Las Vegas, NV
Day 3. Not Day 3A or 3B or 3H. Just 3. No more alphabetic crapola after the day numbers. It's at this point in the Main Event when things get serious. No more multiple flights. Everyone remaining in the Main Event - 2,557 players - will be together for the first time. The person leading the charge? A Canadian named David Assouline. History is against him. It's nearly impossible to retain the chiplead in consecutive days (this early in the event), but we'll find out if he can pull off that feat, or if someone else will seize the top spot and become the media's darling of Day 3.
2010 Main Event Entrants: 7,319
Players Remaining: 2,557
First Place: $8,944,138
Chipleader: David Assouline - 387,800
Top 11 Chippies:
1. David Assouline - 387,800
2. Ricardo Fasanaro - 380,000
3. Boulos Estafanous - 340,100
4. Matthew Reed - 337,800
5. Randy Dorfman - 337,000
6. Jesper Hougaard - 316,200
7. Rodney Sherry - 316,000
8. Suleiman Abueid - 313,300
9. Cole South - 304,200
10. Martijn Schirp - 303,500
11. Jim Collopy - 303,100
Go here for complete chipcounts.
Go here for a Day 3 table draw.
Editor's Note: Due to the extreme length of the live blog, if you're reading this on the front page of Tao of Poker, then you have to click through READ MORE link below to read more.
Cards in the Air!
Day 3 is off and running. Four levels today. The Pavilion is being used along with every single table inside the Amazon Ballroom.
A lot of slow, sluggish folks today. Half the pressbox is empty because everyone is hung over from Snoop's show last night at Palms (sponsored by PokerStars). It was a rager for sure, and with the Lara Miller soiree at PokerListings ranch house piggybacked to the Snoop fiesta -- it's been a long two days or so of partying. Heck, I'm dragging ass today.
Radio Free Pauly
If you don't know I recorded a couple of radio spots since the Main Event started.
This morning, I was on a very special episode of Poker Road Radio -- The Gavin Smith farewell episode. Jeremiah Smith, Joe Sebok, and Gavin Smith were kind enough to have me on to plug Lost Vegas. And if you're a fan of Gavin, don't miss it.
Listen to Poker Road Road's Gavin Smith Farewell Episode. My stint begins just before the 41 minute mark.
The other day, I sat down with the venerable Jesse May (who wrote the best piece of poker fiction in the history of gambling literature) for his program, The Poker Show. Luckily, I appear on the same program as Tom 'durrrr' Dwan. So if there is any reason to listen to the last episode -- it's for the durrrr interview -- but you get my clip as an added bonus. Jesse and I chat about Lost Vegas.
Click here to download the show. (Right click and Save As)
Click here if you want to listen to the show and read more background info. My spot starts at 31:50.
Sorry for the lack of updates. I was nursing my hangover in the Party Poker suite. They have plenty of orange juice (on ice, too) which helped replenish my tattered body with necessary vitamins.
The last three days have been rough -- I tweaked my back on Saturday, raged it up at the PL/LM party, returned to the Rio for the media event on Sunday, got schwilly for the PokerStars/Snoopy thingy last night, and operating on vapors today.
At the same time, I noticed that a few players went the professional route and stayed away from temptations like an open bar. Kara Scott was feeling under the weather and opted to stay home. Gavin Smith also made a mature decision to pass up FREE BOOZE. Holy shit, he's got the patience of a Zen monk. But this is a new Gavin Smith. He has a baby on the way, won his first bracelet, and is on a mission to be the solo "named pro" in this year's November Nine. His first child is due just around that time. Could be an epic story and fodder for the media if he can advance to the final nine.
I stopped by Kara Scott's table moments after she doubled up. She's sitting at the same table as Robert Iler aka AJ Soprano. She's in a good spot... for now.
Meanwhile, Gavin has Eric Morris (Bluff Magazine owner and one of the dudes who signs my paychecks) at his table over in the Pavilion.
