Los Angeles, CA
Action in the Main Event resumed with two episodes focusing on Day 4, which included the ultra-exciting money bubble that the gang at 441 Productions covered magnificently. It's hard to replicate the energy and magic of the bubble bursting inside the Amazon Ballroom. 441 did a awesome job and captured the last four eliminations before the bubble (in 15 minutes of TV time), which gave everyone at home a taste of the prolonged nature (and the hurry up and wait aspect) of hand-for-hand play.
Johnny "Fucking' Chan held court on the featured TV table with Brett "Get Crunk" Richey nearby. Old Buddha himself dispatched a couple of pearls of wisdom including, "Never underestimate your opponents." And how about this gem: "Try to win it one pot at a time."
Yep, that's the Tao of Johnny Fucking Chan for you. Not to be outdone, Action Dan Harrington attempted to dispatch his sagely advice, "Get in bad a couple of times and draw out." Yep, gotta love that mantra. I couldn't think of a better way to live your life -- constantly getting it in bad and sucking out. Screenwriters call that a deus ex machina, which drives Robert McKee absolutely crazy.
Sorry for this abrupt tangent, but this is one of my favorite scenes from Adaptation...
Vegas legend Bob Stupak originally gave Chan his moniker "the Orient Express" when he witnessed Chan nun right over a final table. Mike McD popularized the term Johnny "Fucking" Chan and to this day I dunno if I can say it without the gratuitous f-bomb. Chan admitted that people call him "Jackie Chan" instead of Johnny Chan, but I wonder if they call him Jackie "Fucking" Chan?
On the first hand of the event, Chan has his Kings savagely cracked when his opponent flopped a set of Jacks. Chan pissed away 1/3 of his stack, but got some chips back when he rivered a Wheel against a different opponent. Chan value bet the river and induced a call from a internet player, a move he's been doing before the kid was even born.
During Chan's couch interview, the producers dug deep into the archives and showed a few seconds of footage from his 10th bracelet victory in 2005. If you freeze-frame the episode you can find me the background for a millisecond with Mike Paulle. Ah, 2005... that was first ever WSOP. I was so young and innocent at the time -- which happens to be the last time Chan won a tournament.
Chan's remarkable feat of back-to-back Main Event championships will "never be broken" according to the man who set the record. I agree. It's sort of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak or like Wilt Chamberlin's 100-point mark. Players might get close (like Kobe Bryant), but too much pressure is involved which makes the feat seem even more improbable.
Chan had no qualms about fucking around with former Aussie boxer Jeff Fenech. Chan bullied the boxer around like he was a nerd in the lunchroom. Fenech was way ahead in a hand, but slowed down on the turn. When Fenech checked, Chan smelled weakness. That was enough wiggle room for Chan to seize an opportunity so he shoved all-in with just an OESD. Wow, Johnny "Fucking" Chan made a move on a punch-drunk boxer....and it worked.
Chan's Spidey-senses were in flux on Day 4. He easily sniffed out value-bet-river-bluff from a Costa Rican player.
Chan seemed like he was cruising until he was unable to deliver a knock out blow when Fenech was on the ropes and all in for his tournament life with Q-Q. Chan couldn't connect with Big Slick and Fenech doubled up with pocket Queens.
The Mizrachi Four
Here's my notes on the Mizrachi clan...
- The Grinder and the Big Randy (of Pokerati fame) were involved in a hand. The Big Randy was pushing him around and the Grinder decided to fold, but not before he showed and Ad.
- Donny the Magician is the only non-pro among the brothers.
- Robert runs good? He snapped off Aces with a set with pocket Jacks.
- The Grinder avoided an elimination when he doubled up with A-J versus K-Q sooted. It seemed like a meaningless hand at the time, but it's those little things that add up to a November Nine appearance.
- During the brothers group couch interview, they cited their parents as major influences on their proclivities to gambling. "It's in our blood," explained Eric. Both parents were more than casual gamblers, which is why they were cool with their sons' entrance into the gambling world... where it's a hard work to make an easy living. On a good note, the Grinder admitted that his momma loved him the best. Yep, I pegged him for the Momma's boy in the ground.
- The Grinder was on his CrackBerry a lot during this episode, obvious checking up on his brothers via Twitter.
The Grinder cracks out on his CrackBerry
* * * * *
The Gavin Smith and the Great White North Show
- The Grinder and Chris Bjorn were moved to Gavin Smith's secondary table. "Donny is my favorite Mizrachi," joked Gavin Smith, but the Grinder blew him off and didn't even dignify that joke. In fact, I kind a got the impression that the Grinder didn't like the amicable Gavin Smith.
- Amateur opened with A-K. Gavin Smith shoved with Jacks. Amateur called and Gavin was flipping for his entire future, but he had nothing to sweat because Jacks held up. He avoided an elimination and doubled up his stack as action approached the money.
- Gavin later flopped two pair with 5-4 to snap off pocket Queens because his opponent tried to slow play his pocket bitches. Gavin's opponent folded so he didn't get paid off, but that hand almost guaranteed that he'd cash.
Odds and Ends... Mostly Ends
- Barry Greesntein busted out and Jason Somerville got an autographed copy of his book. "Like most fans, Jason plans to sell the book on ebay," joked Norm, one of his better zingers of the night.
- One of the few celebs still in the Main Event on Day 4 was Hank Azaria until he got it all in for his tournament life with Q-Q vs A-K, then promptly got rivered with the Ah spiked on the river. Another drowning EuroDonk saved on the river. Norm was incensed and screamed: "The kid just killed Chief Wiggum!"
