Monday, June 23, 2008

2008 WSOP, Day 25: More Clichés Than You Can Shake a Stick At

Another clichéVera is here. Slept very well last night. And late into the morning. Combination of the body recovering some lost hours (got up early yesterday to be at the airport) and Vera being here, I think.

Work continues, though I’ll have at least one and maybe two days off later in the week. Enjoyed covering with F-Train the first day of the $2,500 Deuce-to-Seven Triple Lowball (Limit) event yesterday (Event No. 40). Started with 238 runners who amazingly played down to just 30 by the end of the night. The plan today -- as is usually the case on Day Twos -- is to play down to the final table, so we aren’t too far from that already.

Toward the end of the evening, the eliminations were coming so quickly that F-Train and I started to notice how all of our posts were reporting yet another bustout. And as we were nine-plus hours into the proceedings, neither of us had the creative energy we had at the day’s start. Enter the clichés. He titled one “Close But No Cigar,” then I followed it with “Another One Bites the Dust.” In the waning moments of our shift, we somehow resisted the urge to continue in that direction and describe players buying the farm, throwing in towels, kicking buckets, and/or bring out fat ladies to sing for them.

I was also trying to figure out why exactly people were busting at such a high clip. I hadn’t really examined the schedule of play that closely before the day began. Looking back, I can see that when there were 85 players left, the average chip stack was 14,000. That was at the beginning of Level 7, when the blinds were 300/500, and the limits 500/1,000. There are four betting rounds in triple draw, and the size of the bets (in limit) works like in other limit games. So here, for example, we had bets of 500 before and after the first draw, and bets of 1,000 after the second and third draws.

I suppose that average stack was on short side, as someone should probably expect to put in five big bets or so (on average) to reach the end of a hand. I think another factor here might be that in draw games it seems much less likely for someone to fold a hand after deciding initially to play it. (At least it looked that way to me watching the action.) So, if you had an average stack there at the start of Level 7 and decided to play a couple of hands and neither worked out for you, you were pretty much toast. Or dead as a doornail.

The reporting presented a couple of other challenges as well. Unlike in flop games, where observers can see community cards, or stud games where players have upcards, in draw games everything is hidden until the end. I think it was tricky, sometimes, for our reporters to pick up on whether or not a hand was worth reporting until after it was over.

Also a little cumbersome simply to narrate a draw hand in a way that is interesting or compelling to read. You share what players drew and whether they bet or raised, but you can’t really say much more.

Much more interesting yesterday were the extracurricular shenanigans that seemed to run rampant. Players were both showing discards (regularly) and rabbit-hunting (occasionally), neither of which is technically allowed. And there was a lot of table talk, it seemed -- some friendly, some less so -- perhaps more than in any other tourney I’ve covered thus far. All of these things are somehow related to how draw games usually go, I think.

Then there was the “absurdist” (as we dubbed him), who appeared to think he was playing five card draw or some other poker variant. He once stood pat with queens and tens -- no shinola -- betting all of the way down. He ended up going out with a pair of aces, which he’d hung onto after discarding his other three cards. You don’t want aces in this game (they are always high), nor do you want pairs. Didn’t faze him, though. Upon being eliminated, he took another swig of his Guinness and announced “Rebuy!” (Not an option in this tourney, either.)

We’ll see how quickly things go today. With just 30 players left, the average stacks are now just under 40,000. The blinds will be 600/1,200 and limits 1,200/2,400 when we begin today, meaning again, we’re not too far from where we were at the start of Level 7. At that point players with average stacks had about 14 big bets; right now they have about 16 or 17.

And not to beat a dead horse, but do head over to PokerNews to follow all the action. I’m not just whistling Dixie. It’s the cat’s pajamas, I tell ya. The greatest thing since sliced bread.

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