Las Vegas, NV
Welcome back. I'm Pauly, your jungle guide. Day 2 features the first of many $1,500 donkaments. Donkeys attract mosquitoes so there will be a slew of nasty disease-ridden pests swarming around in the Amazon room. Make sure you take your malaria pills.
The largest ever non-Main Event WSOP tournament, Event #2 $1,500 NL, just kicked off. This is the first year that the donkaments were split into two flights. Half the field is playing today and the rest play tomorrow.
Today we'll really find out if all the new changes at the WSOP held up. It was one thing to have a soft open with an event attracting 350+ runners where not all of the facilities have been tested.
I almost forgot about the donkament until I pulled into the Rio parking lot with Phish blasting in my no frills rental car. There were very few spots available and I had to schlep through the parking lot. Thank God it was only 87 degrees today.
The hallway reminded me of Mardi Gras minus the drunken sorority girls flashing. There was a Rio cocktail waitress shaking her booty on one of the stages in the hallway. The Sapphire strippers were back. They looked half asleep. One was too busy yapping on her cellphone while the other was being bombarded with picture requests from out of shape amateurs.
I got caught up in the clusterfuck. There's always a tinge of claustrophobia during these huge fields and a bottlenecked hallway is no place for a known pot-fiend such as myself.
When I finally gained access to the Amazon Ballroom, the speakers blasted club music. It was almost like the moment during an NBA game when they turn out the lights and announce the players. That's the vibe Shronk had and ran through the press box giving everyone high fives. I almost jumped up and gave him a chest bump.
Jeremiah Smith found me in the hallway and said that he would be in today's minefield. He was happy that I got to write for the Tao.
Maridu - photo courtesy of Poker News
Maridu, everyone's favorite spicy dish from Brasil, is also playing today. She was seated at Mandy Baker's table and looked up at the press box and saw me typing away. She came over and told me to give her some good coverage.
"I keep raising and everyone's calling," Maridu said. "I'm here to get a lot of chips early otherwise I'm going to the pool."
She bounced back over to her table as an ESPN camera crew hovered over her during the next hand that she played.
I busted out of Saturdays with Dr. Pauly in 18th place. My K-K-x-x ran into A-A-x-x.
Maridu told me that she had Aces twice in consecutive hands. All of the tables around her are breaking fast. There are almost 2,500 runners today and hundreds of players are already out.
Day 2 of Event #1 is about to restart in the new "green" restart area. Change100 and Mean Gene are covering that, while F Train gets his feet wet covering Day 1 of the donkament.
Since the Amazon Ballroom has less tables than last year, the donakment is utilizing tables across the hall in the satellite area located in the Tropical ballroom. In addition, there are the Buzio's tables set up in front of Buzio's seafood restaurant in the connector between the casino and the convention area.
Michele Lewis, everyone's favorite WSOP cougar, is back writing for the gang at Wicked Chops Poker. She posted a pic of me hard at work with the Donkey Bomber looking over my shoulder.
Photo by Michele Lewis
On one of the breaks, Jay Greenspan found me. The Big Shot is playing in the donkament. Just three years earlier we were both chained to the final tables and covering them. Now, he gets to play and I get to float around.
I spotted Phil Ivey and Amir Chaedi having a heated exchange. I was sitting in the press box and I could see the two. Vahedi was using his arms and hands and gesticulating a lot. Based on the body language, Ivey was cool and aloof as usual, while Vahedi was worked up in a frenzy about something and continuously pointed at Ivey as he sort of ignored him and focused on his cell phone while a couple of random fans tried to snap a photo of them.
Dan Michalski made an early appearance in the press box. He showed up by 2pm today which was a shocker to everyone involved.
Maridu is still alive in the donkament and was blowing kisses at me from her table. Several tables in the Amazon ballroom were already broken while the tables in the poker room and in front of Buzio's were still ongoing at the start of the first break.
With the influx of players in the donkament, the clatter of chips is almost defending. The floor is in constant motion as a sea of people make their way across the floor. Players who busted out of the donkament are making the walk of shame out of the room and into the hallways where they tell their loved ones about the bad beat they took. Random voices are on loud speakers letting the crowd know about second chance tournaments or when Event #2 will go on dinner break. Cocktail waitress rush through the aisles carefully balancing a tray of drinks in one hand. Floor supervisors are rushing over to tables to dispute arguments between angle shooters and newbies. Reporters and photographers hover over tables trying to get pics of Erik Seidel or chip counts on Shaniac.