Insert Your Own Capt. Tom Penis Joke Here ______
I love a good Capt. Tom penis joke. I mean, he instantly changed poker vernuclar after the infamous Brandi Hawbaker scandal with POB (penis on back). So it goes without saying that I did a double take when I wandered through the Pavilion, sidestepped a bunch of slow moving redneck tourists, and spotted Capt. Tom at a table wearing a black shirt. It looked like something that an LA Douchebag would wear, which is odd to see on an old dude like Capt. Tom. He is currently shilling "Poker Pens" but when I saw his shirt initially, my foggy and groggy vision registered that as "Poker Penis."
Some stories write themselves. Thanks to the folks on Twitter who jumped in with a POB reference.
But I gotta say that some of the worst things you can experience in poker... wrinkly penis on your back? No other way you can spin that.
The Pavilion Mini-Report
I'll do a more thorough walk through of the Pavilion, but for now, here are some quick observations...
- Robert Varkonyi is sitting right in front of the bracelet displays. He has no rail, save for his wife Olga and a friend of his. Aside from that, the public is ignoring the former champion. So are ESPN cameras. The one crew in their section was shooting Eric Mizrachi's table. I have a feeling that the Mizrachi clan will get lots of coverage during this year's ME episodes on ESPN.
- The Devil is out. Shamus managed to squeeze in a "devilish" reference in his bustout post. Otis can breathe a sigh of relief. Melissa Hayden told me a story about how the Devil used to stalk her back in the day at The Horseshoe. "He was creepy back then, too!" she added.
- Javier 'Anguila' Etayo waved me over. The Spanish pro was still beaming after his home country's victory over Holland in the World Cup final. It was a fun game to watch and he was happy that I had a substantial amount riding on Spain. In a related note, most of the Spanish press were tanked last night at Snoop. He even noticed all of the jerseys and flag and gave them a shoutout. Snoop was even wearing a Spanish team jersey.
- JJ Liu is in the middle of a massage while sitting next to Brett 'GetCrunk' Richey. WOnder of those two will get crunked together on the break.
Rapid Fire Eliminations; Embrace the Formula of Donkey Liquidation
According to out tested formula... 1,235 will remain at the end of today. At this rate, it's moving along at that pace. 250 players busted in the first 70 minutes of play. Tables are breaking quickly inside the Pavilion as we reached the end of the first break.
Recently Departed, Vol. 1
Recent Eliminations: The Devil, Maria Ho, seventeen donks in a PokerStars hat, Dutch pro Lex Veldhuis, Stevie444, former world champion Jim Bechtel, Matt Hawrilenko, Seth Rogen (aka Scott Seiver), that clown from Godsmack, Lacey Jones, and Unabomber.
And speaking of creepy old guys... David Sklansky is also out.
Johnny Fucking Chan
At one point on Day 3, Johnny Chan had seized the chiplead. He's since then lost it, but he definitely created a bit of buzz once word got out that he was leading the pack. Still way too early to tell anything, but Chan as a frontrunner gives everyone something to talk about.
2,000 Mile Marker
OK, not really miles, but we're coming up on 2,000 players remaining in the Main Event. We should definitely reach our golden number courtesy of the Formula of Donkey Liquidation.
Four featured tables: TV table, secondary table, and two tertiary tables. The TV table included Scotty Ngyen, Adam Schoenfeld, and David Sklanasky. Sklansy busted, so now it's just Adam and Scotty. I sweated the table for a few minutes and hoped to see fireworks from Scotty. Alas, not one drunken remark. He seems sober, but I know better. I seem sober most of the time, but I'm usually wasted on the inside.
The secondary table included Jason Mercier. Nothing to report over there. The other featured tables had Patrik Antonius on one and Vanessa Rousso on the other. Rousso was visibly rattled when she had her Aces snapped off earlier. She has since regained her composure.
Antonius? He's been yawning a lot. Wonder if he was up late playing cash games? He has a guy at his table wearing a NE Patriots Doug Flutie jersey. Also at his table are a guy with an FDNY hat and a yellow West Virginia hat.
Daniel Negreanu is sitting near the pressbox and is deep into a massage. He has one of the hotter massage girls working her magic. She's also Benjo's favorite because of those pron rumors.
My back is sore. I'd like to get a massage in the press box, but that would look bad. I slack off enough. Don't need to flaunt the slack.
