Las Vegas, NV
Happy birthday, America.
We proudly celebrated the July 4th holiday that my British counterparts call "the day the colonies revolted and pulled away from the Crown." My favorite quote about July 4th comes from Richard Linklater's epic flick Dazed and Confused, "Don't forget what you're celebrating, and that's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn't want to pay their taxes."
And that's what makes poker so special. The WSOP is an extension of the American Dream. Go west young man and win millions of dollars in the richest poker tournament in the world. For many individuals, poker was an alternative way to live life and earn a living without having to be dependent upon the system.
And winning WSOP? The ultimate fulfillment of the American Dream... that anyone at any given time can rise up from the depths of despair and seize the spotlight. These days, I don't think many Americans (or international players for that matter) care about getting their Andy Warhol-laden fifteen minutes of fame, as much as they want $15 million in cash.
If given the choice between fame and money? I'll take money every time.
This year's Main Event winner will not win $15 million, but you get my point. However, a few million is definitely up for grabs to the one person who can fade a field of 6,000 or so players. Day 1A saw 1,116 runners while Day 1B had a lot less with 873. Overall, 1,989 entrants are in this year's Main Event. The numbers for the last two flights have been discussed thoroughly among executives, players, and media. Sources indicate 4,000 players will show up on Sunday and Monday.
If 2,000 or more players buy into the last two flights, there's a potential problem because after four levels, there will be too many players returning to Day 2B. The Rio can't handle 3,000 players in one sitting unless they seat players in the Poker Kitchen and at the Hooker Bar.
One rumored solution? Playing out five levels on the final two flights and re-adjusting the levels on Day 2. For example, Day 2A (comprised of players who survived Day 1A + Day 1B) will play five levels because they originally played four. Meanwhile Day 2B (made up of flights 1C + 1D) will play four levels because they started out with five. That way guarantees that every play who advanced to Day 3 played the same amount of levels (nine).
None of this would have been a problem if they simply played out 5 levels on the first two days. Alas, this murky situation was what I heard being discussed in the press box over the last level. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens on Sunday. What will TD Jack Effel do?
Aside from the low turnout on Day 1B, there was not much going on during Day 1B except an inebriated player who disappeared in the middle of the tournament. A reader of the Tao of Poker known as SenatorKevin was seated at a table with someone I'll refer to as the drunk guy. According to SenatorKevin, the drunk supposedly claimed that he played weekly tournaments at the Borgata. When he sat down, he asked if first place in the Main Event was going to win $1 million. When he was told that a few members of the November Nine might win that much, the drunk guy was completely stunned. It was as though he had no clue how about the payouts in the Main Event! At that point, the drunk guy was actual sober but then proceeded knock back Chivas in bulk. Large glasses of booze.
At one point, the drunk guy promised to blow another guy at the table if he won a pot with pocket deuces. Later on in the level, SenatorKevin thought the drunk guy was going to blow chunks at the table. And this was just in the first few hours of play. Their table eventually got broken and drunk guy was sent into the blue section.
Sometime after dinner break, I got wind of a player who left his table with almost all of his chips minus a single 100 denomination chip. The players at that table told the floor staff that an inebriated player bailed with about 3K to 5K in tournament chips. They thought he went to the bathroom, but he never came back. Ah, it was the same drunk guy from SenatorKevin's table. Supposedly,the drunk has revealed his name as Santo and that he was a wiseguy from New Jersey who obviously loved Chivas.
The chips were ruled void as soon as he left the table with them. The drunk guy's 100 chip was eventually blinded off and he was eliminated from the tournament. The staff tried to figure out who the drunk guy was. They had just one clue... Santo from New Jesey. I looked up the player's list for Day 1B. Sure enough, there's a Santo from New Jersey on the list. His last name included three vowels and ended in one too. I don't mean to play on ethnic stereotypes here, but I grew up in the Bronx with people named Vinny the Barber and Nine-and-Half Fingered Vinny. (And yes, they were all married to girls named Marie).
The drunk guy was identified by the staff (by process of elimination and high tech surveillance cameras) and using SCMODS, the vast computer networks at their finger tips, the figured out he was a guest at a sister property of the Rio. Yes, Big Brother is watching your every move in Sin City. He knows when your sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good and that street walker that you picked up on Tropicana.
A couple of thick-necked security types went to the drunk guy's room to investigate if he still had WSOP chips in his possession. I have no idea what happened after that. After all, there are a lot of holes in the desert. The staff seemed to think that he was just a drunk dude and not some cheat. Based on SenatorKevin's observations, that theory seemed to fit. He was indeed just some drunk wanna-be wiseguy splashing around $10,000. If he really wanted to cheat and pass off chips to his friends, he would have waited until the first break and palmed a bunch of orange chips. That's what some of the cheating teams have done in the past.
