Las Vegas, NV
"Shake it off," said the enthusiastic railbird as he rushed down the corridor to keep up with his friend, who had just busted from the Main Event, and walking as quickly as possible down the hallway without actually running. His face was so read, it looked like a pimple ready to burst.
"Shake it off?" snapped the busted player amidst the walk of shame. "Are you fucking kidding?"
"Hey, you were in the Top 750," said the consoling friend in a soothing Tony Robbins-type of voice. "That's something to be proud about. Hey, I'm proud of you!"
"Proud? I'm out. I played my ass off and now I'm out. Fuck my life. I hate poker."
The top 693 players were awarded prize money at the 2011 WSOP Main Event. Everyone else who took a shot at fame, glory, and the massive payday went home empty-handed. Sure, maybe each player got a couple of pictures of themselves flinging around chips at the poker table to post on Facebook. If they tussled in any sizable pots, maybe they left Vegas with couple stories about check-raising a well-known TV pro, which they'll tell every time they got super shitfaced drunk at their local pub.
The WSOP might be the home office for grizzled veterans and established pros, but it's also the location of fantasy camp for amateurs who decided to take a shot at the big time. It's one thing to get coolered on Day 1 or donk off your chips on Day 2 with an unfortunate four-bet-bluff-shove and hit the road early on, but if you make it as far as Day 4 and bust out a couple of spots before the money -- that's one of the most frustrating and disappointing results you could experience in poker. Talk about suicidal tendencies.
The Main Event is dragged out over two weeks with almost a full calendar week in between Days 1 and 3. If you have life leaks, those days off in Sin City could absolutely bury you. 48 hours in Las Vegas is like a year of debauchery in any other city. Ask Carter Gill who ran into a little spat with Harrah's security and they banned him from all properties after he threw the clothes of a lady friend (pro or girlfriend? we still don't know) out of a window. I could tell you other horror stories about degens pissing away their bankroll tossing dice or playing Big O cash games while waiting to return to action at the WSOP. And then there's the guys who get so bored that they have to fill their down time by getting rolled by hookers, or worse, falling in love with an exotic dancer named Rachelle.
Busting out on Day 4 of the Main Event is one of the most traumatic events to happen to any poker player. The demoralizing elimination enough to scar you for life and send you spiraling into the depths of mega-life-tile.
I felt bad for the guy in the hallway who busted out before the money bubble broke and all he wanted to do was walk off his tilt, yet his happy-go-lucky buddy on the rail completely fucked up and failed to understand the sheer anger that pumps through your veins when you get so close in the Main Event -- yet miserably fall short of the mark. The busted player didn't want to hear any positive spins on his downfall. Shit, if someone told me that I should be proud of missing the money by 30 or so places, I'd take off my shoe and beat the piss out of him. Anyone who tries to lift your broken spirits with cheesy daily affirmations or new age bullshit deserves to get their ass whooped.
I walked behind the two gentlemen in the hallway and kept cringing the more and more that the railbird tried to make his busted friend feel better. Sure the railbird's intentions were pure, but he should know better than to try to console a dejected gambler. The only thing that might make the busted player feel better is to hate-fuck a hooker. Shit, I almost tackled the clueless railbird and held him down while the busted player stomped on his testicles and scooped out his eyeballs with a plastic spork.
Come on, folks. Even all the cocaine and strippers in the world is not going to make the guy who busted short of the money feel any better. He played his heart out for over a week and avoided getting slaughtered in the killing fields, only to get picked off a half hour from the bursting of the money bubble.
Seat open, table 366! Dead man walking.
The busted player reached the front door to the Rotunda and I heard a huge crashing sound, as a blinding yellow light forced its way into the darkened corridor. The front door flew open with a short, yet forceful roundhouse kick. I'm sure the busted player wanted to punch three holes in the railbird's head and use it to bowl three games at the Gold Goast, but instead, the door became his surrogate punching bag.
"Fuuuuuuuck!" screamed the busted guy as he exited the Convention Center and continued his walk of shame across the sizzling asphalt of the Rio's parking lot.
Welcome to the Zombie Apocalypse.
