Las Vegas, NV
"At least the Playboy model got the phrase right," snarked one of my Dutch colleagues. "The football player totally fucked it up last year."
The football player he was referring to was the Dallas Cowboys' Emmit Smith, who botched last year's "Shuffle up and deal" (aka SUAD) honors. If you don't know, every day at the WSOP a celebrity guest or poker icon gets to utter the infamous phrase for SUAD. It's sort of like dignitaries getting to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
On Day 1D of this year's Main Event, the suits opted for the blonde with big tits. Why? Boobs sell everything, besides we had a "big theme" going on for Day 1D. The final and fourth opening flight of the WSOP featured 2,809 contestants -- which tied for the most number of WSOP entrants for a single day of play -- and the overall numbers flirted with 7,000. Once you see the rest of the numbers across the board, you'll understand what I'm talking about regarding big tits and big numbers.
Then again, all themes aside, big tits are big tits no matter how you cut them.
The bottom line is this -- the 2011 WSOP was the biggest and baddest and most boobular in the history of poker. Sure, it sounds like a little PR spin, but the numbers don't lie. According to a WSOP press release:
"Total WSOP participation is up 8.5 percent, with 68,807 entrants lifting the prize pool 8.4 percent over 2010 levels and establishing a new milestone of $127,468,010 heading into the Main Event."The (entire) 2011 WSOP had the most number of participants since the inception of the WSOP. The record-setting numbers in excess of $127 million made WSOP big wig Ty Stewart so giddy, he almost climbed up to the rafters and shouted, "I'm the KING of the world!!"
Not exactly. But twenty minutes before cards went into the air, Ty nearly hopped over the rail of the pressbox to express his immense pleasure about this year's records along with a Main Event number that had a shot at passing the 7,000-mark for only the third time ever (2006 and 2010). The WSOP almost passed that mark without the benefit of PokerStars and Full Tilt feeding them players. The WSOP was not reliant upon the online poker industry and Ty wanted everyone to know that they were bulletproof.
Alas, the actual number for the Main Event fell short of the 7,000-milestone by 135 runners, but heck if you ask me 6,865 is an impressive number in the current climate -- both politically and financially.
"Americans are broke and struggling," I mentioned at the dinner break.
"So if the rest of the world," added Pacocho.
Just before the dinner break, the official numbers were announced, which I discussed while enjoying a meal with Shamus and a couple of Spaniards -- Pacocho (one of the most celebrated poker writers in Spain) and Manuel (a pro who spent a couple of decades grinding it out in SoCal card rooms before, during, and after the boom). We tried to figure out where 6,865 runners scratched together the cash for the $10,000 lottery ticket. With Black Friday decimating the American online poker landscape and Europe amidst its own sovereign debt crisis (riots in Greece and Ireland with both Portugal and Spain ready to tumble like dominoes), we legitimately tried to determine where the origin of the money. Surely the backing syndicates couldn't put that many horses into the Main Event.
In the end, all I could come up with was fuck it money and told my dinner guests, "I guess a couple of thousand people, both pros and amateurs, woke up one day and said to hell with bankroll management! Fuck it, I'm gonna play in the WSOP Main Event."
No wonder Ty Stewart showed off his Spiderman impersonation by scaling everything possible inside the Amazon Ballroom and expressing his jubilation over this year's WSOP numbers. Actually, Ty's free-climb exhibition did not include the Mothership because the aliens from Alpha Centauri loaned their hardware to Mori and his crew at Poker PROductions. Mori wants their deposit back, which means no climbing up on top on the Mothership (no exceptions for WSOP suits). Mori and his crew is already worried they'll get charged for the beer stains by especially soused British hooligans and not get back all of their Galactic Credits from the Alpha Centaurians.
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers
But let's break down some of the numbers, which have been thoroughly examined and approved of by both supercomputer Bill Chen and the KevMath 4000.
