Day 7 at the WSOP Main Event was not as stressful workwise as the previous day, although it was still a very busy day of blogging. I wasn’t out on the floor too terribly much yesterday. In truth, there wasn’t much floor on which to be. There were just nine tables total when we began yesterday. Two were feature tables, and others were covering those, so there were just seven tables secured behind ropes there in the Amazon at noon when the first hands were dealt.
Jean-Robert Bellande went out within a half-hour or so. David Benyamine and Alexander Kostritsyn were gone by dinner. So was Meenakshi Subramaniam. Before play began yesterday, I asked Subramaniam about the spelling of his name (which Harrah’s had slighty off). Had gotten especially adept at saying it by the time of his bust in 67th.
When dinner came there were 42 left and we were all wondering how much longer it would take to get to 27. After we got back, there were only two eliminations during the first hour, and it indeed looked like it would take some time.
Then came an insanely-paced hour in which 11 more went out, leaving just 29 players by the end of the level. Although the blinds were 50,000/100,000 during that level and some of the players who were committing their stacks with hands like A-3 or K-Q were down to 18-20 big blinds, we were still marveling at how ready most seemed to be to gamble.
The reporting got pretty hectic during that stretch, but I think we handled it all okay. Two more went out early in the next level, and when the last one (Bryn Kenney) hit the rail in 28th, there was a huge roar from the players, spectators, and the media, too.
Shortly after play ended, I happened to meet and talk briefly with Sam Chauhan, the much-talked-about poker coach who has helped players like David Williams, Gavin Smith, Josh Arieh, and others. We talked about his client, Hasan Habib, who successfully managed to nurse a very short stack all of the way to Day 8.
Chauhan described to me a big fold Habib had made with pocket sevens against what turned out to be pocket kings, a fold made when Habib was down to just five big blinds. I agreed with Chauhan that Habib had distinguished himself from many of the other players last night by demonstrating such patience. Although I only spoke to him briefly, Chauhan did seem like a very friendly guy and good communicator.
I said my goodbyes to everyone, then left the Rio for the last time this summer. I’ve written before about this day of departing and the various emotions it evokes. Of all three summers working at the WSOP, I must admit I’ve never been so ready to get back home. Still, I do have a lot of strong feelings about working with and alongside these people whom I respect and whose support I appreciate. Truly a special bunch.
In fact, when saying goodbye, I found myself saying “Thanks for being here” a lot to people, trying to convey the fact that the journey was made less arduous and more manageable thanks to their help and friendship. I hope those to whom I said that understood my meaning.
All in all an exciting penultimate day of poker, although perhaps not quite as exciting as last year. Will likely be the case again today -- that is, some buzz but probably not quite what was generated during Day 8 in 2009. Michael Mizrachi’s presence among the final 27 will garner some attention today. Scott Clements being there will, too. Still, I can’t imagine the hype being quite what we had with Phil Ivey being there last year. I’m going to guess play moves relatively quickly again today, too, although probably not quite as rapidly as what we saw last year.
I’ll be checking in over at PokerNews today to see how things play out, of course. And I’ll check back in over here tomorrow for one last WSOP report. Meanwhile, I need to figure out how to get all of this stuff I have scattered around this room back into my bags and then get over to McCarran.
Was another interesting adventure, to be sure. Time to go home, though. See you on the other side.