Los Angeles, CA
I pulled up Tao of Poker's semi-live blog for Day 6 and a list of Main Event money winners, and followed along with the action on ESPN. It was kinda fun to do that and see which bustout would get recorded or what hands were chosen to support whatever major and minor plotlines for the Day 6 episodes. So much happened because they couldn't squeeze in all the drama into two hours of footage.
Day 6 of the Main Event began with 205 players with Evan Lamprea out in front.
Top 10 Chipcounts:
1 Evan Lamprea - 3.564M
2 Michael Skender - 3.527M
3 Joseph Cheong - 3.357M
4 Duy Le - 3.186M
5 Theo Jorgensen - 3.088M
6 Bryn Kenney - 2.902M
7 Matt Affleck - 2.896M
8 Alexander Kostritsyn - 2.564M
9 Johnny Fucking Chan - 2.559M
10 Sebastian Panny - 2.442M
Oh Sweet Nuthin'
Chan on Day 5
The most tragic story of the day included the destruction of Johnny Fucking Chan's big stack. He began the day among the leaders and for the third day in a row garnered a significant amount of attention from the media and spectators. The former champ was by far the "biggest named pro" remaining and showed no signs of decay. Alas, even the mightiest of empires come crumbling to a halt, and the Chan dynasty imploded in two hands.
Chan began the day like he had been doing for most of the tournament steamrolling his table. He brushed aside Matt Keikian in one hand and Chan was just getting his funk on when it happened... he got moved tables.
Sometimes your fate in the Main Event comes down to which seat change card your given by the floor. The luck of the draw, right? Johnny Fucking Chan took his new seat at Robert Mizrachi's table and it might as well been an electric chair. On the first hand he was deal, Chan woke up with pocket Kings. He got into a raising war with Robert Pisano. For most of the tournament, Chan was playing back at anyone who tried to three-bet him -- and he was winning that battle. It happened again and Chan four-bet Pisano. However, Pisano wasn't fucking around with Chan. He held two black beauties -- As-Ac -- and five-bet-shoved. Chan called, and any glint of confidence got sucked out of his skull when he flipped over his Kings and Pisano tabled Aces. Pisano's won a pot worth over $4 million as he rocketed into the lead. A stunned Chan shipped over columns of chips to Pisano's end of the table.
Chan looked like a wounded animal. For the previous year or so, Chan has been having off the felt issues that affected his play, that is in the few events that he played. Chan seemed uncomfortable whenever I saw him inside the Rio, perhaps it had something to do with his failed attempt at trying to corner the energy drink market with All-In third rate sugar water? Supposedly, he had fallen out of the good graces with the spheres of businessmen who call the shots at big events like the WSOP.
Anyway, Chan's uneasiness at the tables disappeared around Day 2 of the Main Event. The confident and menacing Chan, who I witnessed win 10th bracelet in 2005, was back. Yes, it was not John Chan, but the original Johnny Fucking Chan was back. Until... he ran his Kings into Aces
All of that brio evaporated into thin air. Chan knew his run was over, and it would matter of time before he was done. A close up of a somber Chan reminded me of Cinderella watching the clock at 11:58 and knowing her stint in dreamland was almost over.
You could see a semblance of calm in Chan's eyes on his final hand. Chan had shoved with Jacks and hoped for a double up, but he unfortunately ran into Jon Driscoll's pocket Aces. Chan's Jacks got beaten down like a dissident in Tienanmen Square and he was eliminated in 156th place. The episode actually ended with Chan amidst the walk of shame out of the Amazon Ballroom.
White Light, White Heat
"The story of family" was mentioned in the intro. The Mizrachi clan, which by now you've grown to know and love, sent four brothers into the killing fields. All four survived the initial waves of bloodshed, however, by the sixth day of the butchery, only two remained. One was the light, the other the heat. I'm still trying to figure out who is who, but the Grinder and Robert remained because they won pots at the right times. Sounds so simple, right?
When the Grinder got moved to Peter Jetten's table, those two got into it right away. The board read Kc-10d-9d-Ac-5c and the Grinder threw his weight around. Jetten scurried away in fear of the Grinder. It seemed as though no one wanted to challenge the Grinder as he raced up the leader board.
Meanwhile, Robert had a lot of work ahead of his as one of short stacks in the room. He survived an all-in against overall leader Pisano when his A-Q held up against A-rag. Robert flopped a Broadway straight and doubled up. Later on in the episode Robert won a race with pocket sevens against A-Q. Robert doubled up yet again, and Norm accused the Mizrachi brothers of roiding it up.
Duy Le, a law school dropout, was not happy to have the Grinder at his table, because Grinder pummeled him into coughing up a nice chunk of his stack. Like a bully pushing around a nerd at recess. The Grinder seized the lead.
Train Round the Bend
Matt Affleck pissed away a big stack at last year's Main Event. The 22-year old simply lost his mud after he fired away at a pot with 10-high and got picked off. That hand sent him into a tailspin and he busted out shortly after. During his couch interview, Affleck mentioned that people often bring up the ugly incident from 2009.
"You were chipleader in the Main Event, what happened?"
