Tuesday, April 24, 2007

WPT Championship Day 2: Phil Hellmuth Poker

By Pauly

I wanted to sleep in on Monday morning, but I had to get up early for an appointment with a real estate guy about an apartment rental for the World Series of Poker this summer. My guy found a good property less than ten minutes away from the Rio. He showed Change100 and myself the furnished apartment with a big screen TV and free internet. It was in a gated community with tennis courts and a couple of pools. All I could think was... 1. Who the fuck plays tennis outdoors in balmy Las Vegas? and 2. I wonder if the gates are tall enough will keep the miscreants out?

Sure the Redneck Riviera might have been fun to read about, but it was an unpleasant experience living there. I'm still shocked that my building unit didn't blow up from the homemade meth lab upstairs or that I didn't get clipped in a drive-by-shooting. The bright lights of the Strip don't reach out into those darkened areas of Las Vegas where the sketchy souls operate. Most of them gravitated to where I used to live on Tropicana.

I ended up renting the new apartment for two months. It's not as nice as my apartment with Grubby in Henderson, but it's much closer to the Rio which will cut down on my commute from almost an hour a day. That means about five or six extra hours of sleep per week this year. Plus the apartment in the Bella Vita was the first and only place I had to look at. The last thing I want to have to do is schlep all over Vegas seeking out Tweaker-free apartment complexes with a decent internet connection. I paid my deposit and was set up before the action started for Day 2 of the WPT Championships at the Bellagio.

Anna "The Poker Fairy" Wroblewski
(Photo courtesy of Flipchip)

The nymph-like Anna Wroblewski began Day 2 as the chipleader and did her best to keep herself at the front of the pack. She has been playing with an air of confidence that I had not seen in a very long time. Plus she's been having fun. Although she admits she's a little nervous, she's been running over her table at times despite the fact she's barely 90 pounds and has been drinking heavily like AlCantHang at happy hour. At one point, the Poker Fairy was knocking back a shot of Jagermeister chased by a glass of Red Bull. Most of the day, she sat at her table on two stacked chairs and swigged a bottle of beer.

You should check out an interview that Tiffany did with her during one of the breaks.

Click here to view the video of Anna

Phil Hellmuth and Jamie Gold started Day 2 in the poker room since the Fontana Room could only hold 24 of the 48 tables that would be needed to host the remaining 479 players. For the most part both players were behaved as they focused more on the hands in front of them than talking smack with one another.

Gold struggled for most of the day but managed to advance to Day 3 after he rivered a set of 10s and his opponent thought he was bluffing. Hellmuth caught cards and avoided playing big pots. That's a trait that plenty of the old school poker pros have a habit of doing. In the early stages of a major tournament, they are not willing to risk the majority of their stack unless they got the best of it. Hellmuth slowly accumulated chips as he played conservatively throughout the session. In an interview with PokerNews, he managed to refer to himself in the third person. "I'm playing small pots poker. That's Phil Hellmuth poker."

Thanks for the quote, bro.

Day 2 went as fast as I had seen a tournament progress. With ninety minute levels, play should have gone a tad slower. However, there were so many eliminations that we missed dozens and dozens because they flew by us so fast. I did see a few big named pros bust out like former WSOP Champions Johnny Chan, Jim Bechtel, Doyle Brunson, Joe Hachem, Tom McEvoy, Huck Seed, and Scotty Nguyen. Last year's champ Joe Bartholdi busted out along with Barry Greenstein, Chau Giang, Allen Cunningham, Erick Lindgren, Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow, Marcel Luske, Gavin Smith, Gus Hansen, Kathy Liebert, Vanessa Rousso, Dewey Tomko, Devilfish, Bill Chen, and David Sklanasky.

