Las Vegas, NV
Day 39 was a rare day off but I managed to spend some time at the lavish PokerStars party at Rain nightclub. Heard a rumor that they dropped $1 million, or as one famous online player joked, "Ah that's just one day of rake." Heard a rumor that Paris was invited but I dunno if she actually showed.
The big show was watching Isabelle and Dario make out at the bar in front of me as a drunken menagerie of sunburned Scandis snapped multiple cell phone pictures.
1,252 survived the Day 1a and 1b and will be playing today. That's the number on the screen. I heard there is 2,676 playing tomorrow. Cannot confirm that just yet. Stay tuned for official numbers.
Back in position to provide updates to you, live, from the killing floor. I have a new pair of boots, donket repellent, and I was administered shots that will protect me from most forms of malaria, Avian flu, small pox, and E. coli.
"Today is really going to be the killing fields," said Benjo in his outrageous accent. "I checked last year's notes. On Day 2, at least one hundred players per hour were getting killed off. Today will really be a slaughter."
Benjo knows his shit. He's been a war correspondent on the European Poker Tour where he saw plenty of strong American and British players get decimated baby-faced Scandi's with bankrolls rivaling the GDP of piss-poor South American dictatorships.
Stu Ungar's widow Madeline was here speaking about the Ungar Foundation. She said a few things... "Stuey is going to be gone ten years in November. I started a foundation in the honor of Stu... because of the addiction that he suffered. His daily routine... it took a toll on his life. Nobody ever lets him go... There is hope for everyone who is suffering.
Madeline then did the "Shuffle up and deal honors."
Today is for Stuey.
Five levels on Day 2A. Two hour levels. Blinds are 250/500 to start. 1,252 players remaining.
Cards are in the air at 12:08pm. An eerie silence fell over the room over a low hum of chi shuffling.
Seconds later I heard a faint cry, "All in and a call on Seat 7!"
Here's who is in the mix today: Emad Tatouh, Bill Edler, Alex KGB, Chau Giang, Robert Varkonyi, The Eggman, PauL Wasicka, Barry Greenstien, Billy Baxter, Finnish boy toy Partik Antonius, Scotty Nguyen, VietHotie, Bill Gazes, Erik Seidel, Vicky Coren, John Duthie, Vanessa Rousso, Erick Lindgren, Ray Romano, Hoyt Corkins, Steve Z, Kathy Libert, and Shane Warne.
Big stacks: Mark Garner, Ben Sarnoff, Brandon Adams, Kellen Hunter, Jeremiah Smith
Recent Bustouts: Bill Edler, Anna Wroblweski, Jens Voertmann, Tony Licastro, Philip Hilm, Stuart Paterson
Players Remaining: 1,144
"Alexia Portal is the only one in the world that I will let me tell a bad beat story," said Charlie the floor guy. The French actress is in the Green section and I have been brushing up on my French to impress her. Voulez-vou coucher avec moi?
A flurry of shortstacks went out in the first thirty minutes. They had been hanging on for dear life to make Day 2. Now that they are here, they pulled the trigger. Several shorties doubled up while a horde of them were nevermore. Their tiny little flicker of light was coldly extinguished. Seat open, table #21.
"She's out," remarked Feldman as I looked up and spotted VietHottie on her cellphone with an ESPN camera crew following her out the door.
Oliver Tse told me an "on the record" story about an email he sent to big wigs at CNBC and ESPN about poker agent reforms. He's sick and tired of being bullied in the hallways by his competitors. Being a poker agent is tough business. Poor poor Oliver has been swimming with sharks in the hallways for five weeks and that have been slowing snapping off chunks of his flesh.
Just when I was trying to find a way to end the conversation, one of Oliver's clients came up to him. It was not even fifteen minutes into Day 2a and he was out. "Already?" said Oliver as a blanket of despair fell over his face. The old guy told him the bad beat story and I slowly tiptoed away.
Big stacks: Hunter Fry, Kellen Hunter, Jeremiah Smith, Mark Garner, Brother of the Grinder, Brandon Adams
Recent Bustouts: Gabe Thaler and Sweet Svetlana
Shorties: Barry Greenstien
Players Remaining: 1,063
Scotty Nguyen is sitting at a table in front of Phil hellmuth's mural. He has been entertaining his table by throwing things at Hellmuth's face which is followed up by a devious cackle.
Change100 told me about the guy who's name is "Grassnugg." No fuckin' way. Tropical Steve mentioned that there is a table in his section that reeks of weed. Of course, he's in the green section. So cliche.
