Friday, June 20, 2008

WSOP Day 21: Donkeys, Pigeons, Possums, and Kangaroos

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I gazed out over the bustling Amazon Ballroom and was greeted by a sea of unknown faces. The $1,500 event was a bonanza of dead money. The room was filled with dream catchers, donkeys, and pigeons.

What we would consider a fish at the tables, the French called them... pigeons.

Pigeons are one of the stupidest fucking birds in the Columbidae family, aren't they? They lead a meaningless existence as parasites on our society grubbing around for food in parks and squares while they spend the rest of the time shitting on anyone who walks below.

Pigeon. I dunno what sort of psychological effect that might have on my opponents if I attempt to use that word to berate idiots in the chat box after an ugly beat. I usually unleash my wrath every once in a while when I respond with "nc cumstain." That is about as emotional as I'll get at the tables.

Fish and donkey are two hackneyed words in poker's vast vocabulary. They are both a thing of the past like Tae Bo and MySpace. Pigeon is just too fuckin' gay for me to use. Peasant has a sort of insidious and salty meaning, and I've used that a couple of times. But I always try to come up with a new word to describe horrible play at the tables.

Here's a fun formula that I use... combine a body part with an animal and there's your new epithet.

Ass-monkey. Squirrel-cunt. Zebra-dick. Clit-panda.

That could be the name of a punk band headlining at CBGB's in the early 1980s... never mind the bollocks, here come the Clit Pandas.

I'd love to hear Phil Hellmuth scream out, "This ass-monkey can't even spell the word poker."

* * * * *

Every morning before I leave Scheckytown, I glance at the WSOP schedule to remind myself of the insanity that lies before me. I knew there was a new $1,500 event scheduled but I kinda forgot about it during my twenty-minute commute to the Rio. Led Zeppelin blared as I pulled into the parking lot. The usual spaces were full and I had to park over the hills and far away. I forgot about the noon $1,500 event.

Kathy Liebert has stellar bankroll management skills. How do I know? Instead of blowing her money on unnecessary things, she employs a more practical approach. Most pros and wannabe ballers valet their trucks and SUVs. Since she arrived around 12:20pm, Kathy had to park in a spot in the back of the lot. She walked across the sizzling asphalt towards the convention center main entrance. She could have 'big timed' it and blew off security by entering through the back door like Jen Tilly, Howard Lederer, and Phil Ivey have done many times before. Not for Kathy. She wanted to be treated like any of two thousand other players in the event. She also brown bagged her lunch instead of paying for overpriced kangaroo meat that they pass off as food in the Poker Kitchen. When you lather it in hot sauce and dip it in Ranch dressing it tastes just like chicken.

The $1,500 events attract 2000+ runners and they purposely put those on ESPN360 because the powers to be think that will attract more punters and weekend warriors to play in them since there's an outside chance they will get on TV and snag their fifteen minutes of fame. It's a great concept to attract a handful of vain players who are desperately trying to get the spotlight shone on them if even for an hour or so before they bust out.

But with such huge events, it's almost mathematically impossible to have a stacked final table like you would find in the $50K HORSE event or a $10K buy-in championship event.

The Stud 8 final table was far more interesting and featured some of the most recognizable faces in poker including Jesus, Annie Duke, and Marcel Luske. That would have been a better event to send out over the intertubes.

When given the choice between watching Stud 8 with several shining stars on a regular table in the middle of the Amazon room while elbowing each other for space to see... or... watching a nonet of unknowns play NL under the bright lights of the final table stage.... the fans flocked to the Stud 8.

If it were up to me, since there are usually two final tables per day. I would have a TBD schedule and pick the best final table to record. And if both tables suck, then you skip both.

In the end, the fans want a big sloppy cheeseburger and that's what the final table with Jesus, Marcel, and Annie Duke resembled. The final table of no-names? Mystery meat. Could be kangaroo? Could be possum?

At times the stands at the final table stage were almost empty while spectators stood four and five deep on the rail to get a glimpse of their favorite players in the Stud 8 final table. One woman got Annie Duke's attention when she was not involved in a hand. She asked Duke for an autograph. Duke obliged and the woman handed her a Sharpie and pulled out the Ace of spades from a deck of souvenir WSOP cards. Duke quickly scribbled her name and rushed back to her table. A couple of guys on the rail snapped photos of Jesus with their camera phones. Another railbird asked Marcel to sing.

Even Tony G was on the rail sweating his buddy Marcel Luske. The Flying Dutchman has been seen wearing a Poker News logo during the WSOP. Marcel seemed jovial and in a much better headspace than when I saw him in London. He was mired in devastating losing streak and couldn't catch a break. Marcel turned things around at the WSOP and made two final tables.

Jesus was trying to turn water into wine and pick up another bracelet. Once Annie Duke an dMarcel Luske busted out, Jesus looked invincible when he took over the chiplead as the big dogs all faltered. Alas, Sebastian Ruthenberg from Hamburg, Germany came from behind and prevented Jesus from winning is fifth bracelet.

Although early indicators suggested that this is the Year of the Pro, I gotta say that the Europeans are making a run. The Germans won their second bracelet, tying them with Italy and Canada. Only the Americans have more. Year of the Pro? Maybe. I like the sound of... The Year of the Euro.

Maybe things will turn around for the Brits and just wait until the Scandis show up wearing capri pants and designer sunglasses that cost more than your weekly paycheck.

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

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