This year's Bubble Boy honors went to Reza Kashani. The newcomer from Orange County, CA busted out on an odd hand, mainly because he's an amateur and didn't understand the concept of bubble play -- especially at the WSOP where hundreds of aspiring min-cashers sat rigidly on their puckered assholes. One guy next to the pressbox had a stop watch with him and was stalling (but well within the rules) because he took a few seconds short of his allotted time before he folded. Ah, the old trick of stalling on the bubble to secure a min-cash. It happens every year and only a few people can actually pull it off.
Check out Shamus' tale about one man's struggle with a short stack on the bubble. A compelling story for sure and I rarely root for players, but I definitely was pulling for Steve Rosen.
The money bubble lacked the excitement and volcanic energy of previous bubbles. I can't explain why because all of the normal bubble procedures were in full effect -- the non-exclusive media was kicked out of the playing area and ESPN cameras had free reign of the floor to capture the unfortunate bubble boy (or girl). This year's bubble took almost 46 minutes before the proverbial popping of said bubble. Even when the player's reached the money, the celebration from inside the Amazon Ballroom was much more subdued than the frantic and New Years' Eve type of jubilation I had been used to experiencing. I'm still trying to pin point the exact reason for the flat bubble -- it's like opening up a bottle of champagne that was flat or getting a skunk beer. A few veterans also shared similar sentiments.
Anyway, Reza Kashani got taken out by November Niner Joe Cheong. He collected a freeroll into next year's Main Event for finishing in 694th place. I really feel bad for the schmuck who busted in 695th place -- or what WhoJedi dubbed "the secret bubble boy."
Photo courtesy of WhoJedi
By the way, Matt Stout is making a deep run. He passed 1 million in chips on Day 4, much to the delight of the herb-friendly crowd at the WSOP. If the Tao of Poker still gave out an award for "Burner of the Year", rest assured Stout would win every year.
And speaking of deep runs, how about JRB aka Bobby Bellande or Busto Bobby. He was down to his last 70K and avoided an elimination by doubling up with Q-4 sooted. That was the decisive hand he needed to propel himself for the rest of the day. When he bagged up chips at the end of the night, he had over 1.1 million. Epic, eh? JRB is on a rush. Expect him to be at the featured TV table on Day 5. JRB is good for TV.
2011 Main Event - Quick Stats
Players Remaining: 378
Chipleader: Manoj Viswanathan - 2,115,000
First Place: 8,711,956
Juice to the WSOP: $4,119,000
End of Day 4 - Top 10 Chip Counts:
1. Manoj Viswanathan - 2,115,000
2. Sam Barnhart - 1,925,000
3. Pius Heinz - 1,887,000
4. Stephane Albertini - 1,867,000
5. Daryl Jace - 1,849,000
6. Lars Bonding - 1,813,000
7. Kyle Johnson - 1,761,000
8. Matthew Kay - 1,756,000
9. Mazin Khoury - 1,707,000
10. Max Heinzelmann - 1,672,000
JP Kelly - 1,332,000
Ben Lamb - 1,268,000
David Bach - 1,142,000
Jean-Robert Bellande - 1,134,000
Peter Feldman - 1,100,000
Mark Newhouse - 1,070,000
Guillaume Darcourt - 1,052,000
Joe Tehan - 893,000
Joseph Cheong - 862,000
Eli Elezra - 777,000
Matt Stout - 750,000
Kevin Saul - 739,000
Collin Moshman - 732,000
Garry Gates - 722,000
Sorel Mizzi - 648,000
Andrew Webking - 624,000
Daniel Negreanu - 619,000
Tony Hachem - 610,000
Allen Cunningham - 582,000
Sami Kelopuro - 577,000
Erick Lindgren - 492,000
Carl Olson - 431,000
Peter Jetten - 404,000
Jon Friedberg - 364,000
Christopher Brammer - 344,000
Jon Turner - 305,000
Gabriel Nassif - 299,000
Diogo Borges - 273,000
Freddy Deeb - 258,000
Ray Henson - 226,000
Christian Harder - 208,000
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