Los Angeles, CA
ESPN billed this week's episode the "Quest for Cash" with the money bubble. They devoted an entire one hour episode to the bubble, just one of the benefits of this year's expanded coverage. They pulled off an excellent job painting the picture of the near misses and tremendous laydowns that usually happen as the bubble looms. Examples included one guy in utter agony as he folded Kings to a re-raise. Shit, even Phil Ivey eased off the gas and passed with A-Q on the bubble when an opponent three-bet him with K-J.
Check out the Tao of Poker live blog for Day 4.
Former champion Joe Hachem took a seat with defending champ Peter Eastgate at the PokerStars.net secondary TV table. The two got into it early when Hachem defended his big blind with 8-6 off-crap. The gritty Aussie wasn't going to let the youngest world champion push him around.
"I'm the fuckin' world champ too, mate. Stop raising my blinds. You think you can get away with that shit? I got chunks of Scandis in my stool."
"Hey, I thought we were friends, Joe? Even though Scandis seem cold and calculated, we have feelings too, ya know? Unlike the negative perceptions in the media... we don't all wear ugly hoodies, try to bang strippers, and play shitty cards like Gus. That's Gus Hansen, by the way. I have him on speed dial. You know what number? 6-9."
"Gus? He's a horny fucker. He'd hump a kangaroo if he was drunk enough."
Hachem flopped a gutshot and flush draw. Against a hyper-aggressive Scandi opponent you're usually way ahead in that situation. Eastgate held A-10 and flopped top pair. The defending champ was cautious and Hachem chased him down on the river to win the pot.
Phil Ivey held court at the FullTilt.net TV featured table. If you wondered how Phil Ivey built his stack? This episode gave you a little insight. His opponents were sending pot and pot Ivey's way. They were all convinced that he was bluffing or making a move on their sorry asses. Yet, he had them every time. That's because he's Phil Ivey.
Early on, Ivey induced a donk to ship his stack over after Ivey
Not everyone was so thrilled to end their Main Event at the hands of Ivey. After author Andy Bellin got out flopped by Ivey, he muttered, "I never should have dropped out of grad school.'
Actor Lou Diamond Philips doubled up JC Tran in what he eloquently described as "spreading love around the globe." He also does a wicked Scotty Nguyen imitation as he mugged for the cameras.
On the other side of the room, former actor Justin Henry made his run towards the money. He's played in events in the past and always asked the media to under-emphasize him in the coverage. Most people are whore for attention, but Henry just wanted to play poker. This time around, ESPN convinced him to sit down for a couch interview. It reminded me more like a bit with Jim Lipton from Inside the Actors Studio as Henry revealed the obscure, yet interesting fact that he once kicked Dustin Hoffman in the balls while filming Kramer vs. Kramer.
You can't air a WSOP episode on ESPN without an appearance from everyone's favorite that they love to hate -- Phil Hellmuth. Of course, the suits at ESPN could not have scripted a better scene... Hellmuth holding A-A with a short stack in a multi-way pot and on the verge of elimination. One of his opponents shoved with an up and down straight draw. The other? Flopped top two with J-10. An incensed Hellmuth ripped into the kid because he knew his fate before the dealer even dropped the turn and river cards. Hellmuth lost the hand. The kid with J-10 lost as well. The third guy made his straight and Hellmuth headed to the rail after getting his Aces snapped off.
Hellmuth showed up to the Main Event dressed as Julius Caesar. If you don't know your history or literature... Caesar was stabbed to death by his friends. And Phil Hellmuth? Busted from the Main Event with Aces.
As Marc Anthony proclaimed at the end of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar...
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world 'This was a man!'
Douchebag of Day: After a suck/re-suck against Kevin Saul, Brian Shapiro went off on Saul in a tirade. TD Jack Effel gave Brian Shapiro a one hand penalty for insulting Kevin Saul's haircut. By the way, you really have to act like a total tool to prevent Hellmuth from winning this distinction. Kudos.
The Life of Ivey: You know that you made it in life when people bring you food. His biggest fans in the world were sitting in the front row with a sandwich and apple for Ivey to keep up his energy under the bright lights of the TV table.
Norm's Pop Culture Reference: Thumbs up for... "Princess Bride" and Screech from Saved By the Bell.
Media Wandering Around: One of my favorite British writers, Stephen Bartley was on the scene recording JC Tran's double up against Lou Diamond Phillips... Poker News Dutch guy (I forgot his name!?) wandered over when the Z-list reality TV show dude sucked out against one of the Blitz brothers.... Paul from Bluff hung on the rail when one guy doubled up on the bubble... Tao of Poker All Star, Snoopy from the UK, stood right behind Kia Hamadani when he was all in for his last chip and busted out on the bubble.... Chris B. (one of the photographers from Poker News) and Ilya G. (editor of Poker news Russia) snapped photos during Hellmuth's elimination hand... Earlier in the episode, Howard from PokerStars (another favorite scribe of mine from the UK) stood behind Hellmuth when his opponent won a hand with trip Jacks.
"I want to vomit on the floor," moaned Hellmuth after he lost the pot.
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