Phil Hellmuth was at that final table -- for Event No. 41, the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-low Split-8 or Better -- and had he finished higher than seventh there we might’ve had a bit more spectacle at the Rio than we did. But for the most part both the Amazon and Pavilion rooms were fairly subdued. Kind of like the WSOP as a whole was taking a bit of a collective breather, a chance to recharge before the last three-plus weeks of crazy.
To be honest, I was feeling a little subdued myself when the day began, having taken the lovely Vera Valmore back to McCarran Airport in the morning. Though I had to work too much while she was here, we had a fun week together. As I told a few people, life seemed a little more normal while she was here.
There was only one new event yesterday, Event No. 44, the $2,500 Mixed Limit/No-Limit Hold’em event, and that’s the one to which I was assigned. The sucker was scheduled to start at noon, and our first impression of the room was to say “Where the hell is everybody?” Seemed like most showed up at least 10 or 15 minutes late for this one -- a little unusual, especially for events with higher than $1,500 buy-ins. After four solid weeks of poker, it could be players aren’t quite as anxious as they were before to get out of bed and back into seats around a table.
Ultimately 507 players did find seats and the play went surprisingly fast, with only 69 bagging up chips after they had played ten one-hour levels (30 minutes of NLHE/30 minutes of LHE). We surmised that perhaps the no-limit guys were spewing in the limit rounds, and the limit experts were giving away more than they should in the no-limit hands.
Ended up being a very pleasant day work-wise, which brightened my mood considerably as the day wore on. One highlight of the day was hanging out with Dr. Pauly for part of the dinner break and discussing various topics including Hellmuth, Lost Vegas, the NBA draft, Phish setlists, freelance writing, and the current state of poker media in general and WSOP coverage in particular.
Probably spent most of our time on that latter subject, and I came away having benefited from Pauly’s insights. I benefited by having been there in the media box when Jessica Welman arrived with cupcakes, too.
Eli Elezra ended the day as our chip leader in Event No. 44. I wrote about one of his hands yesterday, kind of a funny one during which he delivered a lot of humorous table talk (which I toned down just a tad in the post). Elezra is a fun one to cover, as is Jim “Mr_BigQueso” Collopy who ended the day second in chips. Wouldn’t be bad at all to see either or both make it deep in this one.
One other kind of interesting moment to share from yesterday. We were in the Pavilion, positioned close to the stage where the bracelet ceremonies take place. At the first break, they awarded two bracelets, one to Scott Montgomery (for Event No. 36, one of the $1,000 NLHE events) and the other to Steven Kelly, winner of Event No. 39 (the $1,500 NLHE Shootout).
I had covered the final table for Event No. 39 the night before, in which Kelly ultimately beat Jeffrey King heads-up to win. Interestingly, both Kelly and King -- runner-up in Event No. 39 -- were playing in Event No. 44, and King was seated at Table #1, right in front of the stage. I thought it a little poignant to consider his being in such close proximity to the awarding of the bracelet which he came so close to winning just hours before. In Event No. 44, King lasted until the final level last night before busting, but the 21-year-old Kelly is still there with an average stack when we return today.
This may actually be a rare event in which we get to the final nine on Day 2. Should be a little more noisy today at the Rio, with five events happening and a couple of final tables. Head over to PokerNews to follow it all.