Las Vegas, NV
Ground Hog's Day. Again. Day 1d.
"Full house today," Said Jack Effel.
Today will be the busiest day so far of the Main Event. Every bit of the casino will be used because everyone signed up for Sunday instead of Thursday or Friday. The result? Tables in Buzio's and the poker room. I heard they might have to use the actual hooker bar. Staff was seen clearing out the working girls to accommodate more tables as one of the flunkies from that third-rate energy drink was seen spamming the hooker bar with their product.
Man, I'd be wicked pissed if I had to pay $10,000 to play in front of a smelly seafood restaurant. It's one thing if you have to play there on a $1,500 event. But this is the world championship.
Plenty of shiny happy people will be descending over the killing fields that have paved over and resodded with sunflowers, tulips, daisies, and yellow jessamines. Lots of puppies running around and butterflies and moonbeams and lucky stars and good old wholesome poker and strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hands.
As Jack Effel said, "This is the greatest tournament on the planet!"
6,813 players bought into the Main Event. Only one will be crowned the champion, 6,812 will go home as chumps.
The intro music always makes me want to puke. Journey? Brown Eyed Girl by that drunk Van Morrison? That's what I put on when I tried to hook up with drunken sorority girls. Whomever made the WSOP mix, please identify yourself so you can be ridiculed by the masses.
I love it that as media reps, we get a press release that Hellmuth will be arriving at 2:20pm in a tank. So much for spontaneity.
I got a list of notables in today's field: God (aka Hellmuth), golfer Paul Azinger, UFC fighter Chuck Lidell, Johnny Chan, Scarf Boy Dario Minieri, Bryan Micon, Phil Laak, Mario Ho, Jen Harman, Shannon Elizabeth, Jen Tilly, Carlos Mortensen, Allen Cunningham, Andy Bloch, Phil Ivey, RainKahn, Shaniac, David Williams, Layne Flack, DonkeyBomber, Gus Hansen, Cyndy Violette, MrSmokey1, Men the Master, and Phil Gordon.
Jeffrey Pollack introduced Robert Wexler who mentioned Senator D'Amato and they got all political. Preaching to the inmates. No one was listening. They just wanted to donk off their chips and not hear a couple of sleazy used car salesmen get up on their soap box and blame other politicians for America's woes.
Cards are in the air at 12:06pm. Five levels today. Levels are two hours long.
Welcome to the wank fest. I hope you brought your lube and extra tissues. Don't forget about donkey repellent.
Day 1a: 1,297
Day 1b: 1,158
Day 1c: 1,928
Day 1d: 2,471
Total Registered for Main Event: 6,814
Gus Hansen must have money on the Wimbledon. Homer told me he's been paying more attention to the match than on playing poker. Rafael Nadal was ahead by two sets until Roger Federer stormed back. Tennis seems so much more interesting that writing about nice guys having their throats slit by clueless donkeys.
Jerry Yang almost lost half his stack. Already. Yoda, don't go busto in round 1. ESPN cameras are camped out around his table.
I found Heather standing in the back service hallway. She looked totally bored and I asked her what she was doing.
"Waiting for Phil Ivey," she said.
Her job was to make sure Ivey wore his baby blue Full Tilt hat and a logo on his shirt.
"Do you think he'll show before 1:30?" I asked.
"I hope so," she said. "I want to watch the end of the Wimbeldon."
Big stacks: Thomas Keller, Doug Lee, Gary Germann, Brian Haveson, and Ray Henson
Recent bustouts: Tim Vance, Paul Wolfe
Main Event Totals: 6,837 and counting...
How about this for irony. Apparently there's a couple of thugs shaking down agents at the WSOP. One guy demanded $1,000 from Oliver to stop harassing him and his clients. I heard that another agent was bullied last night.
Jerry Yang had a yo-yo start to the 2008 WSOP. He had slipped to 5K at one point as the media circled his table on the Jerry Yang Death Watch. He was all in and survived to double up. He has around 14K and still spewing out yoda-like sayings.