My buddy Borge Dypvik, the Norwegian thugger, has been spotted at the featured TV table with Chau Giang. Chau is decked out in Full Tilt gear. I hung out and watched the table for a bit. Chau played a lot of hands. A hot chick in a red tank top with firm breasts thumbed through a Day 2a player's list. What the fuck? How the hell did a spectator get a list and not a bunch of us in the press box? Just another one of the many clusterfucks here at the Rio when some information fails to get passed along.
The Beast Lounge was about 60% filled but only two people were actually drinking. One poker wife sat there and read a book from Oprah's book of the month club.
There are six cash game tables in the red section and none of the other rooms (Tropical or Brasilia) are being used.
Alexia Portal is at a table with Joe Beevers (Hendon Mob) and Patrik Anotnius. Benjo gave me some background on the French actress. She's been in some films and TV movies but she's most known for her stage work. She travels around France doing plays and in her spare time, she plays poker. She's a sponsored player from Winamax.
"I stopped counting everyone who has been coming up to me and asking, 'Benjo! Who is the hot French girl with the Winamax patch!'" he said.
I was also told to keep an eye on a guy known as the "Furious Frenchman." His real name is Thomas Fougerom. He doubled up early and has chips.
Tony Holden, one of my favorite authors (not just poker but overall writing as well) chatted it up with fellow Brit Vicky Coren. She's playing at a table in front of the press box. She's going for the cowgirl look. Sexy British chick wearing a straw cowboy hat? We have to keep MeanGene away from her section. He might explode, especially after witnessing Isabelle devouring Dario.
The Blue section is the main battlefield today. It's the spot of the most causalities. As I passed through the war zone, I could hear, "All in and a call!" or "Seat open!" They quickly removed the slumped over bodies, toss them in a dumpster behind the poker kitchen, while bottom feeders roll the dead bodies for miscellaneous $10 food comps, watches, car keys, and shoes.
Benjo and I caught one hand. A-K versus K-K. "You're gonna see a lot of that today," mentioned Benjo. "Lots of people shoving with A-K preflop and hoping to get lucky with such small stacks." The victor in the hand we saw was the A-K. He flopped an Ace and the guy with Kings was miffed. There were two queens on the board. Of course, as it always happens, one clown in Seat 2 piped up, "I folded a Queen." No shit, sherlock? You should have called with Queen-shit and snapped off Kings and Big Slick.
The floor guys are eating pizza on their break. From Metro. Smells delicious and makes me miss NYC pizza. I hope my brother eats a slice for me today.
Three media reps are playing online poker in the press box.
Big stacks: Hunter Fry, Kellen Hunter, Michael Johnson, Robert Mizrachi, Adam Hudson
Recent Bustouts: Scotty Nguyen, Alexia Portal, Perry Friedman, John Myung, Greg "FBT" Mueller
Shorties: Barry Greenstein, Paul Wasicka
Players Remaining: 937
I got caught up in the bottleneck traffic jam in the hallway as everyone waited for the doors to open and let everyone get back to their tables after the first break ended.
At least four hundred players were stuffing their faces with pizza. The geniuses at PizzaHut makes out like fuckin' bandits. Installing those stands in the hallway was a grandslam. $6 for cold pieces of stale bread, government cheese and fourth-rate ketchup? Disclaimer: I consume at least three or four per week but I am not a paid endorser, nor do I own any stock in Tricon Global which owns PizzaHut, Kentucky Fried Pigeons, and TacoSamonella.
Betfair hired smoking hot models that are 6 foot 5 inches tall without heels. They are decked out in tight, sexy stewardess outfits. They handed out some sort of spam.
The hallways are for shilling. I have seen hookers hawking their wares and I expect to see a couple of porn slappers arrive shortly.
Olive Tse was standing in the back of the angry mob in the hallway negotiating a deal with one player. Another unlucky soul was eating a boxed sandwich from the fridge in the souvenir shop. OK, the Capriatti sandwiches in the Poker Kitchen are OK, but I wouldn't touch any of those vending machine/gas station sandwiches that are sold in the souvenir store. Some of them have been there since Week 1. I wanted to do a nasty food prop bet competition where the person who could eat the most bunk sandwiches without puking or going to the hospital to get your stomach pumped wins. I offered Otis money to eat one of those and even he declined a potential prop bet.
The camera crews were following Scotty Nguyen out into the hallway. It's sort of like a funeral procession. When you see the crew moving quickly towards the exit, someone just died. Seat open Table #4!
