Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WSOP Main Event Day 7 on ESPN - Donkeys in the Rye

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Tuesday poker night continued on ESPN as the 2009 WSOP Main Event as the field thinned down from 64 players to the final three tables of 27. The coverage this week started out with the focus on "top names" with the cameras hovering around the likes of Phil Ivey, Antonio Esfandiari, Prahlad Friedman, Tom "DonkeyBomber" Schneider, Joe Sebok, and Dennis Phillips. You had to keep your eyes on the broadcast otherwise you might have missed some of their bustouts.

It was a short day for Prahlad. The hooded internet legend who once challenged the manhood and honor of Jeff Lisandro (and lived to tell about it) was the first player to bust out on Day 7. The whitest white boy on the west coast since Kurt Rambis hit the rail.

Joe Sebok wore a "Get Shronk" shirt. Made me smile to see that. Unfortunately, the coolest kid in school couldn't hang on anymore. Sebok busted when his A-9 lost to G-Vegas' Nick Maimone's A-Q. Barry Greenstein stood on the rail as Sebok made his final stand. He tweet'd the hand while Seebs made the walk of shame with his lady friend Amanda.

Dennis Phillips almost busted out when his Queens ran into Steve Sanders (not the douchebag from 90210) who flopped set of Aces on a board with three clubs. Sanders had to sweat the turn and river because Phillips held the Qc. Of course, Phillips dramatically rivered the Jc to avoid elimination. Phillips would not last much longer and he ran out of good juju. Last year's last standing November Niner busted out against a Frenchie (let's call him Pierre Fromage). Both players were all in preflop with A-K suited, but the Pierre Fromage flushed him out with As-Ks when he rivered a spade to seal Phillips fate. Phillips received a hearty round of applause and even got a handshake from WSOP media director Nolan Dalla.

The Magician
Photo by Flipchip

Antonio Esfandiari held court on the featured TV table with November Niner James Akenhead. On the first hand of the episode, Antonio kicked off the festivities when he raised with Ace-shit and the young Brit Akenhead politely moved all in with a shortstack and a pair of nines. Mark Ader shoved in late position with Big Slick. Antonio quickly got out of the way as the two players embarked on a classic race. Akenhead flopped a set of nines and he doubled up to over 3.2 million.

Akenhead added more chips to his stack when he flopped a set of Kings against fellow Brit Adam York's A-J. York made an ill-timed call with Ac-Jh on a Ks-Jc-4c board and all of a sudden became "all peckish."

"Peckish?" said Akenhead. "What are we in a fuckin' Monty Python skit? Are going to start that cheese bit?"

"Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?"

It was Shiny Happy Time out on the secondary TV table. Happy was rocking a Phish t-shirt with the hugable Leo Margets from Spain and online wunderkind Lucky Chewey sitting across from him. Leo, the last woman standing, continued her deep run but took a hit early on when she ran into a set of ochos and spewed a third of her stack.

Happy made a move early on with 7-3 off suit. He flopped bottom pair and turned a flush draw. He attempted a river bluff, but Jonathan Tamayo picked it off with a King high straight. Tamayo became Happy's nemesis. Holding pocket Queens, he four-bet Shulman, who tanked with Ah-Kh. Happy figured that he was up against a big hand (and at best he'd be racing) so he folded and picked another had to fight.

Photo by Flipchip

On one of the out tables, the DonkeyBomber was fighting for his life. He got it all in on the turn with two pair against a flush draw. AngryJulie erupted when he faded the flush draw.

"Is that my baby?" she squealed. "Stack 'em! Stack 'em to the top!"

Poker's anti-mime attempted to gesticulate a multi-tiered stack of chips with her flailing arms.

"Sorry guys," sheepishly apologized the DonkeyBomber. The other players nodded in sympathy. They all experienced moments when their wives and girlfriends engaged in lightly embarrassing behavior. AngryJulie's jubilant cheerleading on the rail was the target of a couple of Norm's snarky barbs.

Kentucky boy Billy Kopp continued his run and joined DonkeyBomber's table, much to the dismay of the DonkeyBomber. Kopp turned a straight against the DonkeyBomber and the former WSOP Player of the Year lost a significant amount of his stack. DonkeyBomber tread water until he had to make a stand. I was on the rail on his final hand. Here's how I called the action on the Tao of Poker on Day 7...
3:15pm... B-52... DonkeyBomber Eliminated in 52nd Place

Chip Leaders: Billy Kopp, Darvin Moon, Phil Ivey, Ludovic Lacay
Recent Eliminations: DonkeyBomber
Players Remaining: 49

DonkeyBomber lost a couple of pots before the break. AngryJulie went to fetch him a pizza so he could snack on his break. The railbirds are an integral part of the team in some cases, like a Nascar pit crew.

Bomber was short and made a stand with A-7. A French-Canuck called with 9-9. AngryJulie stood on the rail with an obstructed view and could not see the hands. "Do you have the pair or A-7?" she shouted.