Every bit of area is being used for poker today. Tropical and Brasilia. Buzios and the poker room. Parts of the blue section are ten-handed while everyone else is playing nine-handed.
Know what would suck? Playing eleven-handed inside the buffet. Don't laugh. I heard that it was a potential emergency plan just in case 4,000 people wanted to play today.
Big stacks: Thomas Keller, Doug Lee, MrSMokey, Antonio Esfandiari, and Allen Cunningham, Shaniac.
Recent bustouts: Scott Lazar, David Williams, Joe Pelton, Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, Sam Simon
Main Event Totals: 6,842
UFC guys can kick my ass but they're not that great at poker. Both Chuck Lidell and Forrest Griffin are out. In Griffin's defense he won a fight last night and showed up all kinds of fucked up.
I spoke to Matt Savage on the break. He's the former tournament director at the World Series of Poker and playing in today's field. I asked him about his table. "Usually I sit and observe everyone and pick out who the bullies are. But today, I realized that I was the biggest bully at the table."
Jack Ury is sitting next to John Friedberg. Ury has to be in his 90s with super-thick lens the size off two ashtrays. Firedberg has traditional sunglasses. The two seemed to be enjoying some banter.By the way, Grandpa is sporting a Full Tilt hat and a medical alert bracelet. In case of Emergency, call Jesus.
Today is the biggest field at the main event. And it feels like it. Finally begins to smell like Christmas.The energy levels were low the first three days, but today, the room has a zestier buzz. Even when the Brasilia Room was filled in previous events, it always seemed to be the laid back pill popping cousin to the flashier Amazon Room. But today it's hopping. Plenty of pros in that area like the DonkeyBomber who is on a mission to destroy as many as the enemy before they ambush him and gouge his eyes out with donkey hoofs. Donkeys have hoofs right?
I am sitting up from a high and can gaze out into the killing fields. Like a Union general sitting on a horse on a hill overlooking Gettysburg on the morning of the massacre. One moment you see one. The next you don't. They disappear and get lost in a heap of guts and innards of sheep, emu, fish, and other small rodents. You ever wonder what those guys in black shirts who push those large trash barrels around actually do? They retrieve the run over carcasses which are liquidated and transformed into energy drinks. Getting jacked up on the blood of their opponents.
Seat open. Hee-haw. Seat open. Thanks for the juice. Seat open.
"I saw Jeffrey Pollack and and Steve Lipscomb in the hallway acting like buddy-buddy," said Benjo. Just now, Pollack and Lipscomb walked into the press box. They said hello to Michalski.
Eskimo courtesy of Benjo
Eskimo Watch: Brought to you by Benjo. Eskimo is playing in the Brasilia Room and has 28K in chips. Michalski saw Eskimo playing a satellite at like 4am earlier this morning. Wonder if he won his seat?
Benjo told me about a conversation that he had with a PokerStars rep...
Benjo: So, I heard that the next Team PokerStars Pro member gonna be... Eskimo Clark
Rep: Absolutely. The guy has the tournament record, the respect of the community, also the longevity : you know he's gonna be around for a long time. There's no one else PokerStars could think of to be the next Team member.
Benjo: So he's the hottest pick of the moment, right?
Rep: Yeah, the bidding war with Full Tilt is absolutely crazy right now.
Big stacks: Shawn Conix, Christopher Overgard, Thomas Keller, MrSmokey1, Phil Ivey
Recent bustouts: Annie Duke, John Murphy, and my main man Ray Davis
Main Event Totals: 6,844
When you are crossing the killing floor and head to the exit with an ESPN camera crew following you... it's not a good thing. Annie Duke rushed past the press box with a crew right behind them. Feldman wondered if she was out. Yep. Annie busto.
