Friday, June 18, 2010

2010 WSOP, Day 21: Crazy Rhythms

'Crazy Rhythms' by The Feelies (1980)Covered the final day of Event No. 28, the $2,500 pot-limit Omaha event yesterday. Had a ton of big names in that one early on, but by the final table we were watching a lot of players with only modest career winnings, many of whom were from various European countries.

Crazy rhythm to the day, with long sluggish stretches punctuated by breathless flurries of action.

We returned to 12 players, and it didn’t take long to lose a couple at which point we moved over to one of the feature tables where they played ten-handed. The next elimination came quickly, too, and we were thinking the night might continue to move along at the same rapid pace.

Then suddenly things slowed down considerably, and it seemed like we’d never lose another player. Took a couple of hours for the first to fall from the final table, and we went to dinner with eight left. Got back and Tommy Le -- who had been the chip leader for a short while at one point -- became real aggressive and as a result quickly lost most, then all of his chips to go out in eighth.

Then another big lull, then suddenly four eliminations within a single one-hour level. Took awhile to get to heads-up between L.J. Klein and Miguel Proulx, and when both players started out showing patience it looked once again like we were going to be there a good while.

Earlier in the evening my blogging partner, Chad, asked me what was the most boring final table I’d ever covered. I had to think a little, but was reminded of an event from 2008 -- the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event -- which wasn’t necessarily the most boring final table I’ve seen but was certainly one of the strangest.

In that one, the first four eliminations came very quickly (in less than 70 hands), then Joe Commisso and Richard Lyndaker ended up playing 209 hands -- something like six hours’ worth -- before Commisso finally won. I knew it was that many hands because we were reporting hand-for-hand at that one, and my mind was fairly fried by the end. “Kafkaesque, It Was” was how I titled the post here describing that night.

Was reminded of that again after Klein and Proulx had pushed back and forth for 45 minutes with the result being their stacks being relatively even. It was after 1 a.m., each player had about 70-75 big blinds, and as I say it looked like we might be there a while.

Then boom, it was over. The last hand began with an all-spade flop, and it really didn’t seem like these two patient players were going to get too crazy in this spot. Klein led on the flop, and Proulx just called. The turn was a blank, and this time Proulx bet out rather big, and Klein called. The river didn’t pair the board either, and when Proulx checked it really felt as though we’d see either Klein check back or perhaps make a small bet to take it.

But Klein surprisingly shoved -- the pot was big enough at this point for him to do so -- and Proulx instacalled, flipping over the nut flush. Klein only had two pair, and his losing hand was scooped up so quickly we only caught a quick glimpse of his cards (a little frustrating). Ended up talking to the dealer and tourney director/announcer afterwards just to confirm what we could of the hand before reporting it.

Still a very late night again, not getting to bed until 2:30 a.m. When you factor in the couple of hours of prep that go into these days (writing intros, player bios, handling various back-end things for the blog), we’re talking another 14-15 hour shift full of scribblin’.

But I’m up early today, excited because the lovely Vera Valmore at last arrives this morning for a week-long visit. Will get to spend most of the day with her today, then I’ll be working again tonight. Snoopy and I will be reporting from Day 1 of Event No. 35, the $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship, which doesn’t start until 5 p.m.

Then I’m off tomorrow. That pic above is the cover of the The Feelies’ great 1980 LP Crazy Rhythms. They do a Beatles cover on that one. Speaking of, Vera and I are going to be seeing Cheap Trick do their Sgt. Pepper show at the Paris tomorrow evening, which ought to be a good time. (Was writing about that show months ago, in fact.)

Couldn’t be more happy about Vera coming now. This summer has been more exhausting than in the past, I think, for various reasons. Folks are being stretched thin, plus there has been extra pressure on everyone this time around that isn’t necessarily making it easier to perform and/or endure. As was demonstrated by those guys at the final table yesterday, one can only operate at a high level of concentration for so long before something gives.

So I’m doubly glad that Vera will be here to help make things seem a little more normal for the next week. To help when it comes to these crazy rhythms.

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