- Current WSOP POY leader, Frank Kasella, got some face time and finally sat down for his couch interview where he discussed the impact of two bracelet victories in 2010. He admitted that he understood what it really meant to run good and he kept pushing that edge as much as possible. He got moved to the secondary table with the Grinder and Gavin Smith, to make things a bit interesting with Grinder who has an outside chance at tying Kasella for the POY title. If the Grinder wins the Main Event, then Casella has to share the top spot. Kasella wins POY outright as soon as Grinder busts out of the November Nine.
- Italian Felippo Candio picked up an unlit ciggie from the rail and did his best Sammy Farha imitation for Sammy who was at his table. Candio was not mocking him, rather, the young Italian struggle to tell him that he's his favorite player. "For me, great respect," said Candio in broken English. Farha is the definition of cool.
- 2009 ME Bubble Boy, Kia Hamadani, got a couch interview. Hey, how many Bubble Boys do you know get a chance at redemption during his 15 minutes of fame?
- Ted DouchBort barked in the intro and Norm threaten to call Clark County animal control. If you make enough complaints, animal control will eventually show up. I'm watching Animal Hoarders all the time now and discovered that all you have to do is drop a dime on the hoarders, and your local animal control (a.k.a. the animal Gestapo) will come to the hoarder's home and extract the neglected pets. Sadly, they have to put down the ultra-sick animals. Anyway, someone should have put that Doubebort and his bark to bed on Day 2. I guess karma caught up to him, because Ted Bort finally busted out before the money bubble without any more barking, thank God.
The Bubble Hath Burst
Insanity on the bubble
The second episode of the night (#12 overall) featured the actual money bubble. The top 747 players make the money in the 2010 Main Event. The episode began drenched in drama and just four places away from the money.
During that time...
- Kido Pham went out before bubble, with photographer extraordinaire Joe Giron in background snapping action shots of the player who won the pot.
- Grubby lookalike Anthony Rivera survived an all-in and doubled up.
- Tim McDonald's Queens were toast after his opponent flopped a full house and he went out as the Bubble Boy. By the way, the Bubble Boy usually gets a buy-in to next event, the bubbling the bubble is the worst because you don't get jack shit and zero recognition.
Listen to the Tao of Pokerati episode that we recorded during all that mayhem....
Tao of Pokerati - 2010 WSOP
Episode 66: Bubblicious - Pauly and Dan were hanging out in upper level of the Jack Links' beef jerky lounge keep tabs on the entire Amazon Ballroom from the high ground when the bubble burst. They captured the announcement of Tim McDonald's 748th place elimination thereby becoming this year's Bubble Boy. They also recorded the jubilant celebration from the players who made the money in the 2010 Main Event.
Post Bubble Coitus
Here are some notes from action after the bubble...
- Gavin Smith's table (that included the Grinder and Frank Kasella) got moved to featured TV table. Smith got knocked out by Max Casal right after the money bubble burst.
- Eric Buchman was the last 2009 November Nine still alive and admitted that he hasn't watched the November Nine episodes... for obvious reasons.
- Eric Mizrachi hits the rail and became the first Mizrachi brother to bust out. On a good note, the brothers made history as the most number of siblings to cash in the same Main Event. Eric went into professional railbird mode and bounced back and forth around the Amazon Ballroom as he sweated his other three brothers. Donny, with Eric right behind him, tripled up in a hand against David Benyamine, who whiffed on a flush on the river. Or dare I say... le whiffe?
- November Niner Jonathan Duhamel was introduced to the audience in a hand with Phil Galfond.
- Johnny "Fucking" Chan won a fucking pot with a fucking flush against fucking amateur's two fucking pair. A fucking value bet on the fucking river was fucking good enough to fucking push the fucker over 1 fucking million in chips.
Frank Exits Stage Left
Frank Kassela got it all in with K-K in a three-way pot. He battling against pocket Queens and a Eurodonk named Jan Boye who shoved with A-Q.
"I got an Ace," said the Grinder.
"I didn't want to hear that," commented the superstitious Kasella.
The case Queen, the Queen of spades hit the flop which gave Kasella's opponent a set.
"Are you kidding me?" said Kasella. "A one outer?"
But that wasn't as ugly as what happened. Two spades were on the flop and a thrd hit the turn, which gave the Eurodonk a flush draw. Yep, he promptly four-flushed pocket Kings and pocket Queens with A-Q after a spade spiked on the river, which sealed Kasella's fate. The WSOP POY (leader) was nevermore.
"That's alright, you gotta gamble," said Kasella.
Norm did not have nice things to say about the Eurodonk: "(Jan Boye) is Darvin Moon with an accent."
Here's a footnote... The Grinder was waiting for the Eurodonk to ship chips to his end of the table. The Grinder got it all in with 10-10 against pocket sevens. Despite the pleas of a seven from the Eurodonk, the Grinder avoided an elimination and doubled through Jan Roye. Eric Mizrachi was in the crowd at the TV table to witness another one of his brothers stay alive. At that point in the tournament, Eric was the good luck charm for the entire Mizrachi clan.
Thanks to Flipchip for the WSOP photos, oh and Benjo too.
Here's previous Tao of Poker recaps of the Main Event on ESPN:
Day 2A - March of the Mizrachis and DannypaloozaFor in depth coverage of Day 4, read the Main Event Day 4 Semi-Live Blog and the end of day recap titled Main Event Day 4: I Want To Take You Higher.
Day 2B - Happy Jacks, Action Dan, the Jenny Crank Diet, and Pancakes with the DonkeyBomber
Day 3 - Scotty Nguyen and the Rudiments of Gruel
And don't forget about episodes of the Tao of Pokerati podcast that Michalski, Benjo, and I recorded live from the floor of the Rio.
For more of your WSOP fix, visit the Tao of Poker's Index of WSOP coverage.
See ya next week.