Last year around this time, the background chatter in the media room took on an international flavor as he Europeans arrived and began speaking in their native tongues. There was some speculation on whether or not there would be a massive European contingency of players and media since Harrah's implemented new international tax laws. Why fly to Las Vegas, win a shitload of money (worth less in Euros), and leave with less after having to pay US taxes? I know that several Scandis decided to skip the WSOP this year in favor of the WSOP-Europe in September and the player-friendly European Poker Tour which kicks off in Barcelona at the end of August.
Regardless of player's tax burdens, there are more international press covering the WSOP than I have seen in recent years. The Germans (led by Klaus) have been here since Day 1. There's the Dutch guys writing for Poker News and Maridu writing about Brazilian players for Poker Stars. Jen, Snoopy, and Homer arrived from London last week to cover British players. And there's a shitload of Scandi's here just like last year. And my favorite international press members... The Irish guys from Antes Up should be arriving shortly.
Since I play a lot of Pot-Limit Omaha and I am familiar with obscure European players, I often get to cover those events. I've covered two PLO final tables and most of the Day 2s. It's one of the good perks about my gig at Poker News instead of getting those brutal assignments like Stud 8 or PLO8, which Change100 and Steve Horton almost always get stuck with.
On Sunday, I was assigned Day 1 of the $10K PLO event with faux rebuys. It was essentially a freezeout but with only 10K in starting chips instead of 20K. Whenever you went below 10K, you had the option of adding on an additional 10K. I dunno why they structured the tournament that way. By Day 31 of the WSOP, I simply accepted that asking why was pointless. Rules and regulations are changed on the fly. Some rules are strictly enforced while others are left up to the individual floor people to interpret. I stopped asking why and simply accept the weirdness that surrounds the WSOP.
Anyway, 314 of the biggest gamblers in the world bought into Event #50 $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha. You had the biggest names in poker such as Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, and Doyle Brunson rubbing shoulders with European young guns like the Finnish Triad of Patrik Antonius, Jani Sointula, Thomas Wahlroos.
I spotted the former Swedish Monoploy Champion Patrick Martensen among the Scandis in the field along with Swedish players Johan Storakers, Magnus Persson, and Kristian Kjondal (who final tabled the EPT Grand Finale in Monte Carlo a few months ago). I also saw Jan Boubli who is considered one of the Godfathers of poker in France. He won the EPT Barcelona final table that I helped announce almost two years ago. Also in the hunt were several British players... EPT creator John Duthie, El Blondie Dave Colclough, and several Hendon Mobsters such as the Boatman brothers. Irish players Don O'Dea and David Callaghan are short on chips but still alive. The outlasted Andy Black who almost got into a fight during Day 1.
Former WSOP Champions Scotty Nguyen and Greg Raymer are among the 55 remaining players, while Doyle Brunson is trying to make another final table and attempt to win bracelet #11.
$10K PLO End of Day 1 Top 10 Chip Counts:Also advancing to Day 2 included... Scotty Nguyen, Steve Sung, Marco Traniello, Tore Lagerborg, Andy Bloch, Annie Duke, Eric Froehlich, Greg Raymer, Doyle Brunson, Magnus Persson, Leif Force, Dave Colclough, Alex Brenes, Kido Pham, Michael Binger, Chau Giang, Jan Boubli, JC Tran, Dario Alioto, Paul Jackson, Tim Phan, Mickey Appleman, David Chiu, Jani Sointula, Joe Beevers, Minh Ly, Donn O'Dea, David Callaghan, and Kristian Kjondal.
Jonas Flug-Entin - 366,500
Tommy Ly - 354,500
Kenneth Strandli - 287,000
Antonio Salorio - 264,500
Roy Brindley - 231,000
Patrik Antonius - 205,500
Robert Mizrachi - 204,000
Liekke Kimmo - 197,500
Rene Mouritsen - 189,500
John Duthie - 188,000
Plenty of big names left including a slew of European players that I've come across while covering the European Poker Tour. Day 2 should be one of the most exciting days at this year's WSOP. The top 36 players win prize money. If they can get down to nine players by 10pm, they will start a final table then. If not, players will come back on Tuesday to play it out for a bracelet.
You can follow the action since I'll be live blogging Event #50 starting at 2pm local time for PokerNews.com. Click here to check out the live coverage.
Bouncin Round the Room on Day 31
I was interviewed by rawvegas.tv about the Erick Lindgren golf prop bet. Here's the clip which features a recapof the entire bet. I'm in it at the end for like five seconds.
Click here to view the video via RSS and Bloglines.
The Brazilians have taken over the WSOP. I never saw that many railbirds for a Day 2. They were standing a dozen deep on the rail cheering on their countryman Leandro "Brasa" Pimentel. He went from 140K to over 1M in the last hour as he made the final table. Felipe told me that the Brazilians were going to make an impact at the WSOP as soon as they arrived. He was not kidding. For more info head over to the Brazilian PokerStars Blog and read Maridu's updates.
I have been hearing stories about some of the dealers quitting due to the crappy pay. During the record setting $1,500 event (over 3,100+ donkeys bought in), floor staff had to be put in the box to deal. I spotted a friend of mine who's dealing this year and he said he can't wait for the WSOP to end.
One older dealer challenged me to a fight. He was having an awful day and we got stuck trying to walk through the same door together. Honest mistake and I stepped aside and let him pass. That's when he wanted to go at it and started screaming at me. Personally, I had been having a shitty day and was looking to beat the shit out of somebody. I sternly warned the old guy that I'd wipe his face with the pavement if we really stepped outside since I had been in a pissy mood. I suggested he keep his mouth shut otherwise I'd call his bluff and shove his pillow up his ass. Just because he had a bad down doesn't mean he could treat me like shit. I guess he's the Tao of Poker's Asshat of the Day. Nice work, pal.
Mrs. Otis is in town and she came over to chat for a little bit. We'll try to take her to the Hooker Bar or the Tilted Kilt.
Tilted Kilt Stella Count: 52
Andy Black almost got into a fist fight with Davood Merhmand. I've heard plenty of stories that Davood is one of the most annoying players to be seated at the same table with. As much as Andy Black is prone to slipping into a fit of rage from time to time due to his Irish temper, but you really have to piss off a Buddhist in order for him to want to kick your ass. Black had his arm cocked back and fist clenched ready to drop Davood after he was talking shit to Black moments after his elimination from the PLO event. Black had to be pulled away by a floor person. He was livid. I'm sure a lot of the other players would love to have seen Black drop Davood.
By the way, Davood told me a bad beat story which lasted five minutes. I tired to escape by telling him I had to piss, so he followed me into the bathroom and continued to recant his beat while I took a piss.
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To...
1. Davood Merhmand
3. Daniel Negreanu
4. Dutch Boyd
5. Marcel Luske
Don't forget to check out LasVegasVegas for Flipchip's WSOP photos and there's the Poker Prof's cool 2007 WSOP Info page.
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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