In Saturdays with Dr. Pauly, it's three-handed and my brother is the chipleader!
I forgot to write about this weird exchange last night between Minh Ly and a group of us sitting in the press box. Michalski covered it in a post called Sounds of the WSOP...
Shortly before the break, Minh Ly walked past the press box...Yes, that's further proof that I speak Vietnamese.
Minh Ly (to the four of us up here): Hao ma.
Gary Wise: Blah blah blah, Ming?
Minh (still walking): Popa wow me wa.
Gary: Hep now hoo check?
Minh (shrugs): [unintelligible]
Dan (mocking): Moo wa fo ti.
Minh (almost out the door): Ya.
Gary: Did you guys understand any of that?
Pauly: Yeah, he said pocket queens beat by 3-7 offsuit.
Dan and Gary: Really?
By the Numbers: BJ wandered over and told me that there were 2,046 players in Flight 1A of Event #2. There are 3,524 total players currently registered in Event #2 and registration for Flight 1B is still open. There is a 2,050 player cap... so there's room for about 400+ more players.
Well, I gotta say that there's an outside chance that Event #2 gets 4,000 players. Amazing.
Today's smoke break is brought to you by PokerStars!
* * * * *
Congrats to holdin-ragz! for winning Saturdays with Dr. Pauly! Bayne was the runner up and Derek took third. Well done guys.
I wandered through Event #1 and checked out the action. Amanda wandered up from behind.
"I know what you're doing," she said.
"And what's that?"
"Trying to look like you're busy."
That was a good one. The truth was that I was just walking around in deep thought trying to find a story.
Sometimes people stop by and give you random food in media row. Dana and Snoopy did just that.
"I nicked a cookie from the buffet," Dana said in here very sweet and proper British accent.
That was so sweet of her. Homer, another one of the British writers, arrived yesterday and stopped by to chat. He's an encyclopedia of European players and helped get me up to speed on the best Swedish players.
I found Tom, one of PokerNews' multimedia guys, who is from Australia. He's only been in America for a few days and his only glimpse of American culture has been lurking around Las Vegas casinos. He told me about the hilarious video of Amanda Leatherman and Phil Laak that he shot yesterday.
FYI... 75% of the field has been decimated in today's donkament. There are 460 players remaining. Jeremiah Smith is the chipleader. Holy fuck!! Jeremiah used to write for PokerWire and does work with FullTilt. Tao of Poker's Pothead of the Year Shaniac is also among the leaders.
I had a long talk with Flipchip over the past hour. I asked him to share his thoughts about this year's WSOP.
"So far, so good," he said.
Flipchip is not a man of many words, but he's always a straight shooter. He cuts through the bullshit and tells it like it is.
What he did mention was the lack of long lines in the corridor that plagued the early days of the 2007 WSOP. They were non-existent.
I do weird impulsive things like a few minutes ago when I shoved a $20 bill down Amanda's front shirt while I was talking to Spaceman.
"Oohhhh. What do I have to do to keep that?" she said.
"That's such a typical Vegas question," mentioned Spaceman.
For the record, Amanda did not take off her shirt, so she had to give back the $20.
While I type this, the French media reps are closing up shop in front of us and calling it a day. Behind me, there's a heated discussion in the press box about Obama and Hillary.
"Bitch may be the new black, but black is the new president bitch," said one poker/political scholar who wishes to remain anonymous.
Michalski has been scanning my blogs looking for material to poach for Pokerati. Lazy bastard.
Oh, and yes, there's a poker tournament going on. Event #1 is on the bubble. 37 players remain and the top 36 get paid. Eli Elezra is the chipleader. Plenty of big names left in that tournament including... Alexander Kostritsyn (Aussie Millions champ), Andy Bloch, Phil Laak, Ted Lawson, Mike Sexton, Newhizzle, NeverWin, Kathy Liebert, Patrik Antonius, and Rolf Slotboom.
