Friday, July 15, 2011

2011 WSOP Day 45 - Main Event Day 3: Poirier and Jace Are Million Men and Tilt-A-Scandi

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

At least 1,000 souls were mercilessly crushed on Day 3. If you must be precise, the exact number is 1,012. That's how many players advanced to Day 3, yet failed to bag up their chips at the end of the night.

Only four levels (or eight hours of play) were designated for Day 3, which meant 253 players busted out every level, or one elimination every thirty seconds. If you blinked, you missed a bustout.

Photo by WhoJedi

After the field was divided into four flights on Day 1 and two flights on Day 2, the entire field was in the building for Day 3. The Pavilion was in use at the start of the day, but by night's end, it was no longer the scene of the crime as the entire field has consolidated into the Amazon Ballroom. As TD Jack Effel explained, "Someone in this room will be the next WSOP Main Event champion."

For the first time since cards went in the air on Day 1A, it felt like the Main Event, with a buzzing excitement bubbling inside the Amazon and spilling out into the adjacent hallways. Poker PROductions virtually ignored the opening days of the Main Event and were ready to spring into action on Day 3. In addition to full-on coverage, ESPN created a bit of history of their own by streaming the feature table inside the Mothership on a 30-minute delay, but with hole cards. If you were a hardcore poker fan, you had the opportunity to watch the WSOP in almost real time on ESPN 2 or online at ESPN 3.

The innovation was received with mixed reviews. Poker junkies an tech geeks are going to gush about the live streaming, while trolls, boobirds, and Luddites are going to hate on anything. If anything, the addition of the live stream absolutely destroyed wifi options inside the Amazon Ballroom,so many members of the media were flustered with the inability to provide live updates. One of my colleagues hinted at a conspiracy, but I chalked up the clusterfuck due to growing pains. After all, this was the first day of a full TV crew and the first time the WSOP was aired semi-live.

But tech issues aside, the poker tournament was still the big star and if you've either played in the Main Event in the past or happen to cover poker tournaments, you are well aware of the lack of stupendous action that accompanies any tournament.

Yeah, live poker is not the most exciting thing to watch in the world. I get more excited watching lesbian kissing videos on YouTube.

F Train wrote something yesterday that stood out: "If live broadcasts are the future of televised poker, then televised poker is in deep trouble."

I somewhat agree with F Train's statement especially if the tournament is still 1,000 players away from the most tense and exhilarating moment -- just before the money bubble bursts. I think the final day leading up to the Main Event, when three tables remain (or 27 to go), would make for much better live TV because there's significantly more drama involved because there's more cash on the line and everyone is trying to become a member of the November Nine. Plus, everyone (media and fans) will be able to follow along with the big stories, back stories, and side drama -- because most of that doesn't flesh itself out until a couple of levels after the money bursts.

Action on Day 3 of the Main Event is still a little stale and boring. Perhaps capturing the money bubble would be a great moment for live TV, but then again, I've seen extended bubbles that seemed to go on and on and on. In addition, the monkey-push-fest that ensues after everyone min-cashes is not what I would call scintillating.

If the future of televised poker starts at Day 3, well then, it might not survive because the masses will get bored because it's hard to keep viewers at home engaged with a plethora of other entertainment options. However, if the semi-live stream picks up the action with four or five tables to go, then the innovative semi-live streaming with hole cards will modify and enhance the post-modern version of televised poker.

* * *

So much for being a chip leader on Day 2A or 2B. When action returned after the early bird dinner break (yes, dinner break was at 5:25pm PT -- which gave players an opportunity to graze the buffet with grandmas and other octogenarians), the first million-chip stacks emerged. When play was suspended at the end of Level 14, only two players had monster-stacks -- Patrick Poirier (1.3M) and Darryl Jace (1.2M). At the same juncture in 2010, the overall leader had just passed the 800,000 milestone.

Photo by WhoJedi

Only three former champions were alive -- Berry Johnston, Robert Varkonyi, and Phil Hellmuth. The white-haired Johnston won the Main Event 25 years ago -- before Tom Dwan, Annette Obrestad, and Timex were even born. Johnston faded a field of only 141 players to win the Main Event in 1986. At the present moment, he's one of 852 runners remaining -- and only the top 693 get paid out.

Robert Varkonyi sat at a table right behind Phil Helllmuth, so he had to watch Hellmuth garner all of the attention on that side of the Amazon Ballroom. It was as though Hellmuth was constantly under surveillance from the roving film crew, while Varkonyi operated in his shadow. At least Varoknyi survived the cut. A slew of former Main Event champs found their fate on Day 3 including Tom McEvoy, Huck Seed, Carlos Mortensen, and Joe Cada.

If you only watch poker for celebrities, then you're gonna be bummed out because Jason Alexander and Brad Garrett but went busto on Day 3. Only Robert Iler (aka AJ Soprano) advanced to Day 4. The thespian who portrayed Tony Soprano's son is on the verge of cashing -- that is if he can avoid getting whacked with an ice-pick to the back of the head on Day 4.

For complete chip counts on the final 852 at the end of Day 3, visit's chip count page.

