Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 WSOP Day 44: Day Off and Annie Duke Wins Media Event

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

A rare day off at the WSOP. So how do we celebrate? By heading to the Rio to play in a turbo media event. If anything, the event gives the media and hard-working WSOP staff (especially their non-paid interns), a chance to hang out and play some cards and win some cool prizes. The event was tweaked this year to include much better prizes and bounties, which in turn made the media tournament as popular than ever.

Upon arrival, the security guard wouldn't let us inside the Amazon Ballroom. "They're setting everything up," he said, more to shield me from blowing the surprise than preventing me from going where I was supposed to go.

A special prize table was set up with booze (special prizes awarded to any interns who had the misfortune of busting out early) along with the trophies for first and more importantly -- last place -- a trophy especially for the fool who busted first. Ah, the proverbial boobie prize. This year's prize? A Golden Toilet with the engraving "WSOP Last Place."

For a moment, I thought I was going to get the boobie prize. In a way, I was irked that I didn't get it last year at the 2010 media event, when I tried to but on the first hand and ended up busting on the second hand after I shipped all my chips across the felt to Gary Wise.

This year? I got my chips all-in pre-flop on the first hand -- only to discover that I was being punk'd. Let me rewind a bit. I dunno when this tradition started, but the folks running the tournament created a fake hand to kick off the tournament. Change100 was involved in the crazy set-up hand last year and everyone had no idea what was happening at the time as a huge crowd gathered around her table in utter astonishment. When the hand was complete, Nolan let everyone know they had been punk'd. Funny prank for sure, which lightened the already breezy mood of the players.

For the 2011 media event, Nolan and company decided to prank us again with another cheeky opening hand. This time, the prank happened at my table and I was the one getting punk'd. On the first hand, I peeked down to find two Aces. I chuckled knowing it was either pure luck to see the Rockets, or I was about to get punk'd.

I open-shoved for my 10,000 stack UTG when the blinds were 100-200. Everyone folded (even the old guy with pocket Kings) until action got to Harley in the big blind. He snapped called with 2-2. The dealer fanned out the flop,which sure enough had a deuce. The turn was an Ace and the river... a deuce. Quads suck-out, much to the delight of the circle of fellow media who flocked to the table.

I kinda hoped the hand wasn't rigged and I had won the boobie prize. Alas, the floor guy came over to shake my hand and said, "Thanks for being a good sport." Yep, I got punk'd and took it in stride.

One older gentleman in seat 7 was confused and baffled. He insisted that I was out and protested when the dealer gave me my chips back. Everyone else at the table understood it was a practical joke.

"So you set up a cold deck?" he snapped at the dealer. "You were in on this?"

The dealer didn't know what to say because she was just following orders as part of the festivities. Sometimes the best jokes are ruined by spoilsports and someone with a middle name "Idontgetit." In this instance, the guy in seat 7 was not pleased. He refused to sit back down and play for fear of more cold decks. He really thought he was getting hustled -- in a WSOP media freeroll.

BJ Nemeth was seated to my left and we both looked at each other and rolled our eyes. I mouthed, "Who is this fucking guy?" Because I honestly had never seen him before. Then again, the media tournament brings people with badges out of the woodwork that I had never seen before -- and I had been covering the 2011 WSOP since Day 1 and covering the WSOP since 2005.

The grumpy guy opened up a newspaper and buried his face in a crossword the rest of the time, only looking up once to chastise a dealer for not adjusting to a level change. The dealer was actually throwing us all a bone by keeping one extra hand at 100-200 level instead of jumping to 200-400. Alas, the old guy was a stickler for details -- which I can respect -- but he didn't have to be a dick to the dealer. The dealer snapped back at the curmudgeon, "Thanks for telling me how to do my job." To which the grump had a curt response, "If you did it right, I wouldn't have to point out your mistakes." Ouch, touche! We had the rumblings of a potential brawl! Jaded dealer versus pissed off old guy. In an all-out alley brawl, I'll bet the dealer every day of the week and twice on Wednesdays.

I turned to BJ and we simultaneously mouthed to each other, "Who's this fuckin' guy?"

Harley had been open-shoving about 50% of the hands because wanted to bust quickly and play cash games on his day off, but he actually woke up to a hand -- Kings. Grumpy guy opened, Harley shoved, and old guy figured his pocket fives were ahead, so he called off the rest of his stack.Grumpy guy was livid when he say what he was up against. Harley's Kings held and the old guy stormed off. At least he got a free copy of Annie Duke's new book.

In Annie's defense, she tried to bust early and give away her chips, but the cards fell her way and she amassed a big stack. She advanced to the final table and eventually won it all after she beat Zimba heads-up for the victory. Annie donated her bounty prize to the dealer and she also donated her first place prize (iPad 2) to assist with the Joplin, MO tornado relief.

Me? I busted somewhere around 65th place. The rest of the day was bleh for me. Long story that I'll eventually write about in a few weeks on Tao of Pauly, but for now, I was happy to flee the Rio and rest up for the last surge. With Day 3 of the Main Event on the horizon, there's still six days of play left before we reach the November Nine.

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