Main Event Quick Numbers:
2011 Main Event Entrants: 6,865
First Place: 8,711,956
Juice to the WSOP: $4,119,000
November Nine - Final Table Payouts
1st - $8,711,956
2nd - $5,430,928
3rd - $4,019,635
4th - $3,011,661
5th - $2,268,909
6th - $1,720,396
7th - $1,313,851
8th - $1,009,910
9th - $782,115
The Rest of the Payouts:
10th-12th - $607,882
13th-15th - $478,174
16th-18th - $378,796
19th-27th - $302,005
28th-36th - $242,636
37th-45th - $196,174
46th-54th - $160,036
55th-63rd - $130,997
64th-72nd - $108,412
73rd-81st - $90,343
82nd-90th - $76,146
91st-99th - $64,531
100th-162nd - $54,851
163rd-225th - $47,107
226th-288th - $40,654
289th-351st - $35,492
352nd-414th - $30,974
415th-477th - $27,103
478th-549th - $23,876
550th-621st - $21,295
622nd-693rd - $19,359
Main Event - Day 1 Chipleaders:
Day 1A - Fred Berger - 209,000
Day 1B - Ben Lamb - 188,925
Day 1C - Kevin Song - 163,325
Day 1D - Maynard Little - 179,450
Main Event Survivors:
Day 1A : 560 out of 897
Day 1B: 618 out of 978
Day 1C: 1,471 out of 2,181
Day 1D: 1,892 out of 2,809
Here's some numbers for the entire 2011 WSOP, courtesy of my main man Seth Palansky and partially cut & paste directly from their press release:
- The 2011 WSOP has awarded $127,468,010 through 57 events.
- The 2011 WSOP has seen 68,807 participants through 57 events.
Age Demographics (thru 57 events):
- Average Age of Entrants: 37.33
- Average Age of Cashers: 36.31
- Average Age of Final Tables: 33.61
- Average Age of Winners: 31.10
Geographic Data (thru 57 events):
- # of countries entered: 98
- # of countries to cash: 73
- # of U.S. states entered: 50
Top 5 U.S. States to Cash:
1. California - 951 for $16,183,498
2. Nevada - 813 for $16,875,736
3. Florida - 360 for $6,428,270
4. Texas - 359 for $6,406,274
5. New York - 301 for $8,208,865
- # of Canadian provinces entered: 10 + 2 territories
FYI... For a list of World Rankings, including leading money winners by country, please click here.
Stats for Entrants:
- Only 3,637 of 68,807 entrants have been female – or 5.3%
- Thus, the men represent 94.7% of all participants to date.
- Out of 57 WSOP gold bracelets awarded, only Brian Rast (2) has won more than one.
- The current leader of the WSOP Player of the Year race is Phil Hellmuth (as of 7/10/2011), and the leaderboard for the WSOP Player of the Year can be found HERE.
Brian Rast during his bracelet ceremony on Day 1D
Photo courtesy of WhoJedi
MOST EVENTS ENTERED (by Individual):
1. Tom Dwan - 52
2. Shannon Shorr - 42
3. Justin Smith - 41
4. George Lind III - 38
4. Roland Israelashvili -38
6. Jason Mercier - 37
6. Sorel Mizzi - 37
6. Paul Volpe - 37
MOST CASHES (by individual):
1. Kirill Rabtsov - 7
1. Ben Yu - 7
3. Simon Charette - 6
3. Bryce Yockey - 6
3. Victor Ramdin - 6
3. Shaun Deeb - 6
3. Roland Israelashvili - 6
3. Davidi Kitai - 6
3. Dan O’Brien - 6
3. Shawn Busse - 6
3. Tommy Vedes - 6
3. Max Pescatori -6
3. Chris Klodnicki - 6
FYI - 42 tied at five
MOST MONEY WON (Female; individual):
1. Maria Ho - 2 cashes for $544,262
2. Marsha Wolak - 2 cashes for $194,239
3. Vanessa "princessdonk" Peng - 2 cashed for $137,983
4. Stephanie Nguyen - 1 cash for $131,900
MOST MONEY WON (by individual):
1. Brian Rast - 3 cashes for $1,952,443
2. Phil Hellmuth - 5 cashes for $1,591,004
3. Ben Lamb - 4 cashes for $1,331,832
4. Joe Ebanks - 3 cashes for $1,179,031
5. Chris Moorman - 5 cashes for $1,051,466
6. Allen Bari - 4 cashes for $894,259
MOST EVENTS ENTERED (female; individual):
1. Erica Schoenberg - 24
2. Maria Ho - 23
2. Liv Boeree - 23
4. Jennifer Tilly - 22
4. Odette Tremblay -22
6. Vanessa Selbst - 20
MOST CASHES (female; individual):
1. Melanie Weisner - 5 for $42,894
2. Erica Schoenberg - 4 for $16,515
2. Cyndy Violette - 4 for $43,885
4. Veronica Dabul - 3 for $15,143
Yeah, the numbers don't lie even though you can spin sentiment which ever way you want. But one thing is for sure from Day 1 that numbers were up across the board in both preliminaries and in cash games.
Before the series began, I hypothesized that the lack of online poker (not just for Americans but for any foreign players who couldn't log onto poker sites from their hotel rooms) would boost numbers in both the cash games and in the tournaments because online player shad nowhere else to go and were forced to play at the Rio. That was a no-brainer, but I really thought that the Main Event would take a it because players... 1) were still waiting to withdraw funds off Full Tilt, and 2) players would shoot their loads by the time the Main Event rolled around.
