Both tourneys had superfast structures (one with 15-minute levels, the other just 12), and thus catching cards was fairly vital. Unfortunately, I simply couldn’t do so in either event, and thus both ended up going somewhat similarly with me lasting five or six levels, then getting short to the point of having to push and pray.
My elimination hands in both tourneys were uncannily similar -- in fact, in both cases I held pocket sixes on my last hands, and both times I suffered the misfortune of getting to the last community card as a big (85-90%) favorite only to have the river snatch it away. Kind of stung a little more in the PokerNews event, as we were relatively close to the final table (and the money), but so it goes. (I’m going to avoid being any more specific about my bad beats, as I know no one wants to hear about ’em, anyway.) Even though I’d liked for them to have gone longer for me, both events were tons of fun and I thank the Dream Team Poker folks and PokerNews for making it possible for me to play in ’em.
The day began about 11 a.m. or so. I got to the Rio early in time for the press conference given by WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack at Cafe Martorano’s. The main bit of news there was the announcement of the 10 people whom the public nominated this summer for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame: Tom Dwan, Barry Greenstein, Dan Harrington, Phil Ivey, Tom McEvoy, Men Nyugen, Scotty Nyugen, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, and Mike Sexton. Now the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council looks at this list and will either remove names, add names, or both before sending the real nominees to the real voters -- a 15-person media panel and all living Hall of Famers (Full story here.)
Pollack also made a few announcements regarding the Series, including reporting that the 2009 WSOP had broken last year’s record for most total player registrations with 60,875. He also noted that the total prize money in the forty years of the WSOP has now exceeded $1 billion, with most of that total (of course) having come in the last few years. This year there were 39 events for which the prize pool exceeded $1 million.
Pollack did address the problems that arose on Day 1d with regard to players getting shut out of the Main Event, although said nothing he hadn’t already offered elsewhere over the last few days. He said that all options to allow the extra players into the tournament -- a number I’ve seen some, including Daniel Negreanu in USA Today, say exceeded 800 players -- were entertained, but that in the end it was decided there was “no option to seat additional players that wouldn’t have compromised the integrity of the event.” He also listed a number of ideas that are already being considered for helping avoid the problem in the future. I trust this will be a top priority moving forward, and that 2009 will ultimately be remembered as the only year in the history of the WSOP Main Event that players were turned away.
After taking a few questions, we then had a nice buffet meal there at Cafe Martorano’s, then we walked back down to the Brasilia Room for the Media Charity Poker Tournament.
In that one, I got to play at a table with WSOP bracelet winner and “First Lady of Poker” Linda Johnson as well as 2008 WSOP Main Event third-place finisher Dennis Phillips. The “Dream Team” format also made the whole thing a lot of fun. I was the first of my team -- Le Grand Fromage -- to go out, and so got to sweat Benjo and then Katkin until they were eliminated. “Le Grand Fromage est mort,” I twittered.
After that I left for a while to hang out with F-Train and Katkin while they played video poker at the hooker bar. Stopped back by the tourney just before the PokerNews freeroll began and saw Dr. Pauly still in it (he’d finish third). The PokerNews tourney was eventually won by Melissa Castello, with F-Train finishing second.
After the PokerNews tourney ended, I skipped the PokerStars party over at the Palms, opting instead to relax at the home-away-from-home for a bit. Then I eventually ended up playing a little more poker later in the evening at the MGM where I ran into Fredrik Paulsson.
Some of you might read Fredrik’s blog (he used to write for CardsChat). Fredrik won himself a seat in the Main Event this year via Party Poker, and in fact was one of those guys who -- through no fault of his own -- was for a time in danger of getting shut out on Day 1d but fortunately was able to get his seat. Fredrik came over to say hi to me on Day 1d -- click here to read the story of his Main Event experience, including his finding me in the corner of the Amazon Room behind my laptop during the break that day -- and he also happened to be at the MGM and we got to see each other again. Have a safe trip home, Fredrik!
Today it is Day 3, when all 2,000-plus players who have survived the first two days of play finally will be playing at once. The plan is to play five levels today, and according to what Pollack was saying yesterday, they do not expect to reach the money (the top 648) until tomorrow. We’ll have the full team out to report today’s action, and so by the end of the day the PokerNews’ live reporting page for Day 3 should be many, many pages long. See you over there.