Big stacks: Robert Mizrachi, Brandon Adams, and Jeremiah Smith
Recent Bustouts: The Eggman, Lee Markholt, Harry Demetriou, Barry Shulman, John Shipley
Shorties: Paul Wasicka
Players Remaining: 892
A spectator stood on the rail for twenty minutes with a video camera shooting footage of the orange section. A couple of other railbirds took photos with flash. Neither were ejected. Sometimes it is better to cover the WSOP as a spectator. Some of the best stuff I got this year was outside the ropes and in the hallways and on the rail.
The entire red section has been broken and converted into cash games. The infection has spread to the orange section where a whole row of tables has been extinguished.
Sad news for all of you Finnish poker fans. The Eggman is out. Patrik Antonius took a hit early but got some of his chips back.
Foiled Coup showed me a picture of a hot South American woman still left in the event. "I was stalking her table for ten minutes trying to get a photo but she wouldn't look up. She said 'If I smile, will you go away?'" Foiled Coup agreed and he got his picture and left. He has no idea who she is.
Today's smoke break is sponsored by PokerStars!
* * * * *
Big stacks: Jeremiah Smith, The Brother of the Grinder, Brandon Adams, and Mark Vos
Recent Bustouts: Paul Wasicka, David Grey, Susie Isaacs, Steve Brecher
Players Remaining: 847
I watched Vanessa Rousso's table. She's on the outer feature table. She's sporting a pink trucker's hat with a big fatty PokerStars logo. She's one of the few horses still left in the mix for PokerStars. Although the blue section has over a hundred Stars qualifiers remaining. A peculiar guy with a pedophile's smile asked me if I knew "what is that girl's name?" I told him it was Brandi Hawbaker. He snapped a couple of photos of Vanessa as I walked away.
I overheard two masseuses talking. One told the other a slots bad beat story. Seriously, the masseuses tell the most bad beats out of anyone who works the WSOP. More so than having to hear media reps bitch and moan about their bad beat stories. That has to be the worst.
Billy the Croc is still in the hunt. He has a bunch of good luck crocodiles sitting in front of him.
Hoyt Corkins was moved to the featured TV table. He took a seat next to Chau. I didn't see my boy Borge. I think the Norwegian thugger is busto.
Patrik Antonius has had a rollercoaster day. He was down to under 15K and then jumped up to 90K according to Shamus.
With ten minutes to go, Charlie the floor guy got on the mic with ten minutes to go in the level. He asked all the spectators to clear the room so the aisles are clear when players head out on their break. Some unruly railbirds stood their ground, which happens all the time. That's when Charlie busted them. "Some of you do not know what the definition of a spectator is. A spectator is anyone who is standing around watching something. If you are watching something, you must leave the Amazon Room immediately."
Steve Frezer uses different tactics. He gets on the mic and asks security guards to kick out the stragglers.
Players went on an extended break because of the color up. There was extra time to make sure there was no shenanigans.
The featured TV table and secondary table are being switched up. I saw that Ray Romano's table had chip bags on it. Looks like he's being moved to the TV table. I hate to see Chau go.
Big stacks: Hunter Frey, Jeremiah Smith, and brother of the Grinder
Recent Bustouts: Trond Eidsvig, Robert Varkonyi, Alex Bolotin
Players Remaining: 774
Robert Varkonyi standing on rail after busting out. Whew. No shaving heads for me. He's with his wife and I dunno who he's sweating.
Norwegian Trond Eidsvig is out. He's probably back in his room crushing shorthanded PLO tables.
Feldman told me that Vanessa Rousso forgot her ID and was not allowed into the PokerStars party despite the fact she's all over the walls and part of their branding. The bouncer would not et her in even after the powers to be were shown her wiki page.
Michalski stumbled into the press box at 5:20pm and he held a glass of Scotch. He insisted that he wasn't drunk. He thinks he's Hemingway covering WWII in London.
"I learned this from D'amato,He sits around and drinks Martinis all day."
Benjo took a whiff of the glass. "This is disgusting. It smells so bad. Where's your cigar?"
Michalski told me to write about the weather because that's what Hemingway would do. It's hot. Hot. Fuckin' hot. Jen Leo said its 118 degrees according to her car. Change100's car said it's 115. Things melt in this type of heat including small animals.
Nolan Dalla rarely discusses specific hands. He told us how Billy Baxter folded 9-9 on a board of J-9-5-2 and two diamonds when his opponent check-raised all in on the turn. Baxter told the guy, "I know you have a set of Jacks." Then Baxter folded. The guy didn't show. Nolan thought that most of the players in the room couldn't lay that down.
