Las Vegas, NV
Schadenfreude took on a whole new meaning the first time I stepped inside the Amazon Ballroom in the summer of 2005.
There's not a better word which describes the cut throat nature of tournament poker in Las Vegas. Players get off on their opponents' utter misery and failure. I admit, when I see another player at my table absorb a huge hit from a suckout, I perk up in my chair and can't wait to go after the victim. After all, you know their going to be on the slightest of tilt and if they can't handle the psychological effects of a bad beat, then it'sa matter of time before they spew their chips in your direction. Wounded players are always a target. As that saying goes, sharks smell blood from miles away...
On Day 2B of the 2009 Main Event, there were a record number of players who returned for the re-start of the original Day 1C and Day 1D fields. As you already know, players were turned away on the morning if Day 1D because there were no more spots available after that flight filled up. And if they had allowed an extra 500 or 1,000 players? Then Day 2B would have turned into a logistical nightmare. They were already past peak capacity and additional players would have plunged the remainder of the WSOP into anarchy after players would be told they have to play in the parking lots.
Mean Gene and I were joking around the other day as we wandered through the back area of the convention center and passed thousands of unused banquet tables and chairs stacked two stories high. We both decided that Harrah's should have set up tables outside in the parking lot or on the roof to play in the blistering sun for those players who showed up late on Day 1D and demanded to play. That solution would have accommodated the players and at the same time punished them for showing up late.
Alas, players were shut out and after seeing the staff scramble to get Day 2B underway, I had a clearer understanding on why players were turned away. For Day 2B, the staff used every nook and cranny in the Amazon Ballroom for tables. During the first hour of play, they closed off the Amazon Ballroom to spectators (with the exception of the featured TV table that included God's gift to all poker... Phil Hellmuth). Tables were set up in the middle of pedestrian aisles. As soon as tables were broken, little maintenance guys in black uniforms swooped in and quickly dis-assembled the table and whisked away the chairs.
Both the poker room and the area outside of Buzio's was utilized to accommodate the 2,922 (down from the initial report of 2,924 person) field. Even though the day was shortened to just four levels, only 1,436 players survived the cut on Day 2B and advanced to Day 3. Overall, there are 2,044 players left in the Main Event.
More than 50% of the field on Day 2B was decimated in a mere eight hours of play. It was one of the quickest and ugliest slaughterfests that I had seen since the 2006 WSOP. Players, both amateurs and pros, were disappearing at a rapid pace. It was hard to find players with all of the tables collapsing and the entire field spread out over the casino and convention center. At one point, three of the ballrooms were utilized. Unless you specifically knew where a player was sitting, you had a pain in the ass time finding them.
Most of my conversations go like this...
German Media Rep: "Ver iz _____ (insert name of hot female pro)?"I had to remind myself that the tournament was simply too vastly spread out for me to cover by myself on Day 2B, and like most of the other media, we slowed down to a jog. Once everything gets inside the Amazon Ballroom, then it becomes less time consuming to gather stories and I can sprint around like a hellcat.
Pauly: "I think I saw her in ____ (insert ballroom name)."
British Photographer: "No. She was there on ___ (insert Day 1 flight) sitting next to that wanker ____ (insert douchebag online pro's name)."
Pauly: "Ah, that's right. I saw her in Amazon section ____ (insert name of a color) and she got stacked that nimrod _____ (insert name of overrated TV pro who everything thinks is richer than Warren Buffet, but can't even afford to pay for the $6.95 breakfast buffet at the Gold Coast)."
Phil Ivey always looks disinterested when he's playing tournament poker. It's just how he acts. Aloof. Then again, playing the Main Event seems like a nuisance and something in the way of his real passion... playing high stakes cash games. On his days off, Ivey focuses on cash games and begrudgingly heads to the Rio where he knows he's gonna have to experience the claustrophobic nature of being Phil Ivey. Bobby's Room at the Bellagio was created to give the high stakes pros in the Big Game a sense of semi-privacy to play poker. But the WSOP is a made-for-TV event and quite the spectator spectacle. Ivey. Ivey. Ivey. He walks into the room and it starts buzzing.
Ivey spent all of the day under heavy media scrutiny and if he continues to go deeper, it's only going to get worse. ESPN cameras hovered and fans tried to catch a glimpse of their favorite pro. While on the other side of the room, the defending Champion Peter Eastgate struggled to stay alive with a shortstack. Scandis with big stacks are more dangerous than tweakers with a newly cooked batch of crank. But a Scandi with a shortstack is an anomaly, like a black swan floating by.
Only nine former champions are still alive in the 2009 Main Event. Eastgate advanced to Day 3 along with Bobby Baldwin (1978), Hellmuth (1989), Jim Bechtel (1993), Dan Harrington (1995), Jesus (2000), Carlos Mortensen (2001), Greg Raymer (2004), and Joe Hachem (2005). Will one of them actually advance to the November Nine? Chances are slim to none.
Celebrities try and take shots at the poker spotlight every summer. A few go deep and bask in the warmth of media attention (unless you're Toby Maguire and act like a total asscock).
The most famous celebrity (worldwide) who is left in the Main Event? Do more people watch cricket or Seinfeld? I'm gonna give the slight edge to cricket God Shane Warne only because I've traveled to plenty of exotic places/countries/continents where cricket is more a part of everyday vernacular than "shrinkage." Both Warne and Shane Alexander are alive with healthy stacks.
Patrick Bruel is one of the most famous people in France according to Benjo. The singer/actor is still alive along with LDP... Lou Diamond Phillips. The Simpsons producer Sam Simon and L.A. Laker Jordan Farmar both advanced to Day 3. I watched Farmar play a few hands... one he played poorly and the other he played marvelously. He's going to have to stay consistent if he wants to make Day 4.
Busted celebrities? Marlon Wayans, Torrie Wilson, John Salley, Ray Romano, Sully 'Late Seat' Erna, Shannon 'Was that really 11 years ago?' Elizabeth, and Brad 'I'm so rich that I get to bang 19-year olds' Garrett.
When action re-srats on Friday for Day 3, here's the players on the leaderboard that everyone will be wondering if they can continue their run or will they fizzle out and become the next Dimtri Nobles?
Day 3 Top 10 Chip Count:
1. Amir Lehavot - 610,500
2. Peter DeBaene - 465,000
3. Troy Weber - 453,200
4. Dan Bizzerian - 439,500
5. Gabe Walls - 417,900
6. Mikael Thuritz - 395,400
7. Andrew Gaw - 386,000
8. Eric Cloutier - 383,000
9. Jason Brice - 376,100
10.Ed Perry - 370,000
Bouncin' Round the Room...
God bless Flipchip for taking this photo of Vanessa Rios. Click to see an enlarged view. Be careful, it might poke your eye out.
Click here to view more Flipchip photos. And for photos of tits and ass, head over to Wicked Chops Poker and wank away.
Back by popular demand...
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To...Thursday is a semi-day off. The Main Event is not playing and will resume on Friday at noon. The media event is scheduled for 1pm and will be taking on a Dream Team Poker format. I'm the captain of Tao of Poker and I'm playing with Mean Gene and Change100. We already have a huge heads-up team wager going against Team PokerStars Blog, or EAM POKERSTARS BLO as their jerseys read. I'm waiting for Otis and the Brits to ship it...
1. Steve Sung
2. Arnaud Mattern
3. Trond Eidsvig
5. Alex Kravchenko
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.