Los Angeles, CA
Last week on ESPN, we were treated to the Phil Ivey Show. This week, the living legend was under-emphasized as he battled it out on Day 5 at one of the outer tables and away from the scrutiny of the hole cameras on the two TV tables.
The featured TV table this week included a Frenchman, a Dutchie, a Buddhist-Irishman, and a Phishead. Sounds like the start to an uncouth ethnic joke. Nope, just ElkY, Andy Black, Rolf Slotbloom, and Happy Shulman.
Fireworks on the first hand of the episode? You betcha. A-K versus A-J sooted all-in preflop. In one corner... an amateur-poker player full-time train conductor shilling for UB. In the other... a wise-cracking nicotine-addicted Buddhist monk shilling for Full Tilt.
"On the scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your hand?" asked Black who hoped that train conductor would slip an inkling of information about his hand.
Not getting the info he fished for, Black made the crying call with the inferior hand. He could not suck out and he doubled up a short stack. A couple of hands later, the train conductor found himself in a cooler hand with his pocket Kings against ElkY's Aces. Casey Jones was about to hit the road until a fortuitous Kc fell on the turn. He torpedoed ElkY's Aces and secured a nice chunk of the French wunderkind's stack.
"Merde!" muttered ElkY under his breath.
Right now, I could hear my colleagues in the French media hurling politically slanted insults, vaginal-laced obscenities, and empty wine bottles at Norm & Lon for their gross mispronunciation of ElkY's real name.
While ElkY shook off the horrendous beat, Happy took control of the action. He limped with deuces and won a pot against two Frenchies who limped behind. In his couch interview, Happy named dropped (Danny Boy and Ivey) and that made him look like a conceited douche. Alas, he's just speaking the truth. When you're entrenched in a bubble like the poker industry, it's inevitable that you befriend a pro or two along the way. It's a weird life working in the circus, and sometimes you can only relate to the other clowns, performers, animals, and side-show freaks. Anyway, Happy has privileged access to several of the top minds in poker and he was not shy about revealing that enviable fact. Just last week, word made the rounds that Happy hired Phil Hellmuth as a coach for the November Nine. I can't wait to tackle the subject of that dynamic duo in a future post.
Happy and ElkY butted heads. Happy opened with K-Q. ElkY smooth called with pocket Queens and two others also called. The flop was A-J-x and everyone checked around, including Happy who flopped a gutshot. He fired out on the turn when a blank fell. ElkY reluctantly folded his Queens and everyone else got gun shy and ran for cover. Happy dragged the pot with a flimsy King-high. I'm surprised that ElkY folded. Shocked actually. Among European pros, the French are notoriously known as calling stations.
ElkY folded the "best hand" a second time as the stack dwindled. His downshift into low gear might have cost him an opportunity to gain ground on day 5 instead of reversing directions. ElkY finally struck gold against one of the chip leaders, Tyler Patterson, when Tyler's pocket tens could not beat his Aces. ElkY doubled up and sprung back to life.
Photo courtesy of Flipchip
Happy continued to shred the TV table and build a stack. He slowplayed a set against Andy Black and the Irishman fell for the trap. I wonder if Buddha told him that Happy was bluffing with A-K and that's why he called.
"Another spectacular blow up," bemoaned Black as he left the final table. When in doubt, blame a defenseless deity.
Twenty-something online pro Lucky Chewey made a cameo on the secondary TV table featuring Prahlad Friedman and Vitaly Lunkin (two-time bracelet winner and 40K Champion). The young and fearless Lucky Chewey found himself in a hand with the Lunkin, the cold-blooded Russian. Lucky Chewey held 10h-5h and re-raised Lunkin who headed into the tank with A-8.
"This is when all the online kids get called and they suck out," said Change100.
Lunkin flipped a coin to determine his decision. The coin landed on its side so there was no direct result. He folded anyway and flashed an Ace hoping that Lucky Chewey would show what he was three-betting with.
"You're too good to show," said Lucky Chewey who tossed his suited crap into the muck.
Lunkin (aka The Russian Ted Forrest) avoided elimination when he won a race with A-Q against a guy chomping down on a toothpick's pocket nines. Later on the two would fight a second time. Lunkin's pocket Aces were outflopped by toothpick schlub (two pair with 5-2 off). Lunkin held the Aces of hearts on an all heart board and called knowing that he was behind and desperately praying to catch one of his outs. Nope. Toothpick's two-pair brutally snapped off Lunkin's Aces and the Russian was crippled.
Donkey Bomber: Just one hand? And a brief mentioning of snagging the chiplead? Let's hope that DonkeyBomber and his rabid railbird Angry Julie get some face time next week.
