Friday, July 17, 2009

2009 WSOP, A Reporter’s Notebook

Home again, home again. Slept 13 straight hours last night/this morning. Probably could’ve slept 4-5 more. Flights yesterday were relatively smooth and it was more than nice to reunite with Vera Valmore once I’d finally touched down.

A lot of new stuff to write about regarding the newest installment of the November Nine, including Darvin Moon’s big chip lead, Jeff Shulman’s gripes with the World Series of Poker, and, of course, Ivey the Incredible.

And there’s my own poker playing, too, to which I’m anxious to return (and to write about). Feel somehow reinspired to learn, improve, progress, not least because of the fact that I had so many friends playing (and succeeding) in events at this year’s WSOP. Kind of thing makes it seem less out of reach.

Will save all of that for next week, though, and instead today go ahead and compile links to all this scribblin’ I’ve done this summer. Here are all of the posts I wrote here, followed by links to the live blogs for the WSOP events I helped cover for PokerNews:

Hard-Boiled Poker

Short-Stacked Shamus2009 WSOP, Day 1: It Gets Real
Here I’m mostly speculating about the size of the field for the about-to-start Event No. 2 , that much anticipated “Special 40th Annual No-Limit Hold’em” event everyone had been talking about for the previous few months.

2009 WSOP, Day 2: The World Series of Poker, Where Fantasies Come True
I started the summer entering one of those WSOP fantasy thingies, something I quickly forgot all about a few days in.

2009 WSOP, Day 2: Back in the Saddle
And away we go! Here I discuss helping cover the first day of Event No. 2 along with Change100 and tbostic.

2009 WSOP, Day 3: Sleepers
A few different reflections on some of the stories from Event No. 2, focusing on Doshi Suresh, Ted Forrest, and Chris Moneymaker.

2009 WSOP, Day 4: Wave Upon Wave of Demented Avengers March Cheerfully Out of Obscurity Into the Dream
Was listening to Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals a lot during the first part of the summer, and kept hearing allusions to poker as I did.

2009 WSOP, Day 5: Taking Off
On helping Change100 cover the final table of Event No. 2.

2009 WSOP, Day 6: Shamus Swindles Poker Lesson for Price of Cheeseburger
I had the chance to have dinner with Tommy Angelo, author of the terrific Elements of Poker, and write about our meeting here.

2009 WSOP, Day 7: Arm Yourself, Bomb
A week into the WSOP, and I’d only helped cover one event. But the crush was coming, with six and seven events playing simultaneously over the next couple of weeks. That’s a reference to the 1974 cult film Dark Star in the post title, to which I allude in the post a few times as well.

2009 WSOP, Day 8: Isolation
Some scattered thoughts here about covering the first day of Event No. 10, the $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha.

2009 WSOP, Day 9: Count On It
This post contains one of my favorite pictures from the summer (taken by FerricRamsium), one of Mickey, crack field reporter for PokerNews, counting the chips in a picture of him counting chips.

2009 WSOP, Day 10: Life Passing You By
You can already see yr humble gumshoe starting to wonder about the meaning of all this not a week-and-a-half into helping cover his second WSOP.

2009 WSOP, Day 11: A Hand Worth Remembering
In which I share what might have been one of the funniest hands I saw all summer, one that came up during the second day of Event No. 13, $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em event in which a player tried to check-raise Carter “ckingusc” King’s button continuation bet without any cards.

2009 WSOP, Day 12: Chips Go Flying at the Speed of Sound
In this post I speculate a bit about why it is players seem to shove their chips so readily in the middle and latter stages of no-limit hold’em tournaments. This is an issue that I think ended up having particular relevance later on in the Main Event, wherein we saw a lot of wild moves that didn’t seem warranted given the deep stacks in play.

2009 WSOP, Day 13: The Dollar Ain’t What It Used to Be
I begin to look at how the numbers of player registrations for 2009 WSOP events are comparing to last year’s figures, a subject I would later revisit once we got to the end of the summer (in a post titled “By the Numbers”).

2009 WSOP, Day 14: Insert Clever Post Title Here (Wordplay Optional)
Here I kind of preview a subject covered in greater detail a couple of posts down (“Does Humor Belong in Poker Tournament Reporting?”). I also link out to some other cool places to read about the WSOP.

2009 WSOP, Day 15: Live from the Rio
A short preview of a longer post detailing my helping cover the final table of Event No. 19, the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event.

2009 WSOP, Day 15: Live from the Rio, Part II (The Event No. 19 Final Table)
A detailed look at covering that final table, where Brock Parker won his second WSOP bracelet of the summer.

2009 WSOP, Day 16: Does Humor Belong in Poker Tournament Reporting?
The question in the title refers to the relative degree of sobriety expected of the poker tourney reporter. I conclude that humor does belong -- it is a game, after all -- though shouldn’t obscure the primary goals of being accurate, clear, and interesting in one’s reports. Warning: Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson references.