Big stacks: Hunter Frey, Brian Schaedlich, David Rheem, Patrick Fortin, Martin Klaser
Recent Bustouts: Michael Criag, Mark Karam, and James Hoeppner
Players Remaining: 702
"What did I tell you!" said Benjo about his prediction that 100 players an hour will bust. "I'm a genius, obviously."
Orange is down to 18 tables. Tony Hachem was sitting at the same table was fellow Aussie Mark Vos... until they got broken.
Author Michael Craig is busto, but Patrick Antonius' wife is still here. She was sitting at the same table as Voitto Rintala, a Finnish speed metal dude with special contact lenses that give him freaky eyes. I first met him on the EPT.
Is Bill Gazes a hippie? He has a shirt on that says, "No war." Above that is a Full Tilt patch.
One player is wearing a NY Knicks Nate Robinson jersey.
I stood in the hallway for a bit and watched Phil Hellmuth get stalked for an autograph. There's a big Beast can in the hallway. Someone from Gam-O put one of their stickers on it.
Robert Varkonyi and his wife Olga were standing on the rail chatting it up with Norm Chad. They stood next to a handful of young Scandis sweating on the godfather of Norwegian poker, Thor Hansen.
Patrik Antonius and Joe Beevers were moved to the secondary TV table. Everyone Loves Raymond is at the featured TV table. He won a pot while I was there. The crowd is about 2/3 full and no one in the Beast Lounge is drinking. The three Beat girls opened up a box and started passing out free decks of cards. One of them said, "This job is soooo ghetto."
One kid was in a hand and stood up. He had huge sweat rings. Who said poker isn't stressful?
Players are going on dinner break shorty.
Big stacks: Brian Schaedlich, Hunter Frey, David Rheem, Jason Riesenberg, and Robert Mizrachi
Recent Bustouts: Leo Boxell
Players Remaining: 665
Not much to report. The players just returned from their dinner break. Two more levels or four hours of play.
I overheard two dealers exchanging dealing bad beat stories. A guy was complaining about the malodorous guy in Seat 1.
"He smelled like a wet dog."
One woman complained about the "weird guy" who sat in the five seat and kept staring at her and gave off a negative vibe.
"You know, you just look at someone and you know he's evil?"
She was happy to get off that table.
Big stacks: Brian Schaedlich, Hunter Frey, David Rheem, Farhad Sinaei, Patrick Fortin
Recent Bustouts: Erick Lindgren, Barry Greenstein, Billy Baxter, Jesse Jones, Shaun Deeb, athy Liebert, Billy the Croc, Ted Lawson
Players Remaining: 603
ESPN cameras chased Erick Lindgren after he busted out. He rushed past the pressbox and ESPn was right behind him. They grabbed him before he left the room and reluctantly twirled around for a quick interview.
"Hey America. I'm so fuckin' happy," he joked at the cameras before he flipped them the bird.
Busting out of the main event is the worst feeling in the world. Lindgren wanted to sneak out instead of getting his most humiliating moment of the year spliced together accompanied by a witty remark from Norm Chad. Instead he got run down by the cameras.
Over at the featured TV table, Ray Romano looks bored shitless. I spotted a pregnant woman drinking a can of Beast. Keep on rockin' in the free world.
Curly Seal from Australia is playing a big NL cash game.
The Orange section is down to 6 tables... and one more is about to break.
Laurie the dealer is on the second table with Joe "The Elegance" Beevers and Snoopy's model friend Patrik Antonius. Beevers has all his chips in one long phallic stack. The Elegance must have penis envy. Willie Tan was on the rail sweating them.
Jeremiah Smith has been one of the chipleaders for all of Day 2a. He's one of the good guys in poker. He used to work as a tournament reporter for Poker Wire. He was an ideal reporter because he was so tall that he could peer over the tables. He also did some excellent writing for Full Tilt Poker in different capacities.
I saw your most cliche all-in of NL poker. Big Slick versus pocket tens.
Oliver Tse and I chatted on the rail as we wondered why Chau Giang went from being a Doyle's Room guy to being a Full Tilt dude.
Big stacks: Brian Schaedlich, Hunter Frey, Jeremiah Smith, Brandon Adams, Mark Vos
Recent Bustouts: Ray Romano, Johnny World Hennigan, Vicky Coren, Sverre Sundbo, and Nick Schulman
Players Remaining: 549
No love for Johnny World. He won Antes Up for Africa, donated his winnings, and he gets zero positive poker karma. He's out on Day 2a. And the only celebrity left playing today is busto. Ray Romano is out.
"I need to make some money," said one of the massage girls. "Spread the word how good I am."