Roland de Wolfe avoided losing most of his stack when he flopped two pair and it held up against JC Alvarado's flush draw. That hand pushed him over the 500K mark as he snagged the chiplead away from Hellmuth in the last hour on Day 2.
Here are the unofficial Top 10 in chips:
1 Roland de Wolfe 535K
2 Phil Hellmuth 528K
3 Sorel Mizzi 499K
4 Steve Wong 476K
5 Paul Wasicka 430K
6 Patrik Antonius 408K
7 Stan Fulton 397K
8 Jake Minter 396.5K
9 Can Kim Hua 384.8K
10 Paul Lee 382.7K

Notable Stacks:
Anna Wroblewski 346,600
Isaac "I Got 800K Stuck in Neteller" Haxton 318,700
Mike Wattel 313,100
Gavin Griffin 291,400
Sammy Farha 253,300
David Oppenheim 253,000
Daniel Alaei 237,300
Freddy Deeb 235,600
Ram "I Owe Phil Ivey a Shitload of Cash" Vaswani 234,900
David Levi 233,700
Krazy Kanuck 228,200
Barny Boatman 223,500
Carlos Mortensen 220,900
Amir Vahedi 218,500
David Daneshgar 194,500
ZeeJustin 193,300
Scott Clements 171,400
Chip Reese 171,100
Robert Mizrachi 163,300
Martin De Knijff 160,500
Joe Tehan 153,400
Hoyt Corkins 148,600
Abe Mosseri 147,900
Quinn Do 145,000
Phil Ivey 143,400
NeverWin 140,700
Vinny Vinh 129,300
Rob Hollink 128,000
Amnon Filippi 122,200
Jon Little 121,300
Bill Gazes 117,600
Sam Grizzle 112,000
Rehne Pedersen 111,100
Jennifer Harman 110,600
Billy Baxter 109,500
Johan Storakers 109,300
Erica Schoenberg 107,200
Scott Fischman 101,500
Erik Friberg 101,400
Jani Sointula 91,500
Jamie Gold 91,000
Mark Gregorich 84,100
John Myung 83,100
David Dicken 83,000
Ross Boatman 81,100
Lyle Berman 80,500
Isabelle Mercier 79,600
James Van Alstyne 77,300
Liz Lieu 76,500
Joe Sebok 73,900
David Singer 73,200
Ben Roberts 70,500
JohnnyBax 70,200
Melissa Hayden 66,400
Thomas Wahlroos 64,100
Greg FBT Mueller 62,200
Bob Stupak 61,200
Berry Johnston 58,400
Bob Feduniak 55,100
Allen Kessler 52,400
Shannon Shorr 51,500
Andy Black 48,800
Humberto Brenes 44,300
JC Tran 33,700
Nordberg 26,400
* * * * *

Bouncin Round the Room on Day 2

Before the tournament started, one player (presumably a satellite qualifier) asked Todd Brunson to autograph his hat. Twenty minutes later, Todd Brunson busted out. At last year's WSOP, Snoopy was the first person to point out that Todd is a dead ringer for Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons. When Brunson busted out yesterday by a set over set, I muttered underneath my breath, "Worst beat... ever."

Dan Alspach's theme of the day was cats. He had a visor and a matching Hawaiian shirt with plenty of cats on both. Doesn't he know that cats are symbols of bad luck in some cultures? Alspach lost a race late in the day and busted out, joining his main squeeze JJ Lui on the rail.

The Birth of Cool: Sammy Farha
(Photo courtesy of Flipchip)

Sammy Farha got the nod for funkiest shirt of the entire field. It looked like he took one of my tapestries from the good old college days and turned it into a shirt. Far out man. But seriously, is there a poker player in the universe with a higher cool quotient than Sammy Farha?

Carlos Mortensen was playing his PSP at the table while Barry Geenstein was sending text messages and emails during the down time at the tables. The TD had to make an announcement that players had to step back from the tables to text message and use their phones.

Aaron Scott gets the award for Best Boart Impression. He had his entire table laughing in stitches, including the dealer. Everytime he scooped a pot, he'd say, "Niiiiiiiiiice!'

