Las Vegas, NV
One line that stands out from the cult classic Rounders is from a scene at the end of the second act when Mike and Petra are watching an old VCR tape of the WSOP Main Event and they utter the now infamous phrase... "Johnny Fucking Chan."
The word 'fuck' is deeply rooted in our vernacular, both with gambling and otherwise. Books have been written about the origins. Comedians like Lenny Bruce were vilified for using the word in the 1950s, and parents cringe the moment the word first comes out of their offspring's mouth.
But just saying 'Johnny Fucking Chan' is sort of like a password for a secret sect. Only a few people know exactly what you're talking about, and the ones that do understand the sub-strata of the poker universe where we cavort.
Besides, I just love saying Johnny Fucking Chan. I know that it annoys some folks, which encourages me want to say it more. And then I see how one of the most famous catch-phrases gets censored by mainstream poker media. I feel the pain of my colleagues who have to clean up the word and use a PG-version of the 'frickin' or 'freakin' or 'flippin'. Reminds me of watching The Breakfast Club or Caddyshack on TBS with all of the cuss words censored. It's just not the same.
So for all of my friends in the media who are being stifled on Day 3 and for the remainder that Johnny Chan is in the tournament, I will by carrying the torch for you. Every time I write or tweet Johnny Fucking Chan, please know that that 'fucking' is an homage to the guys and girls in the trenches who have to work under morally-hypocritical standards. It's perfectly OK for us in the poker media to white wash cheating scandals, drug and alcohol abuse, and other overall douchebaggery -- but the minute you try to use one of the most common catchphrases in poker -- they get censored.
I love the 'illusion' of the freedom of the press. What the fuck? Is this communist Russia from the Cold War days? Is this communist fucking China today?
Luckily, I can say whatever the fuck I want to say so a hearty FUCK YOU to the powers to be who are a bunch of fucking pussies who won't allow their scribes to say Johnny Fucking Chan.
Fuck yeah. I'm rooting for Chan now because the longer he stays in, the longer I can pick up some sick sick sick SEO by writing Johnny Fuckin' Chan or Johnny Fucking Chan.
With that said, Johnny Fucking Chan was among the front runners on Day 3. It's hard to take a chipleader seriously at that juncture of the tournament, but Johnny Fucking Chan is still a big fucking deal, and a mythical character propelled into the heavens because of two reasons...
1) Chan was the last player to win back-to-back championships (he would have won a third if Phil Hellmuth didn't beat him in 1989).Chan didn't play too many event this summer. I heard rumors that Harrah's and Chan's company (which produced third-rate sugar water energy drink) were at odds with one another. Chan has had his own moments of misery over the last few years when he tried to corner the energy drink market at the WSOP during the year that they banned Red Bull in favor of Chan's drink. That ended up a fiasco. I heard number tossed around that Chan owes them six figures or more, which is why he was persona non grata. Or perhaps that's not true and Chan knew he fucked up with his energy drink and decided to ban himself from the Rio in non-TV events to save himself from embarrassment. Whatever the reason, there's some bad fucking blood between Johnny Fucking Chan and the suits.
2) Rounders and Johnny 'Fucking' Chan.
I love a dramatic back story, and Chan has plenty of skeletons in his closet. Wonder if any of them will surface the deeper that he goes into the Main Event?
At the end of Day 3, Johnny Fucking Chan is sitting on 636,000 chips or good enough for 9th out of 1,203. Johnny Fucking Chan will begin Day 4 under even more intense scrutiny.
Welcome to the Butcher Shop or what the French media call La Boucherie.
I don't want to beat a dead horse, er dead donkey, and repeat myself with re-writing and re-hashing old themes like The Killing Fields, The Kitten Fields, and There Will Be Donkey Blood. I encourage you to re-read those recaps from my WSOP archives. Most of those pieces still hold water today. It's during the 2008 WSOP where Benjo and I perfected our Formula for Donkey Liquidation on Day 3 of the Main Event.
We've been analyzing the data for years and I gotta say that the formula works. We came upon a golden number -- 1,235 -- that our formula spit out. Early on Day 3, I got a little worried that the number would be crushed because of the rapid pace of eliminations. 700 runners were decimated within hours. It was difficult to keep up as the surplus tables in the Pavilion were disappearing every few minutes. One minute you saw someone you knew, and the next, they vanished into thin air. Sometimes you see them walking the hallways -- but I know better -- those are just ghosts haunting the Rio.
The eliminations eased up after dinner break but the final numbers fell below the line set by the Formula for Donkey Liquidation. The final tally was 1,203. We were off by 31 runners. I still stand by the formula. It's not 100% accurate, but we were fucking close.
Day 3 separates the donks from the players. Anyone an get lucky on Day 1 and Day 2s are not that difficult to navigate. But Day 3 is the first time that the field is together and you're playing against a crop of more skilled players and more importantly, players with hefty stacks. If you're an amatuer or have too many leaks in your game, those flaws are exploited on Day 3. Or if you're a solid player, but don't have much of a stack to work with and get stuck with a shitty table draw, then it's gonna be nearly impossible to advance to the next day without some luck from the poker gods. That's why Day 3 is one of the most excruciating days of bloodshed at the Main Event.
With that said, if you can survive Day 3 then you have a legit shot at making the money on Day 4. One more step to a guaranteed payday. If you're an amateur who won a seat via satellite, a min-cash is not a bad score. And if you're a pro with serious debts or make up, anything that you can win during the Main Event is gravy.
I will wait one more day before I start gushing over the remarkable return of Scandi dominance at the Main Event. Most of the Scandis were absent from the preliminaries (taxes and overall economic woes), but more and more of them started to trickle in the week leading up to the Main Event. Although this was considered the year of the British Invasion during the preliminaries, British pros have not been making noise in the Main Event. If one section of the world is making waves -- it's the Scandis.
Johnny Lodden, Theo Jorgensen, and Jesper Hougaard all have decent stacks. Lodden is currently 9th in chips. I first saw the young Norwegian many moons ago when he was an online phenom. I tracked his progress in EPT events and his style epitomized the reckless nature of Scandi MTT poker -- he played like a maniac, ran up a stack early, amassed a monster lead, only to spew chips before the bubble. Lodden Implosions were so common that you could write about his performance using a template.
Lodden is one of the best players in the world at accumulating a big stack. His problem was his inability to down shift gears and take a few hands off. That skill comes with age and maturity. Lodden is a few years older now and has been representing PokerStars as a sponsored pro on Team Norway. He's tweaked his game and let's see if his adjustments can propel him into the November Nine.
Lodden is probably most known for Lodden Thinks, a propbetting game created by Antonio Esfiandari and Phil Laak during the EPT London. They come up with a question and gamble on what Lodden thinks is the answer (for example, what will Lodden think is the fastest land animal?). Otis and I created a tweaked version of the game involving Benjo. You should check out a video of our 'What Does Benjo Think' hijinks.
On Day 4, watch out for the Scandis (Lodden, Jorgensen, and Hougaard) with big stacks -- they will either be busto by the end of today or will be sitting on 1 million or more in chips.