Well, Affleck is a year older and for online players that's like dog years. He said he's 10x better than last year, and he definitely played with more restraint. He understood the marathon concept to the Main Event and didn't have to sprint out and play every hand -- but he still played his style of seeing a lot of flops. Affleck was given a rare chance at redemption a year after his mistake, which is amazing because some pros go years and decades before they can exorcise any lingering Main Event demons.
Affleck won the first hand of the episodes showing you how the online kids play power poker. Even though he missed the flop with Kd-10h, he chased away two opponents when he came out firing at the flop.
Affleck managed to avoid trouble when he sensed he was behind in hands. Danny Chamberlin was way ahead in one hand with pocket Queen against Affleck's Ace-sooted. Chamberlin tried to induce a bluff from Affleck, but Affleck avoided the trap.
On one of the last hands of the second episode, Danny Chamberlin's Jc-8c outflopped Affleck's Ac-2s with a Jack on the flop. When the 3s fell on the turn, Affleck picked a flush and gutshot re-draws. The river was the Qs, and Affleck rivered a crackbaby flush. Affleck checked his slim holdings, Chamberlin bet small, and Affleck did the math in his head. He called and wondered if Chamberlin held a bigger flush. Nope. Affleck won the pot and ended the episode on a high note.
Rock and Roll
Former tennis pro Nick Rainey got lots of face time on the featured TV table with Matt Affleck. Rainey was one of those former athletes who turned to poker after their careers fizzled out. Rainey's claim to fame is that he's Patrik Antonius' personal assistant, which means he fetches him grub, picks up his dry cleaning, and helps Antonius shave his chest.
During his fifteen minutes of fame for his couch interview, Nick Rainey explained how he met Antonius while teaching tennis at the Hilton in Las Vegas. The two became friends and Antonius offered him a chance to take care of his affairs, while Rainey saw it as an opportunity to improve his poker game from being around one of the most graceful human beings who ever walked the planet.
Rainey must have learned a thing or two from Antonius, although the Finnish boy toy is most known for his skills at the cash game tables. Rainey played with a little Finnish aggression in his loins during a hand with Christian Harder. Holding Jc-7d Harder opened and Rainey called Kc-9s. The flop was Qs-10d-4d. Harder fired away with nothing and Rainey called with nothing. The 10h fell on the turn, and it came down to which one of them was going to be more aggressive. Rainey was the first one in the pot and Harder bailed.
Rainey tried to be a little cagey, but couldn't trap Affleck, who was playing with heightened Spidey senses. Affleck's pocket eights were up against Rainey's Big Slick. Rainey flopped trips, but Affleck had been sniffing out trouble all day and avoided losing more chips in that hand.
Who Loves the Sun?
The Scandis love the summer because of all those bleak winters that they have to endure. No wonder that the Swedes commit more suicide per capita because of the harsh winters. I guess you can say that online poker saved lives in Scandinavia because it gave their depressed citizens something else to be depressed about aide from desperately waiting to feel the warmth of the sun.
The Scandis made a run on Day 6 of the Main Event, and you only caught a small sample of what happened as the Scandi sleeper cell was putt forth into action. Maybe we'll see that story line unfold in the next episode, but this week we got to see Norway's Johnny Lodden and Denmark's Jesper Hougaard.
Lodden got pushed off a pot from James Carroll. Carroll happily showed him TPTK. Things were not so peachy over at Hougaard's table that also included Bobby Bellande. The two instantly butted heads. On a board of Ac-3c-As-7s-6s, Hougaard shoved and Bellande folded Ah-Kd face up, and figured he was beat to a boat or flush. A part of him feared that he was folding the same hand as the Scandi. We never got to see Hougaard's hand, but Bellande was convinced he was behind.
Things got really bad for Hougaard during a hand with Pascal Le Francois. Hougaard flopped two pair, and thought he ambushed Pascal's pocket Aces. Hougaard got it all-in and Pascal was about to get sent home. However, the board paired on the turn. Pacal's Aces up would win the pot and he doubled up, avoiding an elimination. Hougaard jumped out of his chair. Scandis are usually stoic and expressionless, but he walked away muttered a trail of Danish curse words -- something about being the whore of a motherless goat -- I couldn't tell for sure because my Danish slang is not so good these days.
I'm Waiting for the Man
Unluckiest Man on the face of the Earth?
Bobby Bellande might be one of the unluckiest people in poker, or that's how he's being portrayed these days. The guy ran good during the WSOP, caught several breaks, won flips, and made several big calls down the stretch. He picked off a bluff from Pascal. The French-Canuck had whiffed on his flush and gutter draws, but fired at the pot anyway. Bellande nonchalantly called with only a pair of tens (I think it was second pair). Bellande won the pot with a hero call. Someone at the table uttered, "Good call."
Bellande scoffed at the compliment. "You kidding? That's a terrible call! You can't bluff a donkey."
When Bellande called an all-in with Ad-Ac, he prepped for the worst. However, much to his dismay, his Aces held up and he sent David Peters to the rail.