* * *

Four levels meant a lot more personal hijinks. Heck, my day started off with a bang. I had a room for one night at the Gold Coast and woke up inside a casino instead of my house a few miles away from the Rio. First order of business? 8am session of Pai Gow. Heads-up against the dealer. I played every Dragon Hand and had a rough start to my day. The gambling gods were not too keen on me in the morning.

I wandered over to the sports book, fueled by a tip from AlCantHang's new tout services. With the second half of the baseball season in full swing, we focused on Milwaukee against Colorado. Al had a live mis-click when he accidentally told the cashier the wrong team and they booked the bet that way. Alas, the mis-click for Colorado was the best bet because the Brew Crew got stomped.

Only one way to shake off a shitty Pai Gow session and sportsbetting-tilt --- PLO. As soon as the 4th level of Day 3 ended, Michalski picked me up to take me to his mixed game at the Palms. The game was in full swing when I arrived and only had to wait 15-20 minutes for a seat to open up. While I waited, I marveled at all of the freaks roaming around the Palms. They were attending a Midnight viewing of the new Harry Potter flick, which meant plenty of random hot girls dressed up like slutty Gryffindor. I kinda felt like a leering, dirty old man and channeled my inner Bukowski while I waited for a seat to open up...
Mixed Games Line Up:
Seat 1: Drunk Scandi - Sven
Seat 2: Drunk Scandi - Ulf
Seat 3: Drunk Alex Outhred
Seat 4: Rehab guy ...then Merchdawg
Seat 5: Hawaiian shirt guy
Seat 6: Michalski ...then Katkin
Seat 7: Crazy Asian
Seat 8: Your Hero
Seat 9: Wheelchair guy ...then quiet local
I was a little sloppy wasted and tweeting haikus...
Playing Palms mixed games
Michalski stacked by Scandi
Top set never holds

Four hearts on the board
Katkin against a Scandi
Straight flush sinks Katkin

Dropped another buy-in
Crazy asian flopped the joint
Pathetic cowboys

Merchdawg monkey tilt
McDs forgot his french fries
Stacked him with ten-nine
I tilted Merchdawg when I refused to run it twice during PLO. He flopped bottom set and I flopped a straight with 9-10, which held up. The kid was already on tilt before he sat down because McDonalds forgot his fries. I took advantage of the fast food tilt and got back whatever money I lost to the crazy Asian guy.

The Scandi in seat 2 had a fortress of chips at his end of the table, over four stories high and closing in on 3K. Katkin got stacked during hold'em when he lost with an Ace-high flush against the Scandi's straight flush. Katkin paid him off, even though everyone inside the entire casino knew the kid had a straight flush. Scandis rarely show off tells, but this kid's mouth was so wide open and his tongue hanging out with a waterfall of drool flooding his stack. Shit, the table lifted up three inches because the Scandi had such a hard on that it was almost knocking over the table. I'd pop a boner too if I rivered a straight flush and was about to get paid off.

But Katkin got revenge. He double through the drunk Scandi. I knew he was drunk because he was talking more frequently and his face was all red. The Scandi was in typical costume -- white dress shirt unbuttoned half way, black dinner jacket, and perfectly messy blonde hair. Actually, they were both (Seats 1 and 2) dressed like that. Katkin doubled up which sent one of the Scandis on slight tilt. He started speaking in Scandic and all I heard was... "Hürty gürty hürty gürty fücking Katkin top setten hürty gürty."

Then I got a shot at the big stack. I limped with A-Q-J-9 double suited red cards. Scandi 1 raised 4x and Scandi 2 min-raised. I had to call $40 to see the flop. Everyone bailed and it was me against a pair of Scandis. The board was Ac-Qc-Qs. I check-called a $120 bet from Scandi 2, meanwhile Scandi 2 bailed. The turn was the Ks, giving two flush draws. We both checked. The river was the 7s. I checked. He shoved and had me covered. I hesitated for a second, saying something like if he has Aces (or Kings), I'm fucked. Then I called and tabled A-Q for Queens full of Aces. He spread his four cards without turning the over and cursed in Scandic.

"Don't fucking slow roll me, Ulf. This isn't the state run casino in Stockholm. I will shank you."

Ulf picked up two cards and angrily tossed them across the felt. One hit Katkin's arm, the other fell short of his stack. I can't recall if Katkin or the dealer flipped over those cards, but the Kh-Qh was exposed. The dealer made him table his other two cards, both were small diamonds.

Wow, boat over boat.

I snatched the cash right out of the pot and then tipped the dealer a redbird as I raked in the 1.2K pot. Holy shit, that was a bit crazy considering we were only playing 1-2 NL/PLO with a $5 straddle. I doubled through the fuming Scandi who kept cursing underneath his breath in Scandi.

"Hürty gürty hürty gürty hürty gürty fücking hürty gürty slow played boat hürty gürty hürty gürty fücking Doctor Paüly hürty gürty!"

Pauly 1, Drunk Scandi 0.

* * *

Follow @taopauly for Twitter updates throughout the day.

Also, help support indie writers and buy my books: Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers and the World Series of Poker, and my recently released novel, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. Both are also available for Kindles and iPads.

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