2009 WSOP, Day 17: It Was Fun
I discuss covering the first day of Event No. 26, the $1,500 Limit Hold’em event. I remark on how more women seemed to have entered the event (percentage-wise) than other events, and also how that factor -- and perhaps others -- helped create a less tense atmosphere. I ended up sitting near Shannon Elizabeth’s table for much of the day, where everyone (men and women) seemed to be having a very good time.

2009 WSOP, Day 18: Poker Is a Skill Game
Multiple bracelet winners tend to reinforce the argument. People get lucky, sure. But skill is what gets players to the end of these tourneys more often than not.

2009 WSOP, Day 19: The Meisner Technique
Here I briefly compare an influential technique from the world of acting to what poker players do. Change100 helps me sort out what the “Meisner technique” is -- a method than primarily involves actors reacting to others -- and I try to apply that method to the strategies poker players employ.

2009 WSOP, Day 20: Stranger in a Strange Land
Relating some of the bizarre plays one tends to encounter when playing low limit hold’em.

2009 WSOP, Day 21: Land of 1000 Reporters
Talking about the Twitter phenomenon, wherein it seems like every player is constantly broadcasting his or her progress to the world.

2009 WSOP, Day 22: The Name Game
On the challenge of trying to report on a player who refuses to give us his name.

2009 WSOP, Day 23: The WSOP Odyssey
I finish my coverage of Event No. 34, one of the seven $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em events, and talk a little bit about the grind that is the WSOP, where one tournament ends, another begins, and sometimes its hard not to feel like Odysseus wandering about the sea, every now and then stopping at “one more island in the boundless main.”

2009 WSOP, Day 24: Seeing Is Believing
Here I talk a little bit about the challenge of reporting those “strange but true” hands that involve what appear to be unorthodox -- or simply bad -- play. You want to try to explain what the player might have been thinking, but that, of course, is both impossible and inappropriate.

2009 WSOP, Day 25: Multiple Multiples
Jeff Lisandro had just one his second WSOP bracelet, becoming the third player this summer to do so. Of course, Lisandro would go on to win a third, and Greg Mueller would pick up a second one as well. Here I speculate a little about the significance of winning multiple bracelets in 2009, comparing the feat to the accomplishments of those who did so in earlier years, most specifically 2003 (when six players did it).

2009 WSOP, Day 26: Mixing It Up
I begin covering Event No. 42, the $2,500 Mixed Game event. This post includes a couple of funny moments from Day 1 of the event, as well as more pictures of Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler than you’ll ever need.

2009 WSOP, Day 27: Eight Arms to Hold You
Continuing to cover Event No. 42, that mixed game tourney in which eight different games are played. Here I talk about a couple of wild hands, my anticipating the arrival of Vera for a week-long visit, and Gobboboy.

2009 WSOP, Day 28: Intense
I recap an unusually intense day at the Rio. Over in the Amazon Room, I helped cover the final table of Event No. 42, won by Jerrod Ankenman, while elsewhere Miami John Cernuto had collapsed while playing in a different event over in the Brasilia Room.

2009 WSOP, Day 29: Mystère
Vera was in town, and we caught the Cirque du Soleil show. Another spectacle, with a couple of aspects in common with the WSOP.

2009 WSOP, Day 30: The Dealers
When one covers the World Series of Poker, one gets to witness and interact with the dealers on a fairly regular basis. Here I make a few brief observations about their contribution to the WSOP -- not necessarily the same sort of observations a player would make.

2009 WSOP, Day 31: Decline
I cover the first day of Event No. 50, the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shootout, an event for which the turnout was much below 2008.

2009 WSOP, Day 32: A Long Flight
“It’s like flying to Australia every day. Only when you get there you’re at the Rio. Again.” That’s how Tom Schneider described the long grind that is the World Series of Poker to me. In this post I talk a bit about covering Tom’s efforts versus Greg Mueller in the second round of Event No. 50.

2009 WSOP, Day 33: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
Talking about covering the final table of Event No. 50, won by Greg “FBT” Mueller. Also about how I wake up at night dreaming of reporting hands.

2009 WSOP, Day 34: Shamus, the Movie
People often say to me “Shamus, you live such an interesting life, being an undercover poker reporter and all. Someone should make a movie of it.” Well, one has already been made, starring Burt Reynolds. Check out the post to see posters and the trailer.

2009 WSOP, Day 35: Being There
Covering Event No. 56, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event, and reporting on some wild play by Dario Minieri and Daniel Negreanu. Also tripping over to see Julie Schneider going deep in Event No. 55, the $2,500 2-7 Limit Triple Draw event.

