Wednesday, July 01, 2009

2009 WSOP, Day 35: Being There

Being ThereDay 35. Five weeks. Amazing how quickly they’ve seemed to pass. Two more to go.

Event No. 56, the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event, drew 928 runners. That was a decent bump up from last year’s total in this same event (805). Was also more than the 865 listed in that WSOP Staff Resource Guide as a projected total for Event No. 56.

Was talking a few days ago about how the previous event I covered, the Limit Hold’em Shootout (Event No. 50), had a smaller-than-anticipated field, but resisted using that event or the $50K H.O.R.S.E. (the number of entrants for which was also down significantly) as an indicator of what might happen with regard to the size of the field for the Main Event. The fact that Event No. 56 drew a large field is probably a good sign, I’d think, that no-limit hold’em in particular is still going strong. And that maybe, just maybe, the Main Event will attract 7,000 players after all.

The day went fairly well from the reporting side of things. Had some truly interesting hands come up. Dario Minieri busted on a kind of crazy hand in which he open-raised from the button, got reraised Roy Matthews in the blinds, Minieri four-bet, his opponent five-bet, then Minieri shoved with just enough chips to perhaps make a player not holding pocket kings or pocket aces fold. But Matthews had K-K and called, and Minieri was forced to show his 8-3.

There was also Daniel Negreanu’s crazy cameo in this event. He was busy playing Day 2 of another event, where he’d built a stack, and so wasn’t too interested (or able) to devote much time to Event No. 56. So he’d rush over, take his seat, and ship it hand after hand. I wrote one very long post titled “Diary of a Madman” describing a manic, up-and-down sequence of a half-dozen hands or so that Kid Poker played. He’d eventually bust, having once again gone all in after flopping a thin draw, but not getting there.

World Series of PokerThere was also a curious hand that came up involving Scotty Nguyen. Nguyen had open-raised from the cutoff, got reraised by the button, and it folded back to Nguyen who called. Then, before the flop was dealt, the button asked the dealer to deal him his second card -- he’d only gotten one. And he’d had the cojones to reraise Nguyen anyway. The dealer ended up delivering the second card, and the hand proceeded, with Nguyen betting the flop and his opponent folding. Weird stuff.

As anyone who has followed the coverage closely this year has noticed, PokerNews made a couple of changes with regard to how Day 1 gets reported. We’re not trying to do the impossible and track chip counts for even a small percentage of the field as we did last year. Even with just a couple of hundred players, it really isn’t feasible -- nor even that meaningful, when it comes down to it -- to try and give ongoing counts for even a significant percentage of the players. Never mind how doing that sort of accounting work often takes away from the time and energy available to write posts.

So we pick up the counts on Day 2, and really it isn’t until the end of that second day when we get to the money and the top 50 or so players do we try to provide that comprehensive view of everyone’s stacks and how they’re changing. As my tone probably indicates, I like this change and think it makes sense both on a practical level and in terms of what makes for the best coverage.

Another change this year is a consequence of the relatively smaller cast of characters we have working this time around, which has meant for many events we only have a single blogger working the first and second days, and even sometimes the last day, too. Last year I don’t believe I ever worked without a blogging partner, while this year I’d say two-thirds of my days have been me working solo with a field reporter or two.

I suppose I’m mostly ambivalent about this change. I don’t think it has affected the coverage that greatly, although obviously with two bloggers there’s going to be more quantity and a greater variety in a single live blog of an event than otherwise.

It has affected the experience of covering events somewhat, though. As I wrote about frequently last summer (and a little bit this summer), a lot of what made things fun and gratifying last year was getting to work closely with a number of smart, funny, interesting people who were all genuinely focused on helping each other in the pursuit of a commonly understood goal. That’s also been true this summer, it’s just we’ve had these long stretches of working separately, then getting back together only briefly, say, at a final table.

The big reunion happens Friday, though, as we’ll all be working together to cover the Main Event. Looking forward to it, to be sure.

Speaking of getting together with friends, when the night was over I ignored the $50K H.O.R.S.E. entirely -- where David Bach finally took it down at about ten o'clock this morning (sheesh!) -- and instead headed over to the Miranda Room where they were playing out the next-to-last day of Event No. 55, the $2,500 2-7 Limit Triple Draw event.

Julie Schneider at Event No. 55Why did I go over there? Because Julie Schneider, wife of 2007 WSOP Player of the Year and two-time bracelet winner Tom, is still in the hunt! I hung out with Tom, Karridy, and Pokerati Dan to watch the last levels of play, leaving just before they wrapped it up for the night. Julie is currently one of nine players left, sitting right in the middle of the pack (5th place) in a group that includes John Juanda, Blair Rodman, Nam Le, and some other formidable 2-7 players.

As you might imagine, Tom was as happy as could be. And I was happy for him and Julie both. Was a neat way to punctuate the day, hanging out with some buds, watching someone I know making good in one of these suckers. Just slowing down a bit and enjoying being there, in the company of others, taking it all in.

Vera left yesterday, and so the likelihood had been high that I might’ve hand one of those lonely-seeming-why-am-I-still-here kind of days. But that didn’t turn out to be the case. Indeed, as I left the Rio I had a big ol’ dumb grin on my face, thinking about Julie’s success and the sheer joy it was bringing others. And how cool it was to be there, at the World Series of Poker.

It had been a good day.

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Blogger Yorkshire Pud said...

Keep up the good work Shamus. I know it seems like a thankless task at times but some of us fellow bloggers appreciate all the hard work you guys are doing

7/02/2009 10:08 AM  

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