Tuesday, September 11, 2007

WSOPE Day 5 - Main Event Day 1a: The Phil He11muth Show

By Pauly

The first flight of the £10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event of the WSOPE kicked off on Monday afternoon in three different casinos scattered over London. Some of the pros were bitching that they paid $20,000 US and booked a $400/night hotel near the Empire Casino only to discover that they are playing on the other side of town.

As of Monday afternoon, 323 players bought in with registration still open until Tuesday. Half of that field played on Day 1a in either The Empire, The Sportsman, or The Fifty. Snoopy, Jonno, myself (along with Shronk & Tiffany) covered The Empire. Schecky and Change100 were at the swanky The Fifty. And Jen and Barry aka DaveShoelace were kicking it at The Sportsman. We had to cover just seven tables per casino. I know, I know. 21 tables and you couldn't squeeze that in one venue?

The rumor was that the big wigs were going to cut The Sportsman out of the mix and only use The Empire and The Fifty. The result? The Sportsman got wicked pissed at that possibility since the WSOPE organizers promised that they would be hosting part of the event. I guess it's not Harrahs fault that they over-estimated the popularity of the main event. There would have been more players in the main event if the buy in was lower at £5,000 ($10K US) or at least £7,500 instead of a whopping £10,000. If you add the cost of travel, expensive hotels, the rapage of taxi fares, and pricey restaurants... the US based pros would have to spend about $25,000 just to play in the main event.

As is, the higher entry fee meant that only the top tiered US-based pros (minus Phil Ivey) would appear in the WSOPE main event. You have to factor in that there were not many online satellites available to US players. Then again... maybe that's what the suits at Harrahs wanted... a smaller and manageable field comprised of the top players in the world with a handful of uber-wealthy Londoners and Europeans. Hmmmmmm....

Anyway, the structure gave players 20K in chips to start with two hour levels. Day 1a and Day 1b would only be four levels each. Jack Effel was worried about the possibility of too many players busting out on Day 1a, so he decided to end play at four levels or roughly 12:35am.

Ironically, not as many people busted out than everyone anticipated. I told Jonno one of my theories involved the size of each field in different casinos. When you sit in a massive area like the Amazon Ballroom at the Rio that has hundreds of tables, that induces action. When you are sitting at six tables, your mentality changes and you think that you're playing in a smaller field so you play tighter. My other theory is more plausible... lack of internet pushmonkeys.

By the end of Day 1a, 111 players remained out of the 164 runners in the field. Perhaps they should have played five levels instead of four in order to fit everyone in one casino at the start of Day 2. The last rumor I heard was that Day 2 will be spread out over two casinos (The Empire and The Fifty) and not three.

Compared to earlier events, Monday was the most crowded I had seen The Empire... and there were only seven starting tables with 54 players milling around. We had a few big names at The Empire such as Andy Bloch, Jesus, Erick Lindgren, Bruno Fitoussi, Bet Shak, Jani Sointula, Ted Forrest, Andreas Noilvoid, Annette_15, Vicky Coren, Per Ummer, WSOPE bracelet winner Thomas Bihl, William Thorson, Thor Hansen, Barry Greenstein, Jen Harman, and of course... Phil Hellmuth.

The notable names at The Sportsman included... Ram Vaswani, David Williams, Pam Brunson, Philip Hilm, Devilfish, The Grinder, Hoyt Corkins, Fabrice Soulier, Todd Brunson, Paul Wasicka, Freddy Deeb, and Annie Duke.

Over at The Fifty, the pros included... Brandon Adams, John Juanda, Liz Lieu, Noel Furlong, Greg Raymer, Erik123, Pascal Perrault, Robert Mizrachi, Erik Seidel, Action Jeff, sbrugby, Jan Sorenson, Imper1um, Lee Watkinson, and the Eggman himself, Thomas Wahlroos.

Day 1a eliminations... William Thorson, Thomas Bihl, John Juanda, WSOP main event champion Noel Furlong, Freddy Deeb, Todd Brunson, David Williams, Andy Block, Nenad Medic, Dario Minieri, Liz Lieu, The Grinder, The brother of The Grinder, Lee Watkinson, Ted Forrest, and Per Ummer.

How about some Day 1a chipcounts?
Top 10 End of Day 1a Chip Counts:
1. Janne Lamsa - 115,850 Fifty
2. Huseyin Yilmaz - 99,575 Sportsman
3. Phil Hellmuth - 82,825 Empire
4. Andrew Feldman - 76,650 Empire
5. Patrick Bruel - 71,225 Empire
6. Priyan De Mel - 67,900 Fifty
7. Gary Jones - 65,425 Fifty
8. Paul Ephremsen - 64,875 Fifty
9. Simon Wing - 64,150 Sportsman
10. Terry Cook - 63,700 Sportsman

Notable Stacks:
Ram Vaswani 61050
Humberto Brenes 56200
Dave Colclough 54100
William Durkee 48750
Jennifer Harman 48500
ActionJeff 48375
Gus Hansen 46925
Jeffrey Lisandro 46700
Erik Seidel 45000
Jan Sorensen 45000
Thor Hansen 44600
Annie Duke 44200
Annette_15 43375
Erick Lindgren 42028
Greg Raymer 41300
Farzad Bonyadi 39925
Philip Hilm 39475
Rehne Pedersen 38875
Paul Jackson 35425
Bruno Fitoussi 34475
Beth Shak 34150
Sherkhan Farnood 31050
Devilfish 29100
Jani Sointula 23650
Barry Greenstein 22875
Marco Traniello 19900
Hoyt Corkins 19300
Vicky Coren 18750
Paul Wasicka 18400
Brian Townsend 18025
Pascal Perrault 16075
Chris Ferguson 15525
Brandon Adams 14850
Pamela Brunson 11250
Imper1um 8975
Fabrice Soulier 6350
The 111 players who survived Day1a will come back to play on Wednesday.

