Most of our time yesterday was spent identifying players, entering them into the chip counts, tracking their progress, and then, eventually, busting most of them from the counts. Andy, who has experience doing this sort of thing on the World Poker Tour, knows a ton of players and is an absolute maniac when it comes to counting chips. If you can believe it, we ended up tracking something like 220-240 players yesterday, entering all of those names and updating their counts a couple of times per hour.
I say “if you can believe it,” because if you check the Day 1 chip count page today -- the official end-of-day counts that come from Harrah’s -- only the survivors are listed. All of those players we entered and tracked no longer appear on the page. I cannot answer why this happens. I have some inkling of how the process works, but I have nothing to do with it.
Somehow Chad and I also managed to write 100-plus blog posts during the day as well in between all of the data entry, noting big hands (and some small ones) and as sharing a bit of color here and there, too. Examples of the latter included my reporting on T.J. Cloutier and Luc Greenwood discussing Cloutier’s career in the Canadian Football League (“From Blocking Backs to Blocking Bets”), Will “The Thrill” Failla cracking up his table with his hilarious description of his getting paid the minimum with quads (“Omahahahaha”), and an epic tank by Michael Binger in a hand that lasted more than 15 minutes (“Which Is More Difficult? Poker or a Ph.D.?”).
There’s a great debate going on currently among various parties about priorities when it comes to reporting on the first day of a three-day event like this. I’m not going to get into all of the applesauce about chip counts that has gotten folks into a frenzy here of late. Some who have never tried this sort of thing think they could be better kept and more accurate, but I know there is nothing more three people can do with a field of 600 (or 2,000 or what have you). Double the crew and we may have something to talk about here, but otherwise it is really a moot point.
Rather, I just present the situation and invite you, reader, to consider what is really important when it comes to reporting on Day 1 of a three-day WSOP event.
In 2009, we actually did not track chip counts at all on Day 1, and instead reported on hands and provided color throughout the day, passed along the eliminations of the notables, then at day’s end tried to identify all of the big stacks and give readers an idea who was in front heading into Day 2. (Incidentally, these events never reach the money on Day 1, and usually it takes a little while into Day 2 before the bubble bursts.) That represented one approach -- by no means necessarily the best, but just one way to do it.
This year the approach (as described above) has been a little different, and I think one result from the change is that it has opened up this debate about priorities when it comes to Day 1 reporting.
You know already I’m kind of a “word guy.” I obviously enjoy writing or I wouldn’t have kept this blog for so long. So I’m one who is predictably going to value hand reports and color, whether we’re talking about Day 1 or the final table.
But I am not adverse to numbers or statistics, either (a big reason why I think I find poker so fascinating, really). That is to say, I ain’t against counting chips at all. In fact, I’m probably one of those strange cats who kind of likes doing it. (Not so crazy about doing it all day and then seeing the results of my efforts vanish once the next day begins, but again that’s something out of my control and I’m not going to fret over it.)
So what do you think? What do you want to see when you check in on the first day of reporting from a WSOP event?