Spread the word? Spread your legs sweetie. Lots of horny poker players. After six weeks, they'd bang the laziest hooker at the Redneck Riviera.
The weary eyes wander. The pain. The anguish. The loneliness. My fellow media reps who have been here for too long. They are thinking about their warm beds back home and how they hate living in hotels or in short-term housing all over Las Vegas. They have the blank stare, like that crazy homeless person on the corner of 86th and Lexington that used to lazily panhandle for change. The dead ones look right through you. Life is on autopilot. They checked out shortly after 50K Horse. Sure, they could look at a stack and rattle off 39,575. But couldn't tell you what they had for breakfast last Thursday.
Some of them retreat into the bottle and get sauced at the hooker bar. And some folks like Snake watch porn. Youporn specifically. Others escape by jumping into the online poker world. SNGs and overpriced water are the daily diet of your average media rep.
And Otis? His disappears every couple of hours and wanders off alone. I'm gonna follow him one day and figure out where he goes. My guess? Pai Gow.
The entire Orange section has been broken. Under 550 players remain. Might get to under 500 before the night is over. That would be on pace for 100/hour which Benjo had predicted before the day started, although the bloodshed has subsided a bit.
A couple of big names are left... and those attract the ESPN cameras... such as the perfect Patrik Antonius.
Feldman told me that a slew of pros are playing 1K/2K HORSE on Full Tilt right now... Gus Hansen, Eli Elezra, Benyamine, Matusow, and Rob Hollink.
And according to Foiled Coup, Clonie Gowen won the 5K at the Bellagio tonight. Congrats... wait, Clonie won a tournament? Right now, it's raining frogs in The Valley while an Aimee Mann song plays in the background.
Big stacks: Brian Schaedlich, Jeremiah Smith, Hunter Frey, and Brandon Adams
Recent Bustouts: Joe Beevers, Dario Alioto, Hal Lubarsky
Players Remaining: 513
Welcome to the After Midnight edition, where the only ones who are reading this are complete degenerates, stalkers, insomniacs, and the random sick fucker who Googled "Jerking off on Shannon Elizabeth's feet" happed to stumble upon this foggy piece of real estate on the web.
Everyone is still giggling about the hook up last night. Whispers. Cracking jokes. You have it.
Warney has chips. Gaz stopped by the press box and told me that cricket god Shane Warne has a good stack. If he goes deep this year, this could mean a huge boom for cricket markets like South Africa and India. If Warney plays poker, so will they.
Nicotine and poker... it's the milk and honey for many poker players. I see them sprinting across the killing fields to run outside for a quick smoke. A drag.
One really bored spectator sat down on a chair at an empty table in the Orange section and starting clipping his nails.
Big stacks: Brian Schaedlich, Jeremiah Smith, Hunter Frey, Brandon Adams, and Ronald Adams
Recent Bustouts: Julian Gardner, Ciaran O'Leary, Dan Schmiech, Haralabos Voulgaris
Players Remaining: 469
With about an hour to go, the first set of blue tables were broken. I doubt they will break that section for Day 2B with so many players in that flight.
Dr. Chako sighting at the Rio. First time I've seen him since he got back from Iraq! Good to see him in one piece.
Sweated a very unique table... Sir Watts, Jason Lester, Brandon Adams, Mike Meredith, and Voitto Rintala.
Young gun YellowSub is still in the hunt. Erik Seidel was playing under the radar. Almost did a double take when I saw him.
Jeremiah Smith was getting a massage late in the night. He looked very relaxed with a big stack. Didn't seem nervous at all when we spoke on the last break.
Lance was spotted playing Scrabble online. I asked him if it was NL. He said it was hi/lo.
I wandered over to the featured TV table. I had a six-pack of Oeros. I stood up in the Beast Lounge and looked out over the final table. The crowd was practically empty. Eight people in total including Robert Varkonyi and Olga, and a security guard keeping an eye on the last bracelet in the display case. And the eight people in the Lounge are all ignoring the featured table. They are looking out over at Patrik Antonius' table.
The forgotten event? The Casino Employees event is being played out in the high limit section in the cash game area. PokerNews isn't even covering the last bracelet event. I wandered over it's the final three at the final table. A dozen or so of their friends are on the rail.
Go read Wicked Chops Poker to see lots of tits and ass.
Action is over. The survivors advanced to Day 3 on Thursday. Day 2B starts on noon on Wednesday. Iggy is playing. Stay tuned for Iggy updates throughout Day 2B.
Thanks for following along. Have a great night. See ya tomorrow.
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