But we've had an ongoing debate over poker pros and massages. A chunk of players have legitimate neck, back, and shoulder issues.John Duthie has a bad neck which is why you'll always see him with a massage girl behind him. However, I have to question the motives of other players. Some of my colleagues suggested that the massages are a "stats" symbol or a way for players to psyche out amateurs. Other guys are just horndogs and want hot chicks toughing them while they play. I dunno if I can ever do that. It's tough to concentrate as is, let alone trying to play poker while getting aroused at the tables.
The Recently Departed, Vol. 2
Recent Eliminations: Chris Moneymaker, David Williams, Erik Seidel, Paul Wasicka, Gabe Kaplan, Jen Harman, Prahlad Friedman and Capt. Tom's penis.
Rail Chatter - Monday Afternoon Edition
I love hiding my badge and embedded myself on the rail. Here's what I got so far today.
- Two models from an second-tiered online site were walking through the Amazon Ballroom...
"This place smells fragrant," said the first one.- "Is that the guy who quacks?" said spectator pointed at Paul Magriel. "He's sure fat."
"This place smells like ass," said the second.
"It smells like that too."
"It smells like fragrant ass," I added. They gave me the evil eye and walked away.
- "I want to buy a WSOP poker table. Do you think that I could buy one in the gift shop?"
- "There's Joe Cattah (Cada)," mused a guy with a beer gut and a wicked New England accent. "But where's his fattah (father)?" (Presumably looking for Johnny Bax aka Cada's daddy).
- "Where are all the famous people?"
Chan Back on Top
Johnny Fucking Chan is back in the top spot, but for how long? He was one of the first players to pass the half-million mark and he's approaching 600K. POY candidate Frank Kassela is also lurking near the top spot.
Lauren Kling is near my pressbox. I haven't sweated her yet today, but her table has had plenty of horndogs ogling her. Anyway, she has a healthy stack and is trying to win Wicked Chops Poker Last Woman Standing honor.
4:20 Smoke Break Sponsored by Lost Vegas
Here's the time of the day when I tell you that if you like what you have seen here, then you should buy my book Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, and the World Series of Poker.
Please support an independent writer and artist and buy 2 or 3. Lulu is the site that is selling my book and they offer up FREE shipping options (for US residents). For more info about my book, check out the Lost Vegas FAQs.
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700 Bustouts and Counting...
In the first two levels of play on Day 3, over 700 players have busted. The formula never lies. Every thirty seconds you can hear the faint cry of "All in and a call on table _____!"
Funny thing is that the dealers say that so ESPN's cameras can determine if they want to film the all in. If it's a named player, then the dealer waits until the camera crew gets into position. Otherwise, if it's a bunch of unknowns (or pros who don't make the cut), then the hand plays out without the media scrutiny.
Bring Plane Fare
According to my Dutch colleague, Remko, there's a player in today's field who is getting blinded out. Supposedly, a Belgium player won his seat via online satellite. He fucked up his ticket and was supposed to leave today, except that when he tried to change his flight, he was unable to due to the excessive fees. He must have been broke because he left his stack and flew home. As Remko said, for $300 dollars or whatever the change fee was, he would have taken 50% of the Belgium's action.
Kara Scott Eliminated
It pains me to write that three-word title. Alas, it's true. Kara Scott is busto from the Main Event.
Super Agent Brian Balsbaugh pointed it out to me.
"Why is Paul Magriel wearing three Swatches?"
I looked and sure neough, he had one watch on his left wrist and two on his right wrist. I immediately thought about an episode of Band of Brothers, when one of the soldiers from EZ company were poaching watches off of dead servicemen (both American and German). I think that whenever Magriel busts a player, he rolls the carcasses of the deceased -- thereby acquiring a new watch.
It's ugly today with the eliminations. You can't blame a guy like Magriel (who urinates with his pants around his ankles) for snatching up the spoils of war. Finders keepers, right?
Humberto Brenes is still alive. My buddy Rey from Costa Rica has been circling his table all day providing coverage of Humberto for the Spanish version of PokerStars Blog. The sharks have not come out in full force, but I have a feeling if Humberto makes another deep run, you'll see the cameras following his progress. When the cameras swarm, the mini-sharks will make an appearance!