Off to Tiffany Michele's pre-birthday party! BWOP sighting in the hallway on the way to the bowling alley.
Wow, a lot of weirdness can transpire within fifteen minutes. Change100 and I said our goodbyes to Tiffany at Lucky Strike Lanes before we headed back to the Amazon Room. On our way, we saw a six foot tall hooker in high heels trying to pick up a a trip of frat boy in front on the craps table. We rushed past a Mexican wedding party including the bride and groom. As soon as I entered the Amazon Room, there was an announcement that Day 1A of Event #2 was complete since they got down to 225 players. Those folks will return on Monday for Day 2. Over at Event #1, there are 20 players left with Andy Bloch as the chipleader. Aussie Sarah stopped by to say hello while we chatted, a couple of security guards had to separate two players in a heated exchange. Las Vegas Metro cops were hovering around and rushed them out of the Amazon ballroom. Is someone going to jail tonight? I sent Michalksi to investigate the case.
I thought I saw one guy get led into a room across the hall.
As Flipchip said, "Getting led into a back room? That's never a good thing in Las Vegas."
Change100 said, "I saw a little of this. I think one guy was talking shit about the other's girlfriend and he threatened bodily harm."
Now, I'm on pen tilt because I broke two of my favorite pens in consecutive days. The first was a Poker News pen that I had acquired in October during a trip to Australia. That broke yesterday. My other favorite broke when I put it in my pocket and snapped when my fat ass sat on it. I stole that one from the Millennium Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand in January.
Quote of the Day: I overheard two dealers talking in their smoking area... "Oh my God! I cant believe you fucked your girlfriend's mother!"
Over in the PLH event, Andy Bloch is back on top with the Finnish boy toy Patrik Antonius not far behind. Kathy Liebert is in the middle of the pack. She's seeking her second bracelet after winning one in 2004. She has two second place finishes at the WSOP. And yes, she's the all-time winning female player with over $4 million in career earnings. The Unabomber and Mike Sexton are both still alive with 15 to go.
I spotted Tom Sexton on the rail. He's here sweating his brother Mike. I worked with Tom last summer during the WSOP. He was a valuable asset to whatever event I was working, especially the Stud events! He also had colorful stories to share during the down time. His column on Poker News, Sexton's Corner, is a must read.
Most of the remaining railbirds have flocked to the green tables where the PLH event is still going on. There are 14 players left and Andy Bloch is still the chipleader. Maybe this will be Andy's year? Andy Bloch is probably one of the best players in the world who never won a bracelet. And he's definitely the most intelligent guy in poker. Shit, I just talk to Andy and my IQ magically raises 5 points.
I forgot to mention that my car was peppered with porn ads! One boasts VIP room service and they'll send Las Vegas' hottest babes to my hotel room. Another one had a picture of a young Asian girl named "Kim Li" who is "trained in the art of pleasure." Which means she sucks a good cock.
I found out that Allen, one of the Harrah's guys, went to the same college as me... just a couple of years a part. Small world. In an unrelated incident, one guy on my freshman dorm went to the same high school as Michalski, who went to the same college as Change100, who also went to college with a former Miss America, who Change100 sold pot to. And as we all know, Change100's old roommate Showcase was in Legally Blonde 2 with Reese Witherspoon, who was in Sweet Home Alabama with Fred Ward, who was in Tremors with Kevin Bacon.
Well, I've been here at the Rio for 16+ hours. Event #1 has been on the final table bubble for some time now and I dunno when it might burst. I mean, is anyone reading this in America? At tis point, I figure it's all Europeans checking in on Sunday morning and a few Aussies getting ready to crash on Sunday night.
I could stay here until sunrise or I have a few other options like heading back home to Scheckytown and following along with the coverage on Poker News while I cuddled in a warm bed with my girlfriend, or I could rage solo and rip bingers all night by the pool and write listening to the palm trees sway in the background.
It's Day 2 and I wanna tough it out, but the veteran in me knows I should head home and conserve a bit of energy for the rest of the series.
Smoke break! In honor of the second smoke break of the day, I give you... The 4:20 Guy on the Price Is Right video...
By the way, action in Event #1 is still ten-handed! I think Mean Gene is bored shitless. If you et bored, you can always check out
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