Friday, October 02, 2009

End of Story: 2009 WSOPE Main Event Concludes

End of Story -- the 2009 WSOPE Main Event ConcludesSpent much of the afternoon and evening following the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event final table on PokerNews. Sucker ultimately went something like 16 hours all told -- not quite the 22-plus hours from the year before when John Juanda outlasted Stanislav Alekhin, but a marathon nonetheless.

The last five hours consisted of Daniel Negreanu and Barry Shulman battling heads up for the bracelet. Negreanu had the chip lead when heads up began, although the Card Player publisher pulled even and then ahead after an hour or so. But Kid Poker moved in front again and looked as though he was going to win it all after getting Shulman all in preflop holding Ah5h versus Negreanu’s two black aces. But two hearts flopped, then a third came on the turn, and Shulman was back in front with a three-to-one chip lead.

Negreanu would spend the next couple of hours clawing back close to even, and had the lead once more when the hand Danafish declared “Hand of the Day” occurred. The pair got it all following a jack-high flop with Shulman having A-A this time versus Negreanu’s QcJh. Then a second jack stunningly came on the turn, and it again looked like Negreanu’s day. Then came an ace on the river, saving Shulman and crippling Negreanu. Shortly after that one, Shulman would take the last of Negreanu’s chips with pocket tens versus Kid Poker’s pocket fours.

Barry Shulman wins 2009 WSOPE Main EventAs I said, I followed along for most of the latter part of the final table yesterday, thoroughly enjoying the reports on PokerNews. Like Snoopy (who reported earlier days), both Danafish and Djinn employ a keen wit and (to me) add a great deal of fun to the reports, exemplifying what makes live blogging ultimately more valuable than the ticker-type updates one can find on Twitter -- although those are fine, too, for those desirous of the quick check.

I love posts with headlines like Danafish’s “Negreanu Has Chips Delivered to Him on a Trey,” in which one learns Negreanu flopped a set with pocket threes. Or Djinn’s “One Way Street Changes Direction, Confuses Tourists” describing how after a brief spell of pots won by Shulman the chips had begun to flow back Negreanu’s way. Fun stuff, and the kind of thing that definitely encourages one to keep hitting refresh to read more.

Last summer while helping cover the WSOP for PokerNews I wrote a post asking the question “Does Humor Belong in Tournament Reporting?” My answer was ultimately an affirmative one, noting that even if there were millions of dollars at stake, we were reporting on a game, after all, and so I concluded that “keeping it light (within reason) is probably the right instinct, generally speaking.”

Wouldn’t want to sacrifice accuracy, clarity, or reader interest, of course, in order to yuk it up too wildly... but a little bit of wit here and there definitely adds value to the reports, in my view. One could even argue doing so lends a “literary” quality that ensures the reports endure a little better than they would otherwise as straightforward, unadorned accounts of the action.

And as I say, Danafish, Djinn, and Snoopy are in my opinion the tops, striking the right balance throughout. Thus what’s left there on the PokerNews page is a vivid account of all of the important hands, as well as a fine balance of humor and color that makes the chronicle well worth reading through even after the event has ended. Well done, mates!

Jeff ShulmanBarry Shulman’s win obviously adds another layer of intrigue to the upcoming November Nine, where his son, Jeff, will be trying to match his father’s victory with a win of his own. Gary Wise has a new interview with Jeff this week up over on the ESPN Poker Club in which the publisher, president, and COO of Card Player takes back his earlier threat to “renounce” the bracelet by “throw[ing] it in the garbage” should he win the Main Event. (He’s currently fourth in chips.) Jeff also points out in the Wise interview that “[n]ot once was [he] ever thinking about trying to get extra publicity” by making the statement, which some -- including your humble gumshoe -- remarked was a pretty obvious consequence of the whole brouhaha.

Wise comes away from the interview saying Shulman doesn’t appear a “villain” to him in the still-unfolding 2009 WSOP Main Event story. Some will still characterize him that way, though. And it will be interesting to see how Barry Shulman’s WSOPE Main Event victory will play into that bit of story-manufacturing.

’Cos like I say with regard to the live blogging, that’s part of what makes all of this fun -- the stories. That’s a point WSOP Commish Jeffrey Pollack made on this week’s Two Plus Two Pokercast with regard to the WSOP ME final table. “I think the November Nine table is straight out of central casting,” said Pollack, noting how among the nine there are “a lot of great players and interesting characters” -- Shulman included.

I know I’ll be reading.

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Blogger Sean G said...

I agree. The live update page was very entertaining. I kept tabs on it throughout the day at work, and then on the heads-up battle through the evening at home. The coverage was top-notch, and the combination of facts and fun made it well worth reading.

10/02/2009 11:37 AM  

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