Los Angeles, CA
For Day 2 of the Main Event, Phil Hellmuth and 'DanDruff' were seated underneath the bright lights of the featured TV table. DanDruff challenged Hellmuth's endorsement of UB, which was the scene of a nasty crime where a superuser fleeced DanDruff. Norm Chad muttered something about a cheating scandal but that was the only mentioning of the atrocities and online poker's biggest black eye.
Here's what I wrote in the live blog for Tao of Poker...
"Your company stole my money!" Todd Wittless chastised Phil Hellmuth at the featured TV table. Score one for the one of the NeverWin guys who had the cojones to stand up to UB's pitchman. I'm sure that exchange will not going to make the ESPN broadcast.During the first hand of the episode, Hellmuth pressed a monster draw with 8c-7c. Hellmuth risked his entire stack on a juicy flop of 6c-5c-x. Ben Sprengers, a brash 20-something kid from Miami, had flopped two pair and wasn't going anywhere. The kid was on the verge of knocking out the legendary Poker Brat. However, the poker gods shined their love upon Hellmuth with an Ace of clubs on the turn to fill in his flush. Sprenger had a few outs, but Hellmuth faded the boat draw to win the hand. As he stacked up Sprenger's chips the self-proclaimed greatest hold'em player in the history of poker boasted, "I came to play today!"
Had he lost, Hellmuth would have torn the kid's head off and spewed about his paltry choice of starting hands. Alas, Hellmuth won the hand, much to the delight of ESPN's cameras. Hellmuth means viewers. Lots of them. Some people love him and the rest love to hate him.
Hellmuth shattered one opponent's dreams with 8-4 off suit. Hellmuth's opponent bluffed off his chips... while drawing dead. Maybe Hellmuth was right, the donks just hand their chips right over to him.
"Nice call preflop Phil," said Sprenger.
Hellmuth shifted gears like a drunk Scandi and accumulated a stack. He even picked up a pot with 9c-2c with a four-bet that sent two opponents running for cover.
But he can't use Sacndi moves on a Scandi. Only Gus Hansen can do that. Phil had Jack-shit suited in one hand with two Aces on the board of Ac-Ad-8d-6d. His Scandi opponent wearing a garish green hoodie (with matching flashing socks) held Qd-Qx. Phil even put his opponent on the hand after peeking into his soul, yet and the Scandi called anyway. The river was a blank and Hellmuth slammed on the breaks. Scandi checked the river and won the pot.
Hellmuth picked up a pair of Kings and even flopped a set on a King-high board, although he could not induce his opponent to call and only picked up a small pot. With the panache of a homosexual Spanish bull fighter, Hellmuth tabled his Kings.
"That's what you call top set!" he barked.
"What a dick," I screamed at the TV. Top set? Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Ah, the life of Phil Ivey. During his introduction, he was deep into a massage. The truth is that very had been up for while playing cash games in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio, which were hopping around the Main Event. Ivey had his superfans on the rail and he even busted a Scandi. Ivey 's opponent shoved with A-K against his pocket Kings. Usually in that situation (against a Scandi on the EPT), the Scandi always sucks out with an Ace on the river. However, it must have been Ivey's day. His Kings held and he sent the Scandi packing.
Everyone's favorite spicy Brazilian dish, Maridu, was seated at the the secondary feature table with Dennis Phillips and the Grinder. Phillips wore his trademark red St. Louis Cards hat, while the Grinder sported a hipster hat with a NY Yankees logo.
In a display of sheer discipline, The Grinder flopped trips and opened folded it on the river when Phillips flushed him out on the river.
Here's my Grinder story. It's 2005 and The Grinder and the WPT were huge at that time. I was at the Plaza in glorious downtown Las Vegas. Flipchip and I were covering The Ultimate Poker Challenge a couple of weeks after the WSOP ended. On one of the breaks, the Grinder shot dice with a few other pros. He was wearing a NY Yankees hat and jersey. I knew he was from Florida but didn't know he was a Yankees fan. I wandered over and complimented him on his choice of fandom. He looked embarrassed when he admitted he was only wearing the hat and jersey because it matched with the rest of his clothes.
Alas, The Grinder did not advance to Day 3 of the Main Event. He shoved with an OESFD and whiffed.
Phillips and Maridu were involved with two hands were she was up against his Aces... both times. On the second hand with Aces, Phillips value bet Maridu with a four flush on the board. Maridu rivered two pair but Phllips' rivered a flush draw with he Ace of spades. The two engaged in some witty banter as Maridu unleashed her inner dialogue, that is, if she was thinking in English and not Portuguese.
In the celebrity department...
Scotty Nguyen took a bad beat when his Aces got snapped off by K-10. Rivered again. He threatened to quit poker if he didn't win $4 million at this year's WSOP. Well, he didn't even come close. That's Scotty being Scotty.
LDP got an tiny bit of face time wearing his hipster hat splattered with a PokerStars logo. One of his tablemates asked him to sing La Vida Loco. "But Ritchie, you were my brother!"
Norm mentioned that LDP was one of the original celebrities that he associated with poker along with James Woods.
"Where is James Woods?" asked Norm. A valid question. I had not seen him on the circuit in some time. Probably because he's out banging 20 year old girls.
In his couch interview, L.A. Laker Jordan Famar admitted that he learned how to play just before the WSOP began. Literally, just before it started. I love poker.
I lalso ove the that there's anti-gambling commercials during broadcasts of the WSOP. It's like running anti-drug ads during Pineapple Express.
Media wandering around in the background? There's one dealer who sat at the TV table who's a dead ringer for John 'Schecky' Caldwell. It's eerie. Did anyone else see him? Lina, the lovely Swedish PokerStars blogger, was scribbling down notes when Peter Eastgate avoided elimination when the defending champion doubled up with A-9 after he snapped off Queens with a straight.
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