I wandered past a table with ESPN cameras. I scanned the table and did not recognize anyone. I saw a guy who sort of looked like DonkeyBomber. That's when I realized it was former NY Yankees pitcher David Wells. I wonder if Boomer is popping pills and knocking back beers on the break? Top 5 guys that I wanna party with...
Laurie is dealing the featured TV table which happens to have Phil Hellmuth in a general's outfit. No tank. But three military vehicles filled with Hellmuth and his entourage showed up to drop him off at the back door.
I noticed a very bored Texas Dolly sitting at the table closest to the rail. He has a lot of railbirds trying to snap photos and get his attention.
Back by popular demand...
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next to...
1. Mark Vos
2. Amnon Filippi
3. Jesper Hougaard
4. Chris 'Armenian Express' Grigorian
5. Huck Seed
Today's smoke break is sponsored by PokerStars!
* * * * * *
Big stacks: Shawn Conix, Eric Sonstegard, C K Hua, Andrew Bradshaw, and Jan Skampa
Recent bustouts: Andy Bloch, Patrick Bruel, Phil Tom, Jose Canseco, Noel Furlong
Shorties: Jerry Yang, Donkey Bomber
Main Event Totals: 6,843
According to Pojo, Shannon Elizabeth pulled out a Sudoku book and was doing puzzles in between hands.
Micon and Newhizzle told me a funny story about how they went over to the 2+2 booth in the Expo. Micon tried to "bury the hatchet" with Mason, but Mason didn't have any time for Micon and told him to bug off.
Jerry Yang is short again. He has been wearing a Full Tilt hat but he does not have official sponsorship. In a interview with ESPN's Andrew Feldman, he Jerry Yang he was not a Tier 1 player but a Tier 2 player on a tournament to tournament basis. What did Yang do with his winnings? He a bought a Viper and a minivan and a new suit.
Michele Lewis snapped a photo of me going to take a piss. The cougar was on the prowl.
Vinny Vinh still has chips. I wonder if Vinny and Eskimo had a last longer?
Big stacks: Victor Ramdin, Shawn Cunix, Jason Katsutani, David Oppenheim, and Richie Smith
Recent bustouts: Phil Ivey, DonkeyBomber, Jen Tilly, Grant Levy, Chainsaw Kessler, Vinny Vinh, Eskimo
Shorties: Dario Minieri
Players Remaining: 2,079 out of 2,461.
Main Event Totals: 6,844
Total prize pool is $64 million. Juice is over $4 million. $9.1+ million for first place. Top 666 players get paid. 666th gets 21K.
Not enough dealers? I spotted at least one floor person in the box dealing hands.
Ran into Oliver Tse. He was telling me about his run in with someone trying to extort him. He mentioned that Harrahs wants to keep the agents in the parking lot, but for now, they have free reign of the hallways. He started rambling on about mafia 101 tactics used by his competitors in the industry. "If you screw with me, I'll screw with you!" said an irate Oliver.
Jen Tilly made the walk of shame past the press box. She had her head down and had the look of complete and utter disgrace that thousands of players will make today as they head for the exit. She's busto along with Phil Ivey. He showed up late and busted out before dinner break. No bracelet for Ivey this year.
Found out that the oldest player in today's event is Jack Ury. He is 95.
And... this just in... both Vinny Vinh and Eskimo are out.
Big stacks: Brad Tisdale, Shawn Cunix, Tom Ly, Mohmad Koowssarie, and Victor Ramdin
Recent bustouts: George Danzer and David Woo
Shorties: The Grinder
Players Remaining: 1,884 out of 2,461.
So more people are left at the dinner break than were in Day 1a or Day 1b. Can they get down to 1,200 tonight?
A couple of the tables in the red section were broken down and converted to cash games.
The quiet in the Amazon Room during dinner break is always soothing. Sort of like a walk on the beach at sunrise.
666? I wonder if any religious groups will be protesting en masse on paying out the anti-christ. "I'm surprised they didn't change the number?" wondered the poker cougar Michele Lewis. "They like the controversy and the attention."