2009 WSOP, Day 36: Then Again, With the Name “Short-Stacked,” This Was Bound to Happen Sooner or Later
I play in a charity tournament and none other than Dan Harrington comes to my table. No shinola. Oh, and my “M” is an embarrassing 2.

2009 WSOP, Day 37: Did You Here? The Last Bracelet of the Summer Was Won
On the conclusion of Event No. 56, won by Matt “Hoss_TBF” Hawrilenko. Hawrilenko actually took home over $1 million for this one, yet the final table -- played out in the far corner of the Amazon Room -- was mostly ignored in favor of the Ante Up for Africa Celebrity-Charity Poker Tournament.

2009 WSOP, Day 38: The Big One
The Main Event begins, and I am here speculating some about possible numbers and the day-by-day scheduling. Here I also chronicle my visit to “Poker Palooza” with the Poker Grump.

2009 WSOP, Day 39: Fever
I finally catch some of the “casino crud” to which everyone else seemed to fall victim at some point this summer. I also whimper here a little about how relatively uneventful of Day 1b of the Main Event turned out to be, a day when only 873 players showed.

2009 WSOP, Day 40: By the Numbers
A post that compares turnouts for all of the preliminary events with what we saw in 2008, as well as how the actual player registrations compared to Harrah’s projections for each event.

2009 WSOP, Day 41: Whirlwind
On that wild Day 1d of the Main Event, when 2,809 players were seated, and something like 800-1,000 more were turned away.

2009 WSOP, Day 42: Interlude, Live Poker
I played more live poker this summer than ever before in my life, and so here make a couple of observations about differences between live and online play. Points here perhaps a little better informed than some similar attempts at drawing contrasts in the past.

2009 WSOP, Day 43: Anatomy of a Hand Report
I go into a lot of detail regarding my reporting of a single hand from Day 2b of the WSOP Main Event. Was a particularly ideal situation for reporting the hand, and I rattle off a lot of the reasons why.

2009 WSOP, Day 44: LOL Freerollaments
A day off from the WSOP for everybody, and I get to play in a couple of freerolls, the Media Charity Poker Tournament and the PokerNews freeroll.

2009 WSOP, Day 45: Theme (In Search Of)
Talking about Day 3 of the Main Event, when all players were finally consolidated into one group, and when the field began to shrink to the point where tables were being removed from the Amazon Room. Being too far “inside,” I find it hard to step back and settle on any “big picture”-type claims about what it all means.

2009 WSOP, Day 46: Go With the Flow
On Day 4 of the Main Event, the day the cash bubble burst. Some talk here about the super deep stacks players were building. Also, click picture to watch groovy Queens of the Stone Age vid.

2009 WSOP, Day 47: Deep Thoughts
On Day 5, including more discussion of the deep stacks. Includes what I think is a prescient quote from Joe Sebok -- who would nurse his short stack all of the way to a 56th place finish -- about how a lot of players seemed “focused on the average and not their stack in relation to the blinds.”

2009 WSOP, Day 48: The 64 Player Question
Talking about Day 6, and how heading into Day 7 a lot of us were pulling for people like Joe Sebok, Tom Schneider, and Dennis Phillips.

2009 WSOP, Day 49: The Long and the Short of It
On Day 7, with thoughts about the possibility of Phil Ivey actually making it to the November Nine.

2009 WSOP, Day 50: Boom, Boom, Boom
On Day 8, the last day of the Main Event played this summer, and the sheer excitement of those adrenaline-fueled final three bustouts of the night.

PokerNews

I helped cover ten different events for PN this summer. Here are the live blogs for each:

PokerNewsEvent No. 2, $40,000 No-Limit Hold’em
Event No. 10, $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha
Event No. 13, $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em
Event No. 19, $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed
Event No. 26, $1,500 Limit Hold’em
Event No. 34, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
Event No. 42, $2,500 Mixed Event
Event No. 50, $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shootout
Event No. 56, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed
Event No. 57, $10,000 World Championship No-Limit Hold’em

Much thanks to everyone for following along this summer! Was a wild ride, for sure. Will go back to the usual weekday posting starting Monday. For now, I’m thinking a nap might be in order.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Pauly said...

Well done, Shamus.

7/17/2009 3:34 PM  
Blogger Champ said...

Shamus, You are da man! Great reads per usual...thank you for keeping me in the loop while I slave behind the desk.

While most people envy the Phil Ivey's, et al, of the world, just know that some of us actually envy your position too.

7/17/2009 6:09 PM  
Blogger Waldo's Wild Kingdom said...

Story nobody has covered:
Will it gaul Lisandro (a man who I interviewed who when interviewed admitted that he was playing for revenge for not being able to get a sponsor at the Series) that his incredible run may be reduced to a footnote/trivia question if Ivey wins here? Is it odd that an Ivey's win CAN'T get him the POY?

Film at 11.

7/20/2009 4:10 PM  

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