Our set up was a little awkward, but actually worked out well despite a huge, sometimes boisterous rail for both our final table and the Event No. 56 final table which happened right beside ours. That there is a picture taken from our reporting location. The Event No. 56 FT is in the foreground, and ours is behind it. You can see the big crowd there on the right-hand side. It looks a little tight, but my partner Bruno and I were able to get back and forth from the table to our laptops relatively easily, and the day was not difficult at all from a reporting standpoint.
One factor that helped make the day relatively stress-free was that our final table went very quickly. The short stacks were knocked out right away -- in fact, there was one hand in which the eventual winner Marcel Vonk knocked out two at once -- and including a one-hour dinner break, the sucker was decided in less than seven hours.
Vonk is a Dutch player who (as we discovered during the course of the day) has a Ph.D. in physics and has produced a number of important studies in string theory, including a book on the subject. (Here’s his website -- in Dutch -- that includes his extensive curriculum vitae.) He beat out David “dpeters17” Peters of Toledo, Ohio, a successful online player who led for much of the day and had a 9-to-2 advantage during the heads-up portion. But it basically just took three hands -- a couple of double-ups for Vonk and the finisher -- for it all to turn around.
Once all was done I ambled over to the Amazon to see who was around. They had one more hour of play to go, the first half of the two-hour Level 5. (It was decided early yesterday they would play four-and-a-half levels, rather than just four.) They were on break when I got over there, so I didn’t see people like Otis, Mean Gene, and others whom I know have arrived.
I did chat with Dr. Pauly a bit about his long-ass day of travel as well as his coverage to that point of Day 1a. Pauly spent the day live blogging the Main Event, compiling stories and other out-of-the-way items as he has done in the past. Indeed, if you want to read about hands played, get an idea about how chip stacks went up and down, and other play-by-play from Day 1a, you can check PokerNews’ live reporting. But if you want additional color and a broader perspective on what the day was like, go read Tao of Poker, too.
When I talked to Pauly he was a bit hot because apparently someone had complained that he was posting too frequently yesterday and he had been asked not to do so. For those who don’t know, credentialed media are given a set of guidelines to follow, including one rule about “Tournament Access” that says “media organizations can only post Top 10 chip counts once per hour.” That guideline applies to everyone except PokerNews, to whom Harrah’s/WSOP has granted unrestricted access and thus allows to post chip counts continuously. There is some clarification of the “once per hour” rule in the guidelines that says updates cannot be posted until an hour after an event begins, and then subsequent posts can’t come until an hour has passed since the last one.
The rule as written specifically refers to the reporting of chip counts, but has been applied to other kinds of updating, too. I have seen it happen this year that some non-PokerNews sites have been warned about posting too frequently -- not just about chip counts, but any kind of reporting -- and apparently Dr. Pauly received a similar warning yesterday.
Go read Pauly’s Day 1a blog for more about what happened. I ain’t gonna comment too much further on it here, although I’d be interested to hear what others think about the subject of so-called “exclusive” rights with regard to reporting on the WSOP. I will repeat what I say above, though, and say that in my opinion those hungry for information and stories from the WSOP are especially well served by visiting Tao of Poker (as well as a number of other sites) in addition to PokerNews.
After six straight days of reporting, I’m off the next two. I will be at the Rio some today, however, where I’ll be trying again to catch up with some of those other writerly types who have finally arrived.
Let me end with a thank you to Pete from Canada who came by to say hello to me at the end of my day yesterday. Pete shared some kind words about Hard-Boiled Poker which I really appreciated, and his visit was a nice way to end the day of work. Thanks, Pete!
And thanks everyone else, too, for spending time here now and then. I know that as far as the WSOP is concerned, you can certainly go elsewhere for the big picture, whereas here you’re mostly just gonna get the relatively narrow view of yr humble gumshoe. So thanks for occasionally finding some value in hearing about what one guy on the ground happens to see from where he is sitting.