Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WSOPE Main Event: Where I End and You Begin

By Pauly

"There's a short Mexican woman in our kitchen," Gloria said matter of factly.

"I hope she's the maid," was my reply.

I had just finished a random walk through the streets of London, sort of navel gazing and stewing in my own misery while listening to music. As I returned to the flat, Gloria was headed to work.

The maid went about her business while I watched the Bloomberg channel in utter desperation. It was past midday in London and the FTSE was tanking, while the US stock market was about an hour away from the morning bell. All the talking heads alluded that things were gonna be ugly based on the domino effect from the foreign markets. And it was. Talk about donkey blood splattered all over lower Manhattan. One of the worst trading days in years. All I could do is sit and slowly watch the wreck unfolded before my eyes.

The late afternoon was wasted in search of a laptop. I thought I found one and made a purchase. The price was too good to be true. Turned out there were tons of problems with the machine which I had to return. I'm still a man without a laptop (and pecking away on Change100's laptop while she sleeps).

Day 2 was in full swing at the Empire Casino. It was the first time the entire field was in one building. The action was spread out at a couple of tables upstairs on a balcony, downstairs in the poker room, and out on the gaming floor. The playing sections were infested with cameras. ESPN is taping the WSOPE (televised in both Europe and the States), but it's not the same crew from the WSOP (the gang at 441). The WSOP crew knows there shit but the crew out in London has very little experience covering a live poker tournament. Most of them are from Poker After Dark and other poker shows that are shot at a single table in a secluded area or in studio or on a sound stage. They are not used to dealing with multiple tables, floor staff, and other media milling around. The result? The surly camera dudes have been pissing off a lot of folks including players and staff. Man, I miss Matt and Dave and their crew at 441.

I eventually showed up mid-way through Day 2. As soon as I arrived, another member of the poker media pulled me aside and suggested that we check out the hot massage girls otherwise known as the Ibiza Angels. I dunno if they actually gave high quality massages, but they were all smoking hot. They were too classy (and too natural) to be working on the pole and they were truly angels wearing tight white wifebeater t-shirts exposing their mid-drifts.

"Let's pretend to do work and stare at the massage angels instead," said one horny and lazy member of the European poker media (not named Benjo). "When there's nothing else to do, that's what I do to kill the time since I don't care about the tournament."

Poker tournaments are boring affairs. It's nice to have some high end eye candy to see waltzing through the tournament area.

There's one that is drop dead gorgeous. I know, that assertion is useless without a pic. My goal is to snap one.

"She's my favorite. I'm in love with her," was one comment that I got.

* * * * *

179 players began Day 2, but only 62 advanced to Day 3. Tons of big names fell such as Doyle Brunson, Jesus, Phil Hellmuth, Barry Greenstien, Scotty Nguyen, Durrrrrrrrrrrrr, the chick who went to Duke, Jen Tilly, Bruno Fitoussi, Neil "Bad Beat" Channing, Roland "Hungry Like" de Wolfe, and Erica Schoenberg.

Here's some useless info...
WSOPE End of Day 2 - Top 10 Chip Counts
Andy Bloch 321,600
Brian 'sbrugby' Townsend 290,100
Erik Seidel 282,300
John Juanda 252,500
Philippe Rouas 233,300
Chris Elliott 231,900
Chris 'Moorman1' Moorman 219,500
Justin 'BoostedJ' Smith 217,700
Daniel Negreanu 203,700
Brandon Adams 190,000
Sherkhan Farnood from Afghanistan won a bracelet in the HORSE event and was one of the guys who cockblocked Phil Ivey in his quest for some bling. Sherkhan Farnood has been a nemesis for Phil Hellmuth. The other day there was an incident (that may or may not have been blown out of proportion) where Hellmuth snapped after getting busted. He pointed at Farnood and said, "How do I lose my chips to the worst player in the world?"

On Day 2, Farnood and Hellmuth were at it again. Farnood won another battle and sent the Poker Brat packing. Before Hellmuth could leave the table he spoke some more smack. He always has to get the last word in. However, Farnood uttered the gem of the day when he said, "I'm trying to prove that I'm the second worst player in the world."

* * * * *

I guess this is a London edition of Bouncin Round the Room...

Whispers about Russ Hamilton being named as the main culprit in the UB cheating scandal made its way around the Empire Casino. He supposedly bilked players out of $60 million as a superuser. I don't doubt that he was heavily involved, however, I'm not buying the lone gunman theory. Wonder if anyone will be able to dig up other names in the scandal.

I spotted Erica Schoenberg on one break. I had read her recent blog posts (over at Poker Road) particularly the stories about her college days and hanging out in the parking lots at Phish and Widespread Panic shows. If you have experienced that scene, you know those are some killer parties. Ah, back in the day I used to sling pharmies in the lot on Phish tour. Anyway, Erica had a tough table late in Day 2 which included chipleader Andy Bloch, Andy Black, and Josh Arieh. Sweet Sweet Erica busted out late in the day.

I heard a rumor that Philippe Rouas was from good stock and from the 4th richest family in all of France. One thing for sure, he's the mastermind behind the Poker Battle clothing line. He sported a jacket that was worth $15,000 and made of sting ray skin. I lost about that much in the stock market in the last two weeks and that clown is walking around with the equivalent of my losses slung over the back of his chair.

Ted Lawson's wife is always on the rail in his tournaments. She usually bakes us cookies or brings the media food. She mentioned that she was enjoying London, "This definitely beats Atlantic City."

Nolan and Seth had some crazy bets on the Monday Night Football game which kicked off around 1:30am or during the last level of play. One of the best was the OVER for total number of sacks.

As I waited for Change100 to finish up the evening, I waited at the entrance of the Empire Casino. Andy Black wandered by wearing an unusual robe-type garment that you'd expect the maitre'd at a restaurant in Chinatown to be wearing. I asked him how he was doing.... "Fuckin' short!" he blurted out before he exited the casino and disappeared into Leicester Square.

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.

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