Las Vegas, NV
Watching Razz puts me in a foul mood, even though I returned to Vegas with a slight tan and in much better headspace after the
The result is always the same: swollen testicles. And to be equally fair to my female readers... swollen vagi.
Sweating Razz tournaments from the rail are for the truly brave, who are either hopped up on the strongest anti-psychotic drugs, or they must be hardcore sadists who thrive on watching people inflict pain to one another. Whenever I watch a Razz tournament, I'm filled with vigorous confusion. Even though I'm not playing, I still get an uncomfortable feeling in my groin area.
The Mickey Doft/Phil Ivey Hoodie story is probably one of my favorites at the WSOP. Mickey is one of the best floor reporters to ever don the Poker News logo. He's all smiles and a good kid from Florida who has no vices save for one -- Razz. In a vacuum of degeneracy, the kid is a true saint. He's also a Razz freak and was looking forward to playing only one event this year -- Razz.
There's a Phil Ivey connection to Mickey that is sort of important. As Monday bled into Tuesday, the temperatures dipped in the Amazon Ballroom during his final table of HORSE. Even the great magnificent Ivey was prone to the drastic change in temps. He was cold peeled off a c-note and asked someone in his entourage to buy him a hoodie at the gift store. Ivey wore it for a while, then took it off and eventually left it behind after he won his 8th bracelet. Mickey snagged the Ivey hoodie and guarded it like it was the Shroud of Turin.
The Ivey hoodie wasn't the only time that I've seen a Poker News reporter swoop in and gobble up leftovers from a well-known pro. At the 2007 WSOP-Europe in London, Jamie Gold ordered satay chicken kabob but he busted out before he could even finish it. His plate sat idle for an hour before Snoopy finally mustered up enough courage, gave into temptation, and gobbled up Jamie Gold's kabob.
Much like Gold's kabob in London, Phil Ivey's abandoned hoodie was up for grabs. Mickey snagged it and decided to wear it for Day 2 of the Razz event. Yes, he's hoping that Ivey's run good rubs off on him. I asked Mickey if he found any $25,000 Bellagio chips. He shrugged his shoulders. If he did, he'd be foolish to tell me.
Mickey survived Day 1 even though he drew the Grinder, David Chui, and Jen Harman at his table. He held his own, and even busted the Grinder. On Day 2, Mickey found himself at a table with David "Gunslinger" Bach and Alex "KGB" Kravchenko. Unfortunately for Mickey, he met his fate when he busted on in a three way hand that also sent DonkeyBomber to the rail. With both of my players busto, I focused on the circus on the rail.
The Razz rail was ripe for photo hounds, since a couple of familiar-TV personalities were still alive. During one of the breaks, Fossilman posed for a picture, and I wondered if the fan who took it was cognizant that Fossilman's banner was hanging behind them in the background. Daniel Negreanu did not wait for the break to accommodate a photo request. He sauntered over to the rail and happily obliged to take a few photos with a group of adoring fans. After covering the circuit for almost six years, I've noticed that Negreanu and Fossilman are probably the best when dealing with the public. It seems so effortless, even though they give up so much of their spare time on breaks even though you get the feeling that every once in a while, they'd like to simply relax. That's why I don't have an issue with pros who walk the back hallways on breaks in order to avoid the masses. After all, they are at work and entitled for a bit of peace and quiet.
The infamous Archie Karas made it to Day 2 of Razz. Tom Sexton was on the rail keeping an eye on him. I kept pestering Tom and asking him who backed Karas.
"A mystery man," said Sexton with a wink. "I can't tell you who, but let's just say that a group of guys were fighting over who gets to put Archie in this event. You know, Razz is his best game. At one time, he was the best in the world. It's easy for him to get staking."
A horse is a horse is a horse, and Archie was one of the many horses in the Razz event, but he failed to live up to his billing and busted out way before the money bubble broke. Even as the field dwindled down, there was still enough star power (Jen Harman, Negreanu, Joe Hachem) to keep the rail buzzing. Linda Johnson emerged as one of the leaders shortly after the dinner break.
Theresa Viganola, the wife of avid Tao reader Tony V., also went deep into the night. She cashed in 27th place. Other notables who cashed included JovialGent (38th), Greg Raymer (37th), Matt Glantz (34th), Negreanu (29th), Joe Hachem (22nd), David Chui (20th), and Linda Johnson (16th).
With 15 players to go, Melville Lewis holds the chiplead. Also still alive are Stuart Rutter, Chris Bjorin, Frank Kassela, Jen Harman, and everyone's favorite Russian banker Vladimir Schemelev.