Then Bobby Bellande called another all-in. He held As-Ad against Jose Nadal's Kd-Kh. Bellande sensed it was coming, especially when Nadal turned a straight draw. But it wasn't a runner-runner suckout. Instead, Bellande's Aces were snapped off by a two-outer when the Kc spiked on the river. All of the Spanish players on the rail went nuts as Nadal survived and doubled up.
"It's not you... it's me," yowled Bellande.
Run Run Run
Eric "basebaldy" Baldwin was the focus on the secondary table with Adam "Roothlus" Levy, Russell Rosenbloom (who final tabled the Main Event the year Varkonyi won), last woman standing Breeze Zuckerman, and David "Not Bakes" Baker.
Last woman standing Breeze Zuckerman got involved in one hand with basebaldy, but he knew he was behind and bailed.
Basebaldy got a couch interview where he described himself as the "everyday all-American kid" story. He played college baseball and then turned to poker as one of those former athletes who missed competition in their lives. He won a bracelet last year and made a deep run in the Main Event, but it seemed more action was going on among his tablemates, like Original David Baker, than with him.
Beginning to See the Light
A few of the November Niners were mentioned including...
- Joe "subiime" Cheong was introduced after winning an early hand. Cheong ended the episode after dragging a monsterpotten. His As-Ad knocked out Chris George's Qh-Qd. That pot thrust Cheong him into the lead with almost 6 million.
- Candio the wacky Italian was in the middle of a massage when his A-rag missed the flop. He still got his opponent to fold. He must have been intimated by the massage?
- John Racener got some face time in a three-way pot. Racener flopped a set and that's all she wrote. He vacuumed up more chips for his big stack.
Lonesome Cowboy Bill
Here are some of my orphaned notes that included somber tales of eliminations, or solo mentions in the episodes...
- David Benyamine was virtually ignored, mainly because he doesn't say much at the table, so they didn't have much on him aside from one hand when he doubled up with Kings.
- Russell Rosenbloom wished the November Nine was around back in the days before the boom. He could have been a semi-superstar, at least gotten a bit more out of his former fifteen minutes of fame, which expired a year after he final tabled the 2002 Main Event. Not much has happened for the pro since then, except a decent showing in the Main Event. Alas, his run came to and end when he got it all in with deuces against A-K. He was sweating his exit and knew it was coming. A King spiked on the river and Rosenbloom was done.
- Jesse Martin busted out when his Ac-Kd lost to German former hoops player Michael "Detlef Schrempf" Skender's pocket Queens. You might have caught my ugly mug standing behind Jesse when he busted in 157th.
- Theo Tran's A-7 (aka the Tourist) won a flip against Pisano's deuces. Tran caught a fortutious Ace on the river and lived to see another day...or at the least a few more hands.
- Galfond was all-in with pocket sixes against pocket Jacks... and Galfond couldn't come from behind. OMGClayAiken hit the road in 141st place.
- Short-stacked Tony Dunst's got it all in with Ac-Kd in a three-way pot -- versus Qs-Qc and As-10h. A King on the flop was all Tony needed and he avoided an elimination.
- French pro Gabriel "Yellow Hat" Nassif sat at the TV table. He was involved in one hand with pocket eights against Danny Chamberlin Qh-7d. The fop was 6s-6c-3c. Chambelin fired at the flop and Nassif called. The turn ws the As. Chamberlin fired out half the pot for 120K. Nassif insta-called. The river was the 2s. With a flush on the board, Chamberlin bet 120K. Nassif reluctantly called ... and it was good.
Head Held High
Russian pro Sergey 'gipsy' Rybachenko joined the TV table and he was involved in two hands with Canadian amateur Gary Kostiuk, who has MS. He's been living in the moment before his MS progresses to a stage where he'd be unable to play poker. Even at the present moment, he had trouble stacking chips from time to time. He won a $330 satellite to get into the Main Event and parlayed that into a decent cash, but more so, he had a once in a lifetime experience.
Kostiuk was short and got it all-in with Big Slick against Gipsy's pocket Queens. Kostiuk turned a King and he doubled up. Kostiuk couldn't hold onto those chips after he lost a crucial pot against Christian Harder. Harder's turned two pair with Ah-5h against Kostiuk's As-Qs. They got it all-in and Harder doubled up.
But then Kostiuk got a second chance at Gipsy's charitable donations. Gipsy opened with Ad-10d and Kostiak shoved his shorty with As-9d.
"Good luck, you're gonna need it," joked Kostiuk.
"I must break you," mumbled Gipsy.
The flop was Ad-9h-7c and Kostiak took the lead as he promised. The turn and river didn't help Gipsy, and Kostiuk doubled through the Russian a second time.
Thanks to Flipchip for the WSOP photos.
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 6, read about the straight dope on Day 6 Semi-Live Blog, and don't forget about the end of day recap of Main Event Day 6 - Never Mind the Scandis, Here Come the Mizrachis.
Day 2B - Happy Jacks, Action Dan, the Jenny Crank Diet, and Pancakes with the DonkeyBomber
Day 3 - Scotty Nguyen and the Rudiments of Gruel
Day 4 - Money Money Money
Day 5 - Wie Geht's Detlef Schrempf and OMG Runs Good
And don't forget about other 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.