It almost seems too good to be true. Drunks spewing chips at the WSOP.
Anyway, 655 players out of 873 advanced to Day 2A, which will play out on Tuesday. After the dinner break, Russian cash game pro Vadim Gruzglin emerged as one of the chipleaders. He ended the night 10th overall.
End of Day 1B - Top 10 Chip Counts:Only 218 unlucky souls flushed $10,000 down the toilet last night. Heck, these shortened Day 1s does wonders for your self-esteem even if you squeak into Day 2! Anyway, the players who survived on Saturday will play on Day 2A on Tuesday with the 821 players who survived Day 1A.
Brandon Demes (Tempe, AZ) - 137,075
Andrew Gaw (Philippines) - 126,100
Nick Maimone (Charlotte, NC) - 122,500
Samer Rahman (Sweden) - 122,400
Max Casal (Burbank, CA) - 121,100
Jim Bookstaff (Pigeon Forge, TN) - 120,750
Craig Hopkins (Chesterfield, UK) - 118,850
Aaron Fang (Las Vegas, NV) - 118,725
Jesse Rios (Salida, CA) - 117,150
Vadim Gruzglin (Moscow, Russia) - 116,100
Soulier, Fabrice 97,725
Sebok, Joe 78,800
Fitoussi, Bruno 58,100
Davis, Raymond 58,000
Eslami, Ali 56,425
Deeb, Shaun 55,100
Demichele, Michael 54,325
Kravchenko, Alex 53,650
Levy, Grant 52,225
Dragomir, Cristian 49,475
Preston, "Amarillo Slim" 48,075
Helppi. Juha 46,325
Slotboom, Rolf 46,100
Boutin, Burt 46,000
Corkins, Hoyt 45,325
Raymer, Greg 43,750
West, Tim 40,550
Young, Jason 40,325
Pagano, Luca 40,125
Matusow, Mike 37,875
Hansen, Thor 34,950
Brunson, Todd 32,950
Bechtel, Jim 30,000
Carli, Douglas 'Rico' 29,175
Crowe, Owen 27,000
Brunson, Pamela 24,850
Ferguson, Chris 24,050
Ury, Jack 23,075
Newhouse, Mark 22,925
Johnny Muhsrooms 21,575
Bruel, Patrick 18,925
Greenstein, Barry 18,900
Rash, Allen 18,800
Ankenman, Jerrod 17,100
Mortensen, Carlos 15,425
Lester, Jason 13,850
Edler, Bill 13,800
Cohen, Louie 11,000
McConnell, Page 10,900
Caro, Mike 10,850
Billy the Croc 8,575
Bouncin' Round the Room...
Since it was sort of a slow day, Otis and I continued our prop bet madness with another episode of What Does Benjo Think? We asked Benjo five questions and gambled on the answers...
What Does Benjo Think, Vol. 3Stay tuned for a new installment of What Does Benjo Think? Only at the WSOP can we gamble on angry chain-smoking Frenchmen!
1. What is the combined weight of Doyle Brunson, David Benyamine, and Steve Diano?
Benjo said, "That is tough. I say 1000."
Result: Push (0-0-1)
2. How many pros were rolled by a hooker last night?
Benjo said, "Rolled by hookers? Three."
Result: Pauly wins (1-0-1)
3. In a fight between Melissa Castello and Dario Minieri, how long does it take Melissa to win?
Otis: 2 minutes
Pauly: 30 seconds
Benjo said, "Dario has little fists that hurt. He can punch fast. If he has a proper helmet, he can last three minutes."
Result: Push (1-0-2)
4. If Dario is allowed one non-lethal weapon to use in the ring against Melissa, what would it be?
Pauly: Piano Leg (getting 2-1 on this selection)
Benjo said, "Scarf. He'll tie it around her neck and choke her."
Result: Otis wins (1-1-2)
5. What Michael Jackson song will Benjo sing on American Idol?
Otis: Billie Jean
Pauly: Beat It
Benjo said, "The Jackson 5 song I Want You Back. It was the greatest song of the 1960s."
Result: Push (1-1-3)
Around the Horn...
Here are some of my daily reads...
Benjo's French poker blog for all things French pokerAnd don't forget you can follow me on Twitter.
Hard Boiled Poker for stellar writing
Wicked Chops Poker for tits and ass
Las Vegas Vegas for Flipchip's photos
Poker Shrink for head shrinking on the pros
Poker Road for BJ Photos
Pokerati for world standings
World Series of Poker for official chip counts
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