Thursday, June 09, 2011

2011 WSOP Day 9 - Cockblocking the Brits

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Some days it's impossible to keep up with all of the action at the WSOP. Take Day 9 for instance with six tournaments on the docket. Six. Out of that six, two were new tournaments and three were trying to play down to a champion. It's days like this I wish I had a clone, or rather, an army of monkeys with iPads to help me cover more than one tournament at a time. As is, I can't be in more than one place at a time (and even then, my physical body might be there, but often, my mind is wandering around elsewhere).

On Tuesday, I jokingly told Seattle pro Carl Olson, "I'll only cover you if you make it to the Amazon Room."

Ever since the WSOP expanded to include the massive, football field-sized Pavilion last year, it became the hub for Day 1s. Meanwhile, the Amazon Ballroom became the centralized area for re-starts, final tables, and spillover tables for the donkament -- if necessary. Day 1s kicked off in the Pavilion and if you were fortunate enough to bag up chips at the end of the night and advanced to Day 2, then you'd return to the Rio the next day to slug it out in the Amazon Ballroom.

In 2011, the WSOP added the 10-level rule which meant action was suspended after 10 levels of play -- no matter what. The rule was instituted to give players and staff proper rest -- along with a specific hard stop time. As you know, poker tournaments are not timed affairs and an end when one player is left with all the chips and that's it. When I started covering the WSOP in 2005, the procedure was much different because tournaments were scheduled as two-day affairs. On Day 1 you played down to the final table -- no matter how long it took -- and the second day was specifically reserved for the final table. As the WSOP gained in popularity, events were expanded to three days. But even then, the WSOP experienced a few situations when Day 2's ran super long spilling into the next morning. As a result, the hard stop times were introduced.

My only issue with the hard stop times is that some final tables are starting late in the evening and not finishing up before play is suspended. The best example is the final table of the Donkament, which halted play with three to go. It's in those situations where someone has to step in and say -- play it out. Or in that case, perhaps play should have been suspended when a final table was set, that way all nine players could come back and play it out.

Then again, the counter-argument against eliminating hard stop times is never-ending heads-up battles, like the four-hour slugfest I witnessed during Day 9 between Sean Getzwiller and Sadan Turker for the final table of the Donkament. But just when I thought those two couldn't play a longer heads-up match, they were outdone by the five-plus-hour affair between Geffrey Klein and Eddie Blumenthal, to determine the 6-handed champion.

It a perfect world, the final table would begin and end on the same day, and I kinda missed those "perfect" days.

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WSOP Required Reading Links

Jesse May and Brandon Adams are among today's must read pieces. Start with Brandon's article The Center Cannot Hold. Here's a bit...
My fear is simply that, if Full Tilt can’t hold it together, poker will enter a dark phase. It’s notable that since Moneymaker’s win in 2003 and the launch of the golden age of poker, there have been relatively few instances of violence in the poker world. Arguably, this has a lot to do with the legitimacy brought to the poker world by the major sites, and with the flood of money that the sites channeled from the outskirts of the poker world to the center.

And then read Jesse's open letter to Brandon. Here's a bit...
The biggest thing, and I'd be surprised if you're not a little miffed, is the general lack of leadership from the "Full Tilt guys" that you speak of, whose names you don't even mention. I won't mention their names either. But that's the main problem, isn't it. For the last eight years, we've all been assured about who owns and runs Full Tilt without their names being mentioned. We all know about shell companies and secret percentages. We've all been quite happy to think we know who's in charge of Full Tilt without mentioning their names, because they didn't want their names mentioned.
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Bouncin' Round the Room on Day 9...

- With a trio of final tables, I actually spent a significant amount of time lurking on the rail of the Donkament, the Short-handed NL, and the O8 championship. Okay, I was lying about the O8 championship. I don't jive on split pot games, so I split and watched NL instead -- which was just a bad of a nightmare with a pair of heads-up battles lasting in excess of nine hours.

- Event #10 NL Short-handed final table was played out on one of the secondary tables. Jeffrey Papola (pictured above) was trying to win back-to-back (short-handed) bracelets in consecutive years -- but his quest fell short with a third place finish. Geffrey Klein would emerge victorious after a five-hour siege.

- The Brits had two attempts at winning a third bracelet since last Friday. Richard "Chufty" Ashby came up short in Omaha 8 with a 4th place finish, while Sadan Turker could only muster up a runner-up performance after Sean Getzwiller thwarted another British Victory.

- Douche of the Day: The tool screaming "Gimme that shit! Gimme that shit!" after he sucked out.

- Eskimo Watch: He's been around the Rio the last couple of days, where as heavyweights like Phil Ivey, Jesus, and Howard Lederer are nowhere to be found.

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