Depending on how you want to spin my hypothesis -- compared to 2010, the Main Event numbers fell short of the overall percentage increase in participants (3.7%) in the 2011 preliminaries. So if you go by the 3.7% number, the Main Event should have gotten 7,590 runners this year.
Champions, Heroes and Perma-Bans
Nolan Dalla shared an interesting stat with the press -- 18 former Main Event champions played in the 2011 WSOP Main Event and 14 of them advanced to Day 2.
The four who went busto? Doyle Brunson, Greg Raymer, Jerry Yang, and Chris Moneymaker.
Last year's champ Jonathan Duhamel is still alive and finished with a better stack this year than he had at the end of Day 1 last year. Other Main Event champs still in the hunt included Bobby Baldwin, Tom McEvoy, Berry Johnston, Johnny 'Fucking' Chan, Phil Hellmuth, Dan Harrington, Huck Seed, Scotty Nguyen, Carlos Mortensen, Robert Varkonyi, Joe Hachem, Jamie Gold, and Joe Cada.
Hellmuth is kinda short and who knows if they Poker Brat will find his demise on Day 2, or if he'll turn things around and keep pace with Ben Lamb (who ended Day 1B as the overall leader and is currently right behind Hellmuth in the Player of the Year race).
Some good stories from Day 1D's field included a NYPD officer and 9/11 hero named Mike Kosowski. Check out Arthur's in depth article about the former NYC cop.
By now, I'm sure you heard about the Carter Gill story. I first caught wind of it after the dinner break when he sent a plea (via Twitter) to tournament director Jack Effel to help get him out of a jam. Gill is one of the bad boys of poker. The kid has some skills at the tables, but he's also prone to doing stupid shit when he's drinking heavily. Ah, life leaks destroy the careers of so many promising poker players. Gill is the classic example of what happens when your inner demons seize control of the bus and drives it right off a cliff.
According to F Train, Gill's buffoonery is not limited to American soil because he caused not one but two bar fights in Australia a couple of years ago.
"That's what happens when you pick a fight with a bouncer," F Train explained.
Anyway, Gill survived one of the earlier flights of the 2011 Main Event. During one of the days off between the end of play and the restart for Day 2, Gill got himself into hot water with a permanent banned from all Harrah's properties (actually it's Caesar's Entertainment (CE) now). He was told if he showed up to play, the federales would be waiting for him with handcuffs.
Gill freaked out and scrambled to ask anyone and everyone in the poker industry to help reverse the charges and figure out how he can play his stack on Day 2, when he's supposedly persona non grata in all Harrah's aka CE properties.
When the Twitterverse asked Gill for more details and the background story about what had happened, he explained (in 140 character or less) over a series of tweets that...
"threw a girls clothes out the window. It had a liscence (sic) she needed in it and she flipped. First she didn't care and hungout ... for hours more, then she calls a friend in security and gets me banned. I didn't even get to speak my mind. He kept accusing me ... of other things I didn't do. It was absurd."Of course, we're only getting Gill's side of the story, but if he's telling the truth, it seems a bit odd that he was banned for the simple act of chucking clothes out a window. Then again, I know how authority figures don't like it when you mouth off to them. Who knows if Gill was giving them lip.
By the way, Las Vegas casinos have windows, but very few actually open up. Was he in a suite or was he slumming it at the Imperial Palace?
Speculation flared up on the interwebs and in the pressbox. You have no idea how many hooker jokes were flying back and forth. That seemed the most plausible -- that he pissed off the wrong hooker, who had connections deep into that particular casino's security force.
My Dutch colleague Remko wondered what the over/under was for number of accouterments and socks were tossed from the window. Of course, hookers don't wear socks, so Remko's O/U needed to be tweaked.
For the last level of play on Day 1D, Carter Gill's ban dominated the Twitter stream. We couldn't stop talking about it in the pressbox. Maybe it was a slow day (it kinda was despite the massive field).
At press time (I'm writing this on Monday morning), Gill is still banned and might not be able to play on Day 2. Alas, his stack will get blinded out and I'm sure his empty chair will be photographed with snarky captions.
Then again, you really have to fuck up big time to get 86'd from a Vegas casino. I suspect there's a lot more to this story than we've glimpsed out via Twitter. I know for a fact that Richard Brodie got banned from Harrah's properties after he went on a heater playing high-stakes video poker, but he eventually got permission to play in the WSOP and Harrah's eventually lifted their ban. Who knows what really happened, and what will happen with Gill. Stay tuned to find out the latest drama bomb at the WSOP.
Follow @taopauly for Twitter updates throughout the day.
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