I had the opportunity to play in a couple of different freeroll tourneys yesterday, the WSOP Media event and the one put on by PokerNews. The Media Event started at noon over at the Rio, while PokerNews one was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the Hard Rock, although it didn’t really get going until after 3. My original plan was to try to play both, which I knew should be possible barring a deep run in the first one.
About 130 started the WSOP Media event. Only the top nine spots won anything, although I wasn’t sure about any of the prizes other than that the winner would get an iPad and there were trophies for the first one out as well as for the top three finishers.
The structure was fast, as is usually the case at these things, although we did start with 10,000 chips and 100/200 blinds. And in fact I felt like I did get to play some postflop poker for the first couple of hours or so, which was a lot of fun. Felt like I played pretty well during that stretch, although I never seemed to build too big of a stack, always hovering around average or a little below.
Got to the first break at which point the field had been cut in half. Then played another hour-and-half and we were down to 30 or so. Finally there came a point about 3 p.m. where I knew I was either going to have to bust right then to make the PokerNews tourney, or double up and try to hang on to the final table.
I’d gotten down to about five big blinds or so and was in middle position when I picked up the hammer, 7-2-offsuit. In went the chips, and I ended up getting one caller who held A-4. I hit a seven and doubled up. “All skill,” I said as I ordered my suddenly comfortable-sized stack. A little later managed a more-than-double-up with pocket sevens, and somehow weaseled my way to the ten-handed final table.
Nolan Dalla and Seth Palansky (both of whom had played) were there and Dalla had each of the final ten say something about themselves in a microphone over the Rio’s PA. One item we were supposed to share was our “goal in life,” which I said was “to try somehow not to bubble this.”
I took a look at the stacks at the table and saw there were only a couple of players with fewer chips than me, one of whom was AlCantHang. The first hand was dealt, and I was in the big blind. A player who had me covered pushed all in from middle position, and it folded to me. I looked down and saw pocket kings and made the call. He tabled A-Q, and my kings held up. Soon the unlucky player whom I’d beaten in that hand was eliminated, and just like that I’d achieved my goal in life.
With only a couple of exceptions here and there, it was pretty much all-in-or-fold poker from that point forward, and while I didn’t get much in the way of cards after those kings, I did stay out of harm’s way long enough to get down to the final three. I was the shorty then, but very nearly made it to heads-up if it weren’t for a lucky river card for one of my opponents. I finally busted with the mighty , though I was ahead until the river on my last hand, too.
I ended up with a gift bag full of t-shirts, caps, and other items (including more Jack Link’s beef jerky), a WSOP chip set, and a trophy. Best of all, though, was the five hours of fun I got to have. Big thanks to the WSOP staff for putting on the sucker.
I then cabbed it over to the Hard Rock. I had missed my chance to play in that one, of course, but nevertheless enjoyed watching them play out the final table. Tim Duckworth took it down, the key hand being one in which he used deuce-four to crush Chip Bitch’s pocket kings. (Poker Grump, take note.)
Rested up a short while after, then it was over to the Palms for the PokerStars party. A tough life, I know.
We got there about 9 p.m. and I enjoyed seeing and hanging out with various folks during the course of the evening. I’d been to this event back in 2008, but skipped it last year when Nelly performed. This year they’d gotten tha Doggfather himself, Snoop Dogg. Just about everyone was pretty hyped to see the iconic figure, even those of us who didn’t know much beyond “What’s My Name” and “Gin & Juice” (if that).
Don’t have time to run down all of the details of the evening, but fun was had by all, fo shizzle. Snoop -- appearing about an hour later than most thought he was to come on -- definitely delivered. (That pic via Pauly, as none of the ones I took came out very well.)
By the time Snoop Dogg came on after midnight, I was with Danafish and Snoopy, both of whom cracked me up time and again. I think Snoopy was forever changed last night after hearing his name chanted repeatedly by hundreds of drunken revelers.
Hopefully everyone got enough rest for today’s Day 3, which promises to be a doozy. Today is when the different flights from the first two days consolidate into one. It looks like a total of 2,557 players from the starting field of 7,319 are still with chips, and all will be there in both the Amazon and Pavilion rooms today. As you follow the action today, stop by PokerNews’ live reporting page where I’ll be helping with the coverage.