"I have the Ace," mumbled DonkeyBomber.

"That's OK. I like it."

The flop missed DonkeyBomber but he turned a seven to pick up a few outs. His Main Event came to an official close when he whiffed on the river. The DonkeyBomber was nevermore. A dejected AngryJulie fought back cheers as she joined in with a shower of applause. DonkeyBomber somberly walked over to the payout desk as his named was announced over the PA system, "The 2007 Player of the Year Tom Schneider from Scottsdale, Arizona was eliminated in 52nd place."

"I'm proud of you!" shouted AngryJulie.

The two were followed by a camera crew as they walked through the vast emptiness of the Amazon Ballroom. At one point they stopped and embraced for several seconds in the dimly lit room as a delicate clattering of chips echoed in the background. He disappeared into the crowd $138,568 richer, but he'll tell you that this is the worst day of his life.
DonkeyBomber might have been sitting in a jinxed seat. Ivey took DonkeyBomber's seat and he promptly doubled up Kill Phil co-author Blair Rodman.

Darvin Moon
Photo by Flipchip

Before Ivey even took his original seat on Day 7, he inspected the leaderboard as chip leader Darvin Moon sidled up next to him.

"I respect you," said Moon in his now-familiar drawl.

Ivey returned blank expression which pretty much screamed, "Who the hell are you?"

Darvin Moon, the luddite logger from Maryland, took a seat at the featured TV table. He didn't even get done stacking his castle of chips before he found himself in a hand. MyRabbiFoo opened with A-10. Darvin Moon overbet to 5 million before he could even sit down. Antonio woke up to Jacks and couldn't believe the redunkulous over-bet. He quizzed Moon suspecting a monster hand, but just making sure he wasn't trying to bully the table on the first hand. Isn't that the advice they tell you when you go to prison for the first time? Find the first motherfucker you see and beat the piss and shit out of him until the guards pull you away and they lock you up into solitary confinement. Was Moon tossing around the weight of his big stack or did he legitimately have a hand? Antonio didn't have a choice and he let go of his Jacks. It was the proper fold because Moon woke up with Kings, which held up, and MyRabbiFoo busted out.

Moon's rush continued when he flopped a set of Aces. Ryan Fair became his next victim and Moon rivered Fair to win another hand.

You could see a waterfall of drool tumble over Antonio's lips and onto the table after Moon settled into the featured TV table. If he could chisel away a chunk of Moon's stack, he'd be on the right track to the November Nine. Antonio found an opening when Moon opened with A-Q and Antonio called with Kd-Jd. The flop was Q-3-3. Moon checked. Antonio fired at the pot and Moon check-raised over 1 million. Antonio missed yet fired back anyway with a re-raise. Moon did not hesitate and 4-bet shoved. Antonio quickly folded. Logger 1, Magician 0.

November Niner Joe Cada stumbled into the two's pissing match. Cada opened with As-6s. Moon called with Ad-Jd. Antonio jammed all in with A-J off. Cada bailed. Moon open-folded his hand. Antonio stayed alive. Logger 1, Magician 1.

Moon flopped a Broadway straight against a well-dressed Frenchie (let's call him Pierre Cardin) who flopped a set of tens. Moon dangled a 2 million river value bet in a 6.5 million pot. Pierre Cardin folded and I have no idea how that happened. French players are notorious calling station, but Pierre Cardin knew something was up. Moon had been showing most of his hands but did not on that instance, although he honestly revealed that he flopped the nuts.

During his couch interview Moon was not shy about his backwoods roots. He spoke a bit about the physically challenging logging business. He once lost a battle with a tree and scuffed up his knee. I wanted him to roll up his pants leg and reveal all of his scars and detail the exact incidents just like Captain Quint in the film Jaws. I wanted to hear the morbid tales of almost-severed limbs, being impaled by falling branches, and having to fight off a flock of trouble-making woodpeckers.

Quote of the Day: "I'm too fat to climb the trees." - Darvin Moon

* * * * *

Click here for Flipchip's WSOP Main Event photos.

You can read my end of day report... Day 48: Main Event Day 7 - Evil Lurks on the Cusp of Greatness.

And here's previous recaps...
Main Event Day 6.5 on ESPN - Four Heavy Hitters, Jaws of Ivey, and AngryJulie
Main Event Day 5.5 and Day 6 on ESPN - Introducing the DonkeyBomber
Main Event Day 5 on ESPN - ElkY and Happy
Main Event Day 4 on ESPN - Bubbles and the World Series of Ivey
Main Event Day 3 on ESPN - Aussies, Ivey, and No Shake for Hellmuth
Main Event Day 2B on ESPN - A Kinder and Quieter Hellmuth and the Always Aloof Ivey Time
Main Event Day 2A on ESPN - The Fossilman and Costanza Show
See you next week.

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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