They should have done 667 and paid the extra place out of the massive juice that Harrahs took from the players.
One European member of the press plays seven NL tables at once during dinner breaks.
Read Michele Lewis' latest girl on girl article with Maria Ho over at Wicked Chops Poker. Click here.
Big stacks: Shawn Cunix, Mohamad Kowssarie, Aaron Kanter, and Carlos Mortensen
Recent bustouts: The Grinder, Aussie Sarah, John Phan, Tim Pham, and Jean Gaspard
Players Remaining: 1,884 out of 2,461.
Lance told me a weird story about his hockey team in Canada who used to hand out boxes of donuts and put them in their opponents locker room. After the game they would send over Polaroids of the same donuts around their penises which they took earlier that morning. The opposing team inadvertently ate cock donuts. Man, I love Canadian senses of humor.
Benjo and I were about to make a last longer between Vinny Vinh and Eskimo but they busted out before we could make the bet. The battle of the degenerates.
Michalski and I got cornered in the hallway by the Oliver Tse tractor beam. He just draws you in and its like quick sand. The more you struggle, the worst it is. Oliver always had interesting things to say about the state of poker, but sometimes he overstates things and starts the rerun through the same points.
I headed to the Brasilia Room with Michalski. He had to get Pat Poels a Pokerati patch to wear. In true Michalski fashion, he was a tad late and caught Poels one hour into Level 4.
While I waited for Michalski to slap a patch on his buddy, I stood on the rail and sweated Shaniac. He listened to his iPod and I wondered if he was listening to Dylan. I don't like to both players while they are sitting down.
I noticed that only 44 tables were in use in Brasilia. The back two rows were reserved for the 7pm nightly. Shamus' desk was located next to that event. I joked with him that PokerNews gave him the shitty assignment of covering the nightly.
The wives and girlfriends of those players in the Brasilia Room were seated up on the stage. Some of them read books or thumbed through magazines and the rest looked bored out of their minds. A few decided to drink and were getting sloppy. Booze kills boredom.
PizzaHut is one of the biggest winners at the WSOP. They put out a crappy product and sell it for a ridiculous price and no one complains. They sell out their cold pizza every time. Since one of the Pizza Hut stands is in front of the Brasilia Room, those railbirds are often found chomping down on a personal pan pizza. Fleece the friends of the fish. If people are dumb enough to piss away $10,000 of their own money, well their friends will also be willing to pay money for barely edible food stuffs.
By the way, first place pays $9.1 this year. The winner (provided he/she is an amateur) will jump to #10 on the all time poker money list. Erik Seidel is 9th with $9,241,731.
Big stacks: Shawn Cunix, Mohamad Kowssarie, Aaron Kanter, Tom Ly, Carlos Mortensen
Recent bustouts: Jesus and Maria Ho
Players Remaining: 1,683 out of 2,461.
Jesus has left the building.
Speaking of Jesus, Jerry Yang is up to 40K. He survived a rough patch early and and has been sailing smoothly since dinner break.
I asked Benjo who was on his radar. He was following two legendary French players in Pascal Perrault and Fabrice Soulier. That have almost 2.7 million in combined tournament winnings.
After the break I wandered through the killing fields and checked out what people were wearing. PokerStars qualifiers are noticeable, but it's not like 2006 when 1 out of 5 players was decked out in Stars gear. There were tables in 2006 that had 8,9, and even 10 Stars guys. This year, Stars has the most qualifiers in the field. I didn't see as many cowboy hats in the field like there were the previous three days. Lots of Yankees hats and tons of Hawaiian shirts.
I forgot to write about the guy who was playing with his luggage sitting behind him. I dunno if he had just landed or waiting to leave as soon as he busted.
Some of the players dig the free "seat cushion" that they got courtesy of Everest Poker. Some of them could care less and toss them in the corner. The vultures scoop up three and four and who knows what they do with them. When one table broke, one guy asked if the new table would be giving out a new seat cushion. He wanted two and felt that he should get a new one every time he changed tables.
