Thursday, June 17, 2010

2010 WSOP, Day 20: Which Event Is This?

Busy Busy BusyWas in the Amazon Room yesterday, parked in a very full Media Box from early afternoon ’til a little after 3 a.m. helping cover Day 2 of Event No. 28, the $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event. Was one of those days that goes on and on and ends up feeling like at least a couple of days.

Actually the way the day played out, it really did feel like two distinct sessions, pre- and post-dinner.

Before the break, it was just we reporters and our one event, so to speak. It often happens that one gets so involved in the particular event one is covering, the rest of the Series gets shut out of one’s awareness. Yeah, there’s other stuff going on here, but I have to get another round of counts right now. And who’s the guy in the gray hoodie in Seat 1 over at Table 374?

That’s how it was until dinner, during which time our event played down from 102 players to 53, with the cash bubble bursting just a couple of minutes before the break (at 54).

Then we came back and it seemed like the whole WSOP was happening right in our laps. There were six different events happening yesterday at the Rio, and so tables were being used everywhere, with at least four of those events sharing space there in the Amazon. Seemed like we heard that question “Which event is this?” over and over again yesterday as people wandered to and fro amid all of the action.

As our event played down to the final 12 players who will come back today, the final table for Event No. 27, the $1,500 stud/8 event, began and ended right in front of us, meaning that table and an often sizable rail stood in between where we sat and the tables where the PLO event was happening.

Not a huge problem, really, and in fact we had it better than our colleagues sitting beside us in the Media Box (FerricRamsium and Change100) who were covering Day 2 of Event No. 29, the $10,000 LHE Championship. They had both the stud/8 event and our tourney in between them and their action.

All the tourneys playing out in such close physical proximity did mean a lot of noise and other distractions, of course. Especially while Karina Jett enjoyed her chip lead at the stud/8 final table, since she attracted a large number of friends, fans, and family to root her on. She eventually finished fourth, another near-miss for women in open-bracelet events this summer.

Greg Mueller was among those who came around to watch Jett, and at one point we chatted with Mueller about the recently completed WSOP Tournament of Champions voting. Having one a couple of bracelets last summer, Mueller was eligible for the WSOP TOC.

About a month ago I wrote a post “Checking in on the 2010 WSOP Tournament of Champions Voting” in which I observed there hadn’t been much change at all in the top 50 over the first couple of months of voting. Nor was there much movement during the last weeks of voting either, it seems, as the 20 players who got voted in were the exact same top 20 vote-getters listed on April 16. You can see the full list of TOC participants here.

Mueller expressed some surprise to us that in the end it only took a little over 5,000 votes for Antonio Esfandiari to sneak into the top 20 and land a spot. He said if he’d have known that’s all it would take, he might have campaigned a bit more and tried harder to win a seat himself, then play the million-dollar freeroll for a charity.

Like I say, the stud/8 event ended before we were done -- kind of anticlimactically, really, as there didn’t seem to be anyone left to support the winner, David Warga, by the time he won the sucker. Quite a contrast from the ladies event final table (as I was mentioning a few posts back), where all nine players seemed to have significant rooting sections in attendance.

In the PLO, we had T.J. Cloutier and Chau Giang battling for the chip lead with 40 to go, but both suffered swift collapses to drop out well short of the final table (Cloutier in 38th and Giang in 20th).

Of our final 12, Joe Serock is probably the best known. I covered him at a final table last summer, the one in which he finished runner-up to Brock Parker. (Wrote quite a bit here about that one.) I remember on the bio sheet Serock filled out for that final table how he responded to the question about other interests and hobbies. “I just play poker,” was his answer. I wonder if he wrote anything different last night when filling out the sheet for today.

Tommy Le, (Nam's brother), is also among the final 12 players, which as might be expected in a PLO event include a lot of non-U.S. representation, with players from France, Germany, England, Bulgaria, and Canada among them.

Will be another busy day at the WSOP today, with six events going on once again. We’ll be honed in on our final table, though, and so I’m guessing won’t be as conscious of the other goings-on as we were yesterday. Of course, you don’t have to be as narrow in your focus, as you can follow all the events over at PokerNews’ live reporting.

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