Bribe of the Day: Antonio Esfiandari offered to wash a dealer's car in exchange for a favorable board. That's an insult to the dealer. How about buying him a car for an improbable four flush with A-K vs A-K? In his couch interview Antonio spoke glowing things about his Life Coach. Under the proper tutelage, Antonio curtailed his bad boys to elevate his poker game and to avoid paying off his BFF, The Unabomber, in prop bets for straying from his new-found discipline.
The Coolest Kid in School: PokerRoad's founder Joe Sebok took advantage of two crazy Asians who were overplaying their hands. He doubled up with suited Big Slick versus Q-7 sooted. He thought he was toasted when his opponent turned the seven, but Seebs rivered a King to avoid elimination. He sniffed out a bluff and another hand to bust an opponent with J-J. During Sebok's couch interview, he honest spoke about how that the business side of poker negatively affected his play on the felt.
Quote of the Month: During the Nuts segment, Erick Lindgren commented that he'd give up sex for a month in exchange for a Main Event championship. The Tao of Poker's favorite Brazilian spicy dish, Maridu, shrugged off his insufficient sacrifice, "That's like a normal month for most humans," deadpanned Maridu.
Blitz Brothers: Let's just get down to it. One of the Blitz brother is an ex-pat living in exile in St. Kitts after he denounced his citizenship because he likes guns and smokes pot, something our shadow government frowns upon. This guy must be a regular listener to the Alex Jones show.
The Life of Ivey: Two opponents showed their hands after he folded to all in bets. It appeared Phil Ivey was behind on both hands, but when you run that good, your opponents willingly give you free information without paying for it. One guy at Ivey's table was rocking a Swine Flu mask. I don't blame the verminophobiac. Las Vegas is a cesspool and the Amazon Room is riddled with filth, diseases, and pestilence. Scary thought? That's just what's on the poker chips. I should start a new shtick, Last Five Pros Who Didn't Wash Their Hands After They Pissed.
The Previous Champions: The legendary Owl, Bobby Baldwin, ended his run at the Main Event when his pocket Jacks were outflopped by Benjo's buddy Julian Brecard. Julien's set of tens held up and the Owl was nevermore... Dan Harrington, neck brace and all, shared some pearls of wisdom during his couch interview. He pushed November Niner Eric Buchman off a hand, but couldn't get an Aussie to fold Queens on a board with three overs and lost most of his stack. Harrington eventually busted out when he whiffed on a flush draw against a former French-Canuck hockey player... Peter Eastgate doubled up with Kings against a flush draw and overpair. He faded both to double up, and he advanced to the next day... Joe Hachem? Not much to report.
Celebrity Death Watch: Actors Justin Henry and Lou Diamond Philips were donating their chips early on. Henry managed to outflop Big Slick with Mrs. Slick after suggesting that A-Q is the one hand that people bust with the most. For me, I think it's A-K. I definitely go out of a lot of events with an unimproved Big Slick. He busted in 235th place but out of the eye of ESPN cameras. LDP lived for one more day.
Kara Scott on Day 3 of the Main Event
Photo courtesy of Flipchip
The Unfortunate Demise of Kara Scott: EPT hostess Kara Scott had her pocket Aces sunk by A-K. Short-stacked, she shoved with Ac-2c and got run down by 5-3 sooted. Life is so unfuckin' unfair. She's a sweetheart and eye candy to boot. I shed a tear as she headed for the rail.
Media Wandering Around in the Background: Every time you see a British writer (Snoopy, Howard, and Bartley), they're hard at work. Snoopy (a member of the Tao of Poker All Stars) was on the scene during Waxman's bust out to one of the Blitz brothers.... Howard from PokerStars frantically scribbled down the hand when German pro Ben Kang doubled through Dennis Phillips... Bartley from PokerStars lingered in the back during Antonio's brother's bustout... Amanda from PokerPages stood behind LDP when he spewed some trips... MeanGene walked past Dennis Phillips after he won a hand... Amanda Leatherman & Joe Stapleton were in a b-roll shot during Sebok's couch interview.
Click here for Flipchip's WSOP Main Event photos.
You can read my end of day report for Day 5 of the Main Event... Day 46: Rapido and The Rise of the DonkeyBomber
And here are previous recaps...
Main Event Day 4 on ESPN - Bubbles and the World Series of IveySee you next week.
Main Event Day 3 on ESPN - Aussies, Ivey, and No Shake for Hellmuth
Main Event Day 2B on ESPN - A Kinder and Quieter Hellmuth and the Always Aloof Ivey Time
Main Event Day 2A on ESPN - The Fossilman and Costanza Show
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