The Brits are supposed to win five bracelets this year, well at least that's the bet that I have. The British Empire might be slogging their underachieving World Cup squad, but their sons in Las Vegas are cleaning up with four bracelets already. And then there's Stuart Rutter lurking near the top as he sniffs out number five. Snoopy mentioned Rutter as one of the Brits to watch this summer, which means he's as good as a pick to win the bracelet. When Day 2 of Razz ended, Rutter was sitting third in chips.
Can Harman make another final table this year? And if she does, can she overcome the big stacks and find the killer instinct to close win her third bracelet? She has several near misses with a runner-up and two third place finishes. Maybe she's due?
Tune in on Wednesday to find out who will conquer the sadists and become the reigning Razz champion. The winner gets a gold bracelet, $214,085 in cash, and a bucket of ice to cool down their inflamed genitals.
Bouncin' Round the Room on Day 26...
Only one final table on a relatively slow day. The TV table area and adjacent beef jerky final table was off limits while ESPN's crew prepped for a special NHL charity event.
Event #39 1.5K NL Shootout Day 2: A bit of a ruckus in the afternoon when an Eastern European Eurodonk had words with Jesse Martin after he busted. The floor supervisor separated the two and issued a one-round penalty to the Eurodonk. When Martin was at the payout table, the classless Eurodonk did a casual flyby telling him that he'd "be outside." That happened in front of the floor supervisor who did not appreciate the threatening gesture. He gave the player a penalty for a second round. Never a dull day inside the Amazon Ballroom.
Annette15 - 13 spots away from her first US-based bracelet
Day 2 began with 14 tables and they played down to the final 14. Day 3 will begin with slight controversy that includes two tables of seven players playing a MTT format until they get down to a final shootout table of nine. Many of the players were miffed that they were not getting the proper reward for winning two shootout tables. Alas, that's what happens when you get an odd number.
Anyway, with 14 to go, JC Tran is in the hunt and Annette Obrestad is still alive. As Change100 said, "If Annette has a shot at a bracelet in 2010, well, then this is it. No pressure, of course."
Event #36 Donkulus Day 3: With three tables to go, Ryan D'Angelo and Hungarian pro Peter Traply were among the notables remaining. Alas, Traply busted in 14th and ended his quest for a second bracelet, while D'Angelo missed the final table with an 11th place exit. Scott Montgomery, the Canadian Rain Man, advanced to his first final table since the initial November Nine.
Event #38 10K PLH Championship Day 3 and Final Table: The day began behind the eight ball with three tables to go. Chainsaw Kessler was attempting to go deep and secured himself better than a min-cash. Plenty of names were still lurking including the always yummy Sandra Naujoks, who sadly busted in 15th place. Kessler didn't last longer than 14th place and POY leader John Juanda breathed a sigh of relief. If Kessler won this event, he would at least tied Juanda in the POY voting. Kessler is currently tied for 13th place overall. So according to BJ's number crunching, Kessler needs a min-cash plus a bracelet victory to seize first place in POY. Chainsaw has something to shoot for.
When it got down to twelve players, a couple of young guns were lurking including Sam Stein, Dani Stern, and Tom Marchese. Alas, Stein bubbled off the final table in 10th place denying a potential rematch between himself and Marchese. The two had battled during the PokerStars NAPT Venetian's Main Event.
The final table was set with Marchese as the chipleader, along with Petter Jetten, Stern and Blair Rodman (author of Kill Phil). The final table went fast. At one point Valdemar Kwaysser had accumulated over 50% of the chips in play and he quickly picked off the rest of the final table. Kwaysser won the inaugural event on the LAPT and he took down the PLH Championship bracelet for Hungary, much to the dismay of a unit of soused Germans on the rail sweating Konstantin Bucherl. The unruly Germans were the source of a migraine for tournament staff and the media, before they were booted by security.
Cliche of the Day: Change100 shared today's Cliche of the Day starring Chainsaw Kessler. Supposedly, Chainsaw driving home last night and realized that he lost $75 in free slot play and was irked. The rest of the table gave him shit over a meager $75 (including the fact it was... slots). Amnon Filipi quickly rushed to Chainsaw's defense.
"Come on guys," Amnon said. "It's seventy-five free dollars."
"I was so upset when I got home, that I couldn't sleep," explained Chainsaw. "So, I watched my favorite show... Pawn Stars."
Photos courtesy of Harper & Benjo.