"I spent $10,000 and all I got was this fuckin' lame cushion? On a sight that I can't even play on?" complained one guy in a thick Long Island accent.
Big stacks: Shawn Cunix, Jason Katsutani, Carlos Mortensen, David Oppenheim, Aaron Kanter
Recent bustouts: Karina Jett and Doug Lee
Players Remaining: 1,620 out of 2,461.
Players returned from a break. It was their last of the day. I stood in the middle of the crossroads as the security guards finally let the players back inside. One by one, the sharks, fish, donkeys, rugrats, and other trickled back inside. Some of them were shoving overpriced food into their mouths. Voracious appetites of poker players. Binge drinking on dinner breaks. Binge eating on 20-minute breaks. Chain smoking like a German sitting in a cafe along the Champ e'Lysee.
Overheard on the Dealer's Smoking Porch: Bad beat exchange.
Dealer 1: "Can I borrow $250? I had my Kings cracked by Nines last night. It cost me four buy-ins"Finally, as the night approaches midnight, it's rather calm and relaxed in the press box. I might be able to get some work done, as long as Feldman doesn't yap my ear off.
Dealer 2: "I loaned you $200 last week. And another hundred on Friday."
Dealer 1: "That? I used it to buy in (insert random casino name) nightly tournament. You staked me. It wasn't a loan."
Dealer 2: "What? I never stake dealers. That was a loan. Not only are you a bad poker player, you are a horrible liar."
Big stacks: Shawn Cunix, Jason Katsutani, Bill Blanda, Carlos Mortensen, David Oppenheim
Recent bustouts: Dario Minieri
Players Remaining: 1,422 out of 2,461.
The after midnight edition. This is when we let it all hang out. Especially Otis, who likes to let his doodle dangle in the wind from time to time. Otis the doodle dangler from G-Vegas. He likes to write sad stories about the horrors of scraping donkey carcasses off the killing floor.
Dario is out. George Danzer is out. They both like scarves. They are both busto.
More Midnight lime tossing with Otis. The results? Michalksi crashed and he won. Michalski 1, Pauly 0, Otis 0. Michalski +20 and Otis and I are even overall. Benjo had exclusive media rights and was the only press at the event.
The bustouts are coming a little slower than Harrahs wanted because Day 2B is going to have substantially more players than Day 2A.
"Each section red, blue, green, and orange, has its own personality. It's distinct," mentioned Flipchip. He's right. I think it has everything to do the lighting.
Otis mentioned that 1,060 PokerStars qualifers played in the Main Event. That was about 50% of those who won seats. That number was much lower last year. I have to say that PokerStars was the X-factor in getting over last year's number. Without their qualifiers wanting to play... the totals would have been under 6,000 and everyone would be declaring the death of poker.
Steve Freze got on the mic and mentioned that someone had lost their wallet and can claim it at the podium.
"Good luck finding any money in it. I betcha it's cleaned out," I said.
"Maybe his credit cards are still there?" said Vin.
"In this crowd? They're all crooks. He'd be lucky to get his Subway Club card back."
Gus Hansen wandered over to talk to Shannon Elizabeth while ESPN cameras caught every moment. I betcha Nadia got to ride the Great Dane gravy train.
My woman from Pot Committed is bummed that she got dropped from Google. And those cool cats at Up for Poker did too.
Big stacks: Dylan Linde, Steve Austin, Christian Choi, Jason Katsutani, and Richie Smith
Recent bustouts: Shaniac, CK Hua, Eugene Todd, Fabrice Soulier, Cyndy Violette, Layne Flack, Melissa Hayden
Players Remaining: 1,386 out of 2,461.
Action is done for the day. Weeee! Happy 4:20 to any of you East Coast potheads.
Thanks for following along for the last four days of Ground Hog Day. It's been a pure pleasure to give you the action. You have been a great crowd. See you tomorrow night.
Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.