Friday, July 09, 2010

2010 WSOP, Day 42: Day 1d Anecdotes

Day 1d AnecdotesDay 1d of the Main Event had a rhythm that I think mirrored that of the first three Day 1 flights. A very high energy for the first six hours of play -- both from players and from those of us covering them -- followed by a relatively slower pace during the three hours that followed the 90-minute dinner break.

From the reporting side, we’re finally finding ourselves in a situation where a 2,000-plus field is manageable, with many more of us working at once to write reports, keep track of counts, and so forth. And I don’t think anyone minds the relatively shorter work days during the Main Event, too.

There were a few interesting moments that came up yesterday, although nothing truly jawdropping. No one wins the Main Event on the first day. Some build big stacks but even that is not yet terribly notable. There is a long way to go.

Thought I would share a few of the more interesting moments along the way from Day 1d.

One occurred just after one of the breaks yesterday as I sat behind my laptop writing up another hand. Near the desk where I worked, tourney officials had positioned the rail in a way that spectators could edge out a little in front of where I sat, and I so I had a few occasionally ask me questions like “Where’s Phil Ivey?” and the like.

In this case a young Asian man for whom English is probably a second language leaned over and asked me a couple of questions about the prize pool. How many players would cash? How much was first place? This was the beginning of the second level, actually, and since registration hadn’t closed, those things had yet to be determined. But I gave him an estimate, saying there would probably be more than 7,000 players (there ended up being 7,319), and that usually the top 10% made the money, so 700-odd players should be cashing.

He then asked about the stack sizes. What was the average? I told him at that point, for those playing Day 1d, it was still probably not a lot more than the 30,000 with which they’d started.

He had more questions, and while I didn’t really have time to keep answering, there was something about his demeanor that made me want to help. He wanted to know what the average was of those who’d finished the first three days. Again, I didn’t have an exact figure, but knowing about 70% of those who started the previous Day 1 flights made it through to Day 2, I estimated the average stack was probably less than 45,000 still.

“What if you have 94,000? Is that good?” Yes, I said. That’s pretty good relative to the field. Then he asked me a question that completely took me by surprise, and kind of explained all of other questions, too.

“Should I play tight?”

Ha! This wasn’t just a curious fan on the rail asking about the machinations of the Main Event. He was a player! I asked and he said he’d played on Day 1a, and so he’ll be coming back for today’s Day 2a.

I didn’t have a straight answer to his last question, saying something about how it probably would depend on his table and what seemed right to do. He was curious about whether he’d be able to make the money with his current stack -- i.e., I suppose thinking about whether he’d already accumulated enough chips to fold his way to the cash. I told him I doubted that, since there’d still be more than 5,000 players left at the start of Day 2.

A memorable exchange, and one that kind of points up the fact that the Main Event, despite its $10,000 price tag, does attract many novices without a lot of tournament experience, including those who -- like my friend on the rail, most likely -- qualified via an inexpensive satellite.

The oldest player in WSOP history, 97-year-old Jack Ury, was in my section yesterday, and I watched him play a bit. Truly remarkable. Though a bit hard of hearing, Ury seems fully cognizant of just about everything going on around him at the table, and he did win some hands, sitting there with more than his starting stack for most of the day.

Another story that stood out a bit yesterday was of the fellow who returned from dinner break and could not remember where he sat. Apparently he was led around the Amazon Room for some time by a tourney official, much like someone who’d forgotten where he’d parked his car, in an effort to locate his seat. Ducky wrote up a post about the incident.

Ante Up!I did want to mention a couple of other more personal highlights from yesterday. One was finally meeting Chris Cosenza of the Ante Up! podcast and magazine.

I saw Chris during the dinner break in the halls interviewing Freddy Deeb, and we ended up speaking afterwards a bit. Was glad to get the chance to thank Chris for the many hours of entertainment he’d given me since the show’s debut way back in 2005, as well as for the chance to participate in that community of listeners that grew up around the show, especially during its first few years.

I also had a quick meeting with another player from Day 1d, a reader who came around right at the end of the dinner break to share some nice words about Hard-Boiled Poker. He mentioned some of the reasons why he liked the blog, which was very nice to hear and much appreciated.

And really, I saw added reason to value his opinion since he clearly knew better than to ask me whether or not he should play tight.

I mentioned yesterday I had a chance this week to interview WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla, and you can now read our conversation over at Betfair Poker. We talked about his getting started with the WSOP back in 2002, the 2010 WSOP so far, the Ladies Event, and the whole business of covering the WSOP. Nolan is a busy guy these days -- as you can imagine -- and I really enjoyed and appreciated our getting to spend some time talking with him about the game we love.

Meanwhile, it is back to the grind today, as I help collect more Main Event anecdotes for PokerNews. Check out the coverage of Day 2a over there today.

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