Monday, September 21, 2009

Sleep Is for Suckers

Can't sleep... clowns will eat meWas a late one last night. Wait a minute. Who am I kidding? If one never goes to sleep, one cannot refer to the night as being a “late” one.

That’s right -- another sleepless night for yr intrepid gumshoe, still covering that there World Championship of Online Poker for PokerStars. Today (Monday) is the last day. Has been a long ride.

Spent the first part of Sunday night helping live blog Day 1 of the $5,000 + $200 Main Event. A total of 2,144 runners came out for that one, which I believe means that the prize pool -- $10,720,000 -- is the largest ever for an online poker tournament. Click here to check out the live blog to which I contributed along with Drizztdj, Change100, and Otis.

I shuffled off of there late in the evening, then went over to watch Event No. 43, the last of the $200 + $15 no-limit hold’em events. That sucker ended up pulling in 9,220 players. It began at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon (my time), but as of 6 a.m. this morning was still going with eight players left, Team PokerStars pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier among them.

Grospellier has already won one WCOOP event this year, Event No. 38, a $500 + $30 no-limit hold’em event with one rebuy and one add-on. And as of this moment he’s the chip leader, and continuing to put on the pressure big time, opening every hand with preflop raises whenever possible.

ElkY invariably raises to odd amounts -- e.g., 234,567 -- although in fact a lot of players adopt such a strategy in these MTTs. Makes me think a little of a post I wrote about a year-and-a-half ago called “Numbers & Psychology” that addresses the subject of those strange-looking bet amounts.

In the post, I referred to a Cornell University study regarding how consumers respond to rounded off prices, in particular referring to homes. The study concluded that buyers had a “built-in bias in favor of precise numbers,” by which they meant the non-rounded off numbers. I made a few gestures in the post toward applying the researchers’ findings to how players respond to weirdly-sized bets at the poker table. A number of interesting comments on that post, too, if you’re curious.

Anyhow, I’m hoping this thing ends in the next couple of hours, as I have that other “real” job to do! Looks like they just lost one more player, so seven to go.

Check out all the WCOOP action over at the PokerStars blog or at the WCOOP website. Also, for those interested in the World Series of Poker Europe, that initial event -- a £1,000 + £75 no-limit hold’em event -- ended up drawing a nice-sized field of 608 players, making it the largest poker tournament ever in London.

They’ve reached the final table in that one, with Richard Allen and J.P. Kelly leading the way. As they play that one out today, Event No. 2, the £2,500 + £150 pot-limit hold’em/pot-limit Omaha event, will get underway. Follow the coverage of all of the WSOPE events over at PokerNews.

(Addendum: ElkY won -- his second WCOOP bracelet this year. Is he human?)

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