Las Vegas, NV
If you chop up and dice and slice enough onions, it will make you cry...unless you're cool enough to buy a SLAP CHOP! If you cook a lot at home, or happen to work the line in a restaurant, then you're well aware of the bizarre power of a simple vegetable. Onions make grown men cry. Same thing applies to the WSOP -- if you chop up, dice, and slice enough donkeys, then you will be brought to tears.
Dead donkeys make grown men cry.
Every few days a few thousands unsuspecting souls are led to the slaughter... and they pay good money for it. Depending on the day, the price tag of admission to the Donkey Grinder is as cheap as $1,000 and as much as $1,500. The sheeple (or is it Donkle?) march right into a lake of bloodshed without even knowing it. The few Donkey Slayers who survive the carnage are rewarded with luxurious paychecks and a gold bracelet. I also find it humorous that bracelet winners also get awarded their very own Diamond Club card -- good at all Harrah's properties. The WSOP staff should be giving out helmets, raincoats and waders to keep all of the Equus Asinus blood off of the winner's clothing. Nothing is more tragic than seeing a hoodie or Ed Hardy shirt ruined by donkey guts.
Whenever I see a flash mob of Brazilians roaming the hallway of the Rio with a green and gold flag in tow, I immediately think the World Cup is on and they are going to watch the match. Since this is an off year for soccer competitions, then it had to be a Brazilian at a WSOP final table. In this instance, the center of the Brazilian poker world was Andre Akkari. Every Brazilian showed up to chant soccer songs and other random things in Portuguese. They are more festive but less drunk than the rowdy British hooligans. All in all, depending on how you view the world, the Brazilian contingency is a fun bunch or annoying as shit. Personally, I think it's fun to get caught up in a mob of happy Brazilians. Please send more bottles of rum to the Mothership, stat!
The PokerStars Team Pro is a true legend in Brazil. He's sort of like Pele meets Doyle Brunson, but without the bicycle kick and Stetson. My favorite Akkari story is something he told me about playing a tournament in Korea and he got stricken wit the dreadful casino flu. He was roaming the streets looking for cold meds. He picked up a bottle of what he thought was water. The guy at the counter kept screaming at him in Korean, but Akkari tried to communicate in English that he needed water to wash down his cold meds. Akkari paid his money and began chugging the liquid. Within seconds, he spit it out everywhere because it was vodka.
Akkari advanced to the final table of a Donkament and was seeking a bracelet and the supreme title of Donkey Slayer. The Brazilians flocked to the rail inside the Mothership and action got all the way to heads-up against Nachman Berlin before the 10-level hard stop rule came into play. Yep, another bullshit delay. Why don't they play out the heads-up matches? It's usually around 3am when it stops. This is poker in Las Vegas and the two should slug it out until dawn. I'm getting tired of the damn pussification of America spilling into the Nanny States of Poker.
Oh, in case you were wondering, the Razz final table was also suspended with two to go. If I'm any of these players who have to come back to finish out the finals, I'd be pissed. Then again, if you're super tired or tilting hard and desperately needing a break, the hard stop time is to your advantage.
The eventual conclusion of Razz (Rep Porter vs. Steve Su) the heads-up match of the Donkament (Akkari vs. Berlin) will be on Tuesday afternoon. Brazil will have to wait a few more hoursbefore they can begin celebrating and turning the hallways into Carnival.
Going into the weekend, Phil Hellmuth was at the top of the WSOP Player of the Year (powered by Bluff Magazine). This year's ranking have been tweaked a bit and Hellmuth was on top without having won a bracelet. A pair of second-place finishes propelled the Poker Brat into the top spot. You got a sense that once Hellmuth got a whiff that he had a shot at POY, he really amped up his play.
Alas, Hellmuth fell out of the top spot after Ben Lamb's victory in the $10,000 PLO Championship. Lamb beat out Finish pro Lars Luzak and British pro John Shipley (remember him from Varkonyi's Main Event final table?). Lamb shipped the bracelet and put himself into position to take down POY honors. Unless Hellmuth can go deep in another event, he's going to have a tough task ahead of him if he wants to add POY to his resume.
2011 WSOP POY Race - Top 10:
1. Ben Lamb - 486.25
2. Phil Hellmuth - 420.75
3. Samuel Stein - 402.63
4. Mikhail Lakhitov - 401.80
5. Mitch Schock - 364.81
6. John Juanda - 336.00
7. Amir Lehavot - 330.75
8. Sean Getzwiller - 325.00
9. Jason Mercier - 323.45
10. Mark Schmid - 317.75
Click here for a full leadboard for Player of the Year.
The gang doing the videos for Bluff Magazine released this gem Finding Phil Ivey Video...
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For a quick recap of Day 28 at the WSOP, check out Change100's recap on RISE Poker... WSOP Day 28.
Checkout the Tao of Pokerati archives, aka best place to listen to the quickest poker podcast at the 2011 WSOP. I've had plenty of amazing guests this year including KevMath, Snoopy, Change100, Remko, Timtern, Johnny Hughes, Joe Dub,and Benjo.
Follow @taopauly for Twitter updates throughout the day.
Also, help support indie writers and buy my books: Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers and the World Series of Poker, and my recently released novel, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. Both are also available for Kindles and iPads.