Humberto had a few fans on the rail, including one shitstain who kept elbowing me trying to get closer.
Joe Cada Eliminated; Daniel Negreanu Busto
Daniel Negreanu was on death watch for the last hour as a gaggle of media hovered around his table and circled his short stack like vultures. He finally busted and then bolted out of the Amazon Ballroom - presumably back to his RV/trailer out back. Ivey and durrrr also have RVs and that's where they go to chill out on breaks. I don't blame them -- if they can afford it, go for it and avoid the masses on the breaks. Those guys get mobbed (especially Ivey and Negreanu) by autograph hounds. Negreanu is not as stand-offish and aloof as Ivey, which makes him even more approachable so fans will even interrupt him in the middle of a hand! Anyway, I wonder if Negreanu is going to return his RV? If not, can I rent it out for the rest of the WSOP?
While Negreanu left the Amazon Ballroom with an ESPN camera crew following behind, Joe Cada busted out. His friends on the rail and the other spectators have him a lukewarm applause. He ducked underneath the ropes and left the Amazon Ballroom, but not without passing underneath his mural.
Yep, no repeat champion this year. The last player to win back-to-back championships is actually still alive... Johnny Fucking Chan.
The Recently Departed, Vol. 3
Recent Eliminations: Daniel Negreanu, Joe Cada, Irv Gotti, Kara Scott, Billy Kopp, Devilfish, Min-cash legend Tony Cousineau, Crazy Marco Johnson, TMay420, Roland de Wolfe, Bill Chen, Eddy Sabat, Anthony Yeh, and Jared Hamby.
Jim 'MrBigQueso' Collopy acquired a hefty pot in a sick sick sick hand. Both players had gotten it all-in preflop in one of those crazy four-bet, five-bet shove raising wars. Collopy held Kings. His opponent held A-3 sooted. I love poker. Collopy flopped a set on an Ace-high board. His opponent turned trip Aces (Collopy turned a boat) and he had outs to a bigger boat -- but whiffed on the river. He was crippled and Collopy added even more chips to his stack. He's not the leader, but he's in the lead pack. Fear MrBigQueso.
Play will resume at 8:15pm PT. When we come back, we will play two more hours before Day 3 is over. At the moment, we don't have an exact count, but we're somewhere around 1,550 players, maybe less.
By the way, I spent the last ten minutes of break analyzing and deconstructing this video (of a girl in a bikini opening a bottle of MGD) with a dozen French media...
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Archie Karas - The Beginning of the Comeback?
I hope Archie Karas goes deep. It will be an amazing story from the ESPN perspective. The producers are astute storytellers year after year and pick out two or three compelling back stories which they explore during the Main Event coverage. The deeper that Archie goes -- the deeper they can tell his story.
ESPN has one camera crew in the Red section. They were shooting b-roll of golden boy Patrik Antonius, but Archie Karas has a stack and is currently on their radar.
The Recently Departed, Vol. 4
Recent Eliminations: Vanessa Rousso, Kelly Kim, Eugene Katchalov, Jon Turner, Apestyles, and Ryan Daut.
Stealing Time from Scotty's Stack
Scotty Nguyen was holding court on the featured TV table when it became his next table to break. ESPN decided to put Scotty's new table on the stage for the last hour or so of play for the night. He went on a mini-break and the player next to him began to rack up his massive stack. He accidentally reached for some of Scotty's chips. Once they realized that it was an error, the floor didn't know what was exactly Scotty's chips. Luckily BJ Nemeth happened to be snapping photos of the table. He counted Scotty's stack before he went on a break and even tweet'd that he had 56,200. No one challenge BJ's count and the player next to Scotty returned the chips that he had accidentally acquired. BJ and his ever outstanding moral hubris saves the day.
Almost One Room Remaining
The Pavilion is down to around 25 tables of Main Event players. It looks like we won't get down to a low enough number that all of the Pavilion tables were broken down today. Day 4 should start with a dozen or so and within the first hour or so of play, the entire field will finally be inside the Amazon Ballroom. That's the first time you will physically see the progression of the tournament as fewer and fewer players and tables remain.