I was pulling for a few younger Scandi players to do well like Johnny Lodden and William Thorson. Both busted out on Day 2. The Fins are looking strong with Patrik Antonius and Jani Sointula still alive.

Ram Vaswani and Phil Ivey have been avoiding each other while they focus on poker. Been hearing both sides of their golf-prop bet story ever since I was in Australia and word got out that Ram lost his shirt. My two cents... Ram got hustled because he didn't do his homework. He should have known that Ivey's golf game improved and he had been playing in Mexico with Michael Jordan. Ram should pay his debt, take the hit like a man, and get the money back on the course after the WPT ends. It's not like Ivey would ever shy away from any future prop betting. Speaking of Ram, several members of the Hendon Mob are still alive including both Boatman brothers.

Although Isabelle Mercier, Melissa Hayden, Liz Lieu and Erica Schoenberg all advanced to Day 3, I lost track of Kristy Gazes. Jimmy Choo's favorite customer was shortstacked most of the day and busted out. Anna Wroblewski still leads all of the remaining women in the field.

Erica Schoenberg
(Photo courtesy of Flipchip)

Newhizzle didn't look too good with series bags under his eyes. The kid looked like he had been up for a week straight. He wore a Phil Lesh and Friends t-shirt while the day before he sported an Allman Brothers Band shirt. I'm laying good odds that Newhizzle has had some experience in high altitude training.

Huck Seed, on the other hand, always looks like tired like he just got up and had been waking and baking before work. The number on his Full Tilt jersey read.... 69. I have earned enough points on Full Tilt for a FT sports jersey. Too bad they won't let me do 420 as my number.

Devilfish complained about his table that featured Joe Hachem, David Oppemheim, and Young Pham. "Slowest table in the world," he screamed. "You guys must have been out smoking joints."

Foiled Coup, everyone's favorite homeless British photographer, showed up wearing a black suit with white socks. He was with a slutty looking blonde in a skimpy outfit and took a few photos of her on the veranda. He insists that she's a model from Germany, but I could have sworn that I've seen her exotic pole work at the Rhino sometime in the past. I was shocked that Foiled Coup has shifted his deviant focus off of Asian women.

I love a good segue. I was trying to come up with a nickname for Anna Wroblewski. I started calling her Anna the Poker Fairy. But man, that's kinda lame. I could do better. How about Anna the Little Lebowski? Leave your vote for her nickname in the comments.

Scotty Nguyen had three stacks of $10,000 in bills at his table. With a shortstack to start the day, he was getting his cash handy for a high stakes cash game after he busted out.

Andy Black put his Eminem t-shirt on hold as he wore a pink Capt. American shirt instead.

Capt. Tom's Penis is still alive. He's been keeping his eye on Anna's back.

During one of the breaks, I walked over to the sports book to put a bet in on the Pistons. Fuckers barely covered. I pushed as the Pistons won by 8. A push is almost as good as a win in Pai Gow, but sucks horribly in sports betting.

In case you were wondering, the WPT Championships have been ending early around 9pm. They have been playing without a dinner break which means straight poker from Noon to Nine with four fifteen minute breaks after each ninety minute level. Since the action is over early and I rush out of the Bellagio to go back to my room to write... there has not been too many hooker sightings at the Fontana Bar. Not to worry, there will be a few late nights on the schedule. Plenty of time to get new material for my upcoming book... Existentialist Conversations with Hookers.

And back by popular demand...
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next To...
1. Humberto Brenes
2. Mike Binger
3. The Grinder
4. Gus Hansen
5. Jim "KrazyKanuck" Worth
* * * * *

Don't forget to check out Flipchip's WPT Championship photos. He's the best in the business.

And you can follow the WPT Championship by visiting our live updates over at Poker News.

While you are there, peek at the Poker News extensive WPT Championship video gallery put together by our mulitmedia guru Shronk. The video gallery includes interviews with your favorite pros such as Phil Hellmuth, Paul Wasicka, and Vanessa Rousso.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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