* * * * *

Bouncin Round the Room (on Main Event Day 1a at The Empire)...

I covered the poker room downstairs specifically two tables. One table had Thor Hansen and Barry Greenstein. The other had WSOPE bracelet winner Thomas Bihl and William Thorson.

On the third hand of the tournament, Thomas Bihl busted out after donking off his chips and made some random British hot chick, Sarah Taylor, the chipleader. Taylor limped from UTG. William Thorson called. Thomas Bihl raised to 1,200 from the big blind. Taylor called as did Thorson. I put Bihl on a big pair. The flop was 9d-6s-4d. Taylor bet out of turn and was told by the dealer to take her bet back. Bihl checked. Taylor then bet 1,000. Thorson called. Bihl check-raised to 6,000. Taylor and Thorson called. The turn was the 6h. Bihl checked. Taylor bet 8,000 and sat back in her chair... a signal of strength. She was also shaking uncontrollably. My gut told me that she had 6-6 and turn quads. The chick was shaking for fucks sake. The ever cool Thorson folded and Bihl went into the tank for a minute before he check-raised all in. What the fuck? Taylor quickly called. I expected Bihl to have A-A or at least 9-9 or 4-4 for the full house. Nope. He flipped over Qh-Qd. Taylor tabled 6d-6c for quads. Bihl was drawing dead as the dealer put out a meaningless 5h on the river. Bihl headed to the rail as Taylor dragged the pot and jumped out to an early chiplead. Two days earlier Bihl won a bracelet after he came from behind and beat Jen Harman in the HORSE event as he made history and became the first ever player to win a bracelet in Europe. Then he donked off his chips to an amateur who obviously held a monster hand. I can only assume that Bihl is primarily an online player who doesn't study the physical reactions of players as much as he should. I mean, Taylor was shaking. How could he not know she had a hand?

Sarah Taylor (photo by Felipe)

At one point there was another all in at Taylor's table and French actor Patrick Bruel shouted, "Where are the fucking cameras?!?!" During any all in at the table and the dealers were instructed to halt action while the film crew got into position to film the remainder of the hand. The flop was Kd-Jh-5c and a monster of chips in the middle of the table. The pot was about 30,000 and Bruel was all in for his last 5,000. Sarah Taylor called his all in bet as Bruel wondered where the cameras were. The crew eventually arrived he asked if the Queen was there too. Bruel had flopped a set with Js-Jc and Taylor was way behind with 10h-10d. Bruel turned a boat and doubled through Taylor. By the end of Day 1a, Bruel would be among the chip leaders.

William Thorson busted out early which sucked because all the hot Swedish railbirds followed him out of the poker room. Booooooooooooo!
Top 5 Stupid Questions We're Asked in Media Row...
1. "What are you doing?"

2. "Is that someone famous?" (While pointing to an unknown player.)

3. "Can I check BetFair.com to see how my cricket bets are going?"

4. "Where's that Italian kid with the scarf?"

5. "Where's Bill Ivey?"
Phil Hellmuth made another Hellmuthian grand entrance. He had hired a double decker bus to take him around the city as booze flowed and 11 skanks dressed up like bobbies were also there (representing his 11 bracelets). The bus had been blasting rap music and it feature a photo of Hellmuth flashing 11 for the camera. A few pedestrians shouted things like, "You suck Hellmuth!"

Jonno wrote one of the funniest things of the day alluding to the fact that the bus was intact and Hellmuth didn't crash it around a light pole in front of teh casino, like he did the day before the main event at the WSOP in July.

Hellmuth was at the feature TV table with Marco Traniello. The table was quiet during the first hour or so and Hellmuth told everyone that they needed to start talking otherwise they were going to get moved. That loosened the table up and a few more people were chatting and joking around. Hellmuth was in full on abusive mode. He berated Traniello for the first three levels and Traniello pretty much shrugged it off. He wouldn't let Hellmuth bully him around in pots and frequently played back at Hellmuth. Supposedly, Hellmuth got tanked at dinner and when he came back Thor Hansen was moved to his table. Those two jawed back and forth. Thor Hansen is a hilarious guy. This was my favorite exchange from the day...
Phil Hellmuth: "I'm going out tonight, to this club. You wanna come?"
Thor Hansen: "Why? Is it a gay bar?"
Johnny Chan railbirded the TV table and brought a bottle of champagne over to drink. At one point, Chan was shotgunning from the bottle and pouring Hellmuth glasses. Hellmuth was so pissed drunk that he knocked over his glass, which crashed to the ground.

The Empire played the Monday Night Football game on the big screen. That was clutch since I had money on the game. I tried to get unstuck after my awful betting parlor losses (Soccer on Saturday and NFL on Sunday). I headed to Ladbrokes before work on Monday and decided to go double or nothing. Luckily, the Bengals won and I got unstuck. Ship it!
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next to...
1. Bruno Fitoussi
2. Ted Forrest
3. Jesus
4. Gary Jones
5. Sherkhan Farnood
* * * * *

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Bonus Code: Pauly

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