. Young poker players should take a page out of his playbook. Just shut the fuck up, leave the sunglasses at the pool, and just play cards.
Phil Ivey is the Teddy Roosevelt of poker... speak softly and carry a big stick.
Although Ivey trails Oppenheim by almost 2 to 1 in chips, my money is on Ivey to win his 6th bracelet. That should be an interesting final table. With the blinds fairly high, I expect the short-stacks to bust out in the first hour, which means four or five-handed Stud to determine the next bracelet winner. You have to give Ivey the edge in short-handed play but Oppenheim is going to put up a good fight.
Keep an eye out for French player Oriane Teysseire. She's the card room manager at the Gallion poker club in Paris. She's fearless and check-raised an opponent on the river with no pairs showing and four hearts showing on her opponents board. She survived a tough table and got Ivey to crack a smile when she offered him some candy.
The final table should start around 3pm local time. Check in with PokerNews to follow the action.
By the way, here's the schedule for the next week:
Event #13 June 8 @ noon $5,000 World Championship Pot-limit Hold 'em (3 day event)
Event #14 June 8 @ 5 p.m. $1,500 Seven Card Stud (2 day event)
Event #15 June 9 @ noon $1,500 NL (3 day event)
Event #16 June 9 @ 5 p.m. $2,500 HORSE (3 day event)
Event #17 June 10 @ noon $1,000 World Championship Ladies Event NL (3 day event)
Event #18 June 10 @ 5 p.m. $5,000 World Championship Limit hold 'em (3 day event)
Event #19 June 11 @ noon $2,500 NL (3 day event)
Event #20 June 11 @ 5 p.m. $2,000 Seven Card Stud 8 or Better (3 day event)
Event #21 June 12 @ noon $1,500 NL shootout (2 day event)
Event #22 June 13 @ noon $5,000 NL (3 day event)
Event #23 June 14 @ noon $1,500 PLO (2 day event)
Event #24 June 14 @ 5 p.m. $3,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud 8 or Better (3 day event)
Event #25 June 15 @ noon $2,000 NL (3 day event)
Event #26 June 15 @ 5 p.m. $5,000 HORSE (3 day event)
Bouncin' Round the Room on Day 7
I had another long day at work and didn't get chance to float around and fuck off. My notes were thin for a second day in a row.
Several female photographers said they were boycotting Brandi Hawbaker and not taking her photo. I actually boycott several players -- anyone associated with a certain online poker site and certain players because that are arrogant asstards. I refuse to take their photo and give them any coverage on Tao of Poker. I'm professional when I work for other outlets but as far as Tao goes... fuck those assclowns.
Tony G made his first appearance at the series. He told us that we were doing a great job with PokerNews. If The G is happy... we're happy.
Jen Harman couldn't sleep last night and logged into PokerNews to follow the action on her husband Marco Traniello.
Congrats to Hoy for cashing in the NL short-handed event. I wish that I could have covered his event. Alas, my assignment was the Stud event. I'm the "Day 2 guy" which is like being Mo Rivera on the Yankees in the mid-1990s when he was the set-up man for John Wetteland.
I bumped into Falstaff and BadBlood early on and late in the night there was an StB sighting.
One of my Truckin' writers, Clay from Chicago found me, and we got to shoot the shit for a few minutes.
I ate lunch at the Sports Kitchen (nice cheeseburgers -- better than the poker kicthen) and had a beer before I started work. I couln't go to the Kilt on my dinner break. I worked through my break since we were short on staff and I had a ton of catch up work. I ate a turkey and cheese sandwich and drank a green tea at my laptop. I made a promise to myself (per Wil's advice) that I would always take a dinner break... but what can you do?
Stephen Bartley from Gutshot arrived. He was mentioned a few times in Anthony Holden's new book, Bigger Deal. I gave Barltey shit that he was referred to as a "blogger." The kid is a legit scribe and real writers cringe when they get labeled a blogger.
Traffic is up on Tao of Poker. Thanks to everyone who has linked up my coverage or passed around the URL to your friends and family.
Number of people who asked me for weed on Day 7: 6
Days Dan Michalski Has Been Missing: 2
Stella Count at the Tilted Kilt: 10
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To...
1. JC Tran
2. Marco Traniello
3. Mike Wattel
4. David Oppenheim
5. Chris Fargis
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.
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