Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 WSOP, Day 29: Fun and Games

Paper toss resultsDay 2 of Event No. 44, the $2,500 Mixed Limit/No-Limit Hold’em event, was shaping up to be an especially short second day yesterday. We began mid-afternoon with just 69 players, and well before midnight had already gotten down to just 11. But then came a two-and-a-half hour stretch during which there were no eliminations, and it ended up being about 2:30 a.m. before I’d made it back to the home away from home.

Lost both Eli Elezra and Jim Collopy yesterday, but we have a final table with Gavin Smith (looking for his first WSOP bracelet) and Dwyte Pilgrim -- both friendly, likable characters (in my opinion). There are others at this final table, too, who have some personality and aren’t hard to root for, so it ought to be a decent final table to follow.

You can check in on the coverage today over at PokerNews, but can also watch this one streaming sort-of-live over at ESPN3. After a month of back-and-forthing over various issues, we finally are going to have a few WSOP final tables available online, and this one for Event No. 44 just happens to be the first. Here’s the link for that (I think).

Like Thursday, yesterday was actually one of the more pleasant days working I’ve had this summer. A number of factors affect how the days go, obviously, but yesterday just seemed to be one in which most everything went the way it was supposed to go, and there were a lot of grins along the way, too.

With such a manageable field size -- just 69 to start -- it wasn’t hard to keep track of folks and know who everyone was pretty much from the start. The pace was quite rapid at times, thus creating a little bit of stress on the reporting side, perhaps. But it felt like we stayed on top of things reasonably well as the field shrunk down to three, two, and finally one table.

And like I say, there were some grins along the way, too, such as occurred during the last break of the evening, a little after midnight.

I had started that break counting chips and was entering the remaining players’ totals when I noticed little paper balls landing on either side of me there on the lower tier of the media press box. Looked up and saw that class clown Dr. Pauly leading others in an impromptu game of paper toss. They were aiming for a small plastic cup to my left, and no one was coming close.

My chip counts entered, I decided to do a little trash-talking -- “You guys are pathetic!” I chimed -- and made my way up to the upper tier to show ’em how it’s done. Alas, I wasn’t any more successful than they had been, and ended up providing Benjo an opportunity to deliver the line of the night:

“Shamus!” he cried. “Your balls are too small!”

After what seemed like hundreds of attempts from at least ten of us, Timothy of Bluff Magazine finally hit the target, earning the respect and admiration of all. (That’s a picture above of his winning shot -- and just a few of the many, many misses.)

Probably a “had-to-be-there” kind of scene, but as play resumed everyone had big grins on their faces and that feeling that it ain’t such a bad gig to be there reporting on people playing games. And to be working alongside others who love games, too.

Like I say, check out PokerNews today to follow our coverage of Event #44, and perhaps look in over at ESPN3, too.

Don’t expect to see me tossing paper balls at a cup in the background, though. Unless everyone else is doing it, that is.

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