Old School Roman
Rey, my colleague from Costa Rica, pointed out Roman Suarez. The 26-year-old Argentinean had made the final table of the LAPT Punta del Este in Uruguay. We both covered him in that tournament -- and he got taken out by Nacho Barbero. Suarez is as old school as you can get. The press from Argentina mentioned that he had never read a poker book and is not an internet player. Rather, he's an old fashioned grinder who plays the biggest cash games in Argentina and the occasional tournament.
At the present moment, Suarez is sitting on a half a million in chips with Italian pro Dario Alioto and Mike Wattel at his table.
The Shrinking Pavilion Report - The Last Dispatches
I'm filing my last report from the Pavilion. With less than an hour to go for tonight and 25 or so tables, I took one quick look into the room. French pro Gabriel 'yellowhat' Nassif was seated next to Kathy Liebert. Totally overlooked her earlier, but she definitely stood out as one of the few named players still alive in the Pav.
Shawn Rice had just busted a player and added more chips to his ever growing stack when I walked by. He was sitting across from 0maha8 legend Scott Clements (some say he's one of the best in the world at that game). Rice is constantly being mistaken for Darvin Moon, even though he wears an UB hat and not a Saints cap like Moon.
The Life and Hard Times of Archie Karas
I was prepped to write some sort of Archie Karas-related piece for my recap. I even started it, but quickly realized that it's obsolete because Karas had just busted. Anyway, I observed his table for most of the level after dinner break. Here's my notes...
The Table:Archie was running over the table during the time I stalked and sat on the rail. He raised every hand that he had played and his opponents were just flatting. He had no problems tangling with them on all streets. He made mince meat out of one of the Eurodonks. They probably had no clue who he was and that he blew tens of millions shooting dice at different casinos in Vegas. A true rags to riches to rags story. But what's the next chapter? Does he take his shot at redemption and miss? Or does he fulfill a dream that he dreamed long ago one day -- that he'd make a triumphant return to Las Vegas and re-stake his claim as one of the greats gamblers who ever lived.
Seat 1: Archie Karas
Seat 2: Old guy with toothpick
Seat 3: Scandi with tight t-shirt three sizes too small
Seat 4: Ray Rahme look-a-like
Seat 5: NJ tough guy with Borgata jacket
Seat 6: Eurodonk with garish hoodie
Seat 7: Eurodonk with graphic t-shirt
Seat 8: Wook with a hoodie and fu-man chu
Seat 9: Internet kid with headphones
How many people do you know who a million playing poker? I can count that number on one hand. I know of hundreds who have done that just from being in the poker industry. But how many people do you know ran up a bankroll to $40 million and then rolled it all away. Craps out.
It was kinda fun to watch Archie channel his former degen self and take command of the table. But I began to wonder if he would shrug off the increasingly media exposure and buckle under the pressure.
Alas, as soon as I stepped away, he stepped on a land mine and we never saw or heard from him again.
The Recently Departed, Vol. 4
Recent Eliminations: Archie Karas, Jeff Sarwer, Johnny World, Thor Hansen, Kenny Tran, Amanda Baker, Sandra Naujoks, Dario Alioto, Pat Pezzin, and Dan Michalski's namesake Daniel Makowsky.
Day 3 Complete
We're dunzo. Everyone who survived today are practically one day away from the money. Man, this tournament has been going on for over a week, and no one has cashed yet. That will all change tomorrow.
The clock says 1,240 players are left. Wow, the Theory of Donkey Liquidation once again comes through in the clutch. Benjo and I used our computer model to predict 1,235 runners at the end of today. I'm guessing that real number is a bit lower.
Update: Currently, 1,203 remain.
Top 9 Chip Counts - End of Day 3
1. James Carroll - 803,000
2. Imari Love - 741,100
3. Gerasimos Deres - 733,700
4. Filippo Candio - 727,300
5. Max Casal - 687,200
6. Arie Kliper - 666,200
7. Andrew Brown - 657,700
8. Johnny Lodden - 656,400
9. Johnny Chan - 636,000