That feeling of anticlimax I referred to yesterday was there again last night, particularly since I’d followed the coverage so closely on Saturday and Monday and so mainly found myself just waiting to see which hands would be highlighted. And hoping to see some of those hole cards in a few key hands which we didn’t get to see the first time around.
As I did last year, I took notes as I watched, marking down which of the 262 hands that were played at the final table made the final cut. A total of 24 hands were shown, with one -- Joseph Cheong’s elimination hand -- only being picked up on the turn. Here’s what we saw last night (see the PokerNews blog for full write-ups of each as they happened):
Of the last seven hands shown, four were bustouts, which helped reinforce that feeling I had for the entire two-plus hours that we were rushing through the sucker. And just two hands from the 43-hand heads-up battle were shown, although really there were only a couple of other hands worth presenting there.
Hand No. 3 -- Jarvis raises from EP with and Cheong calls from the button with , eventually pushing Jarvis off hand after rivering a flush. Hand No. 21 -- Racener’s pocket kings beat Dolan’s top pair of queens Hand No. 22 -- Senti raises from the hijack with , Dolan three-bets from the button with , then Mizrachi four-bets from the big blind with , forcing folds from both, Dolan looking a bit nauseous when he does Hand No. 28 -- Nguyen eliminated in 9th with versus Senti’s pocket queens Hand No. 30 -- Candio doubles up with pocket aces versus Duhamel’s A-K Hand No. 38 -- Jarvis loses another hand with pocket jacks when Cheong rivers another club flush Hand No. 43 -- the wild one in which Jarvis is eliminated in 8th with pocket nines versus Mizrachi’s when the Grinder rivers a better full house (and we learn Senti folded a queen!) Hand No. 49 -- Cheong gets randy with and wins a large pot from Duhamel when Cheong makes two pair while Duhamel pairs his ace with A-2 Hand No. 56 -- With no pair and a busted flush draw, Candio bluffs the river with Q-10-suited and gets Mizrachi to fold top pair of kings (and shows the bluff) Hand No. 65 -- Senti doubles through Cheong when four diamonds save his from falling to Cheong’s Hand No. 71 -- Mizrachi four-bets preflop with pocket jacks, forcing both Dolan (with pocket sevens) and Duhamel (with A-K) to fold; not incidentally, we see Racener fold a king and both Candio and Senti fold aces preflop in this one, suggesting Duhamel might’ve been in deep merde had he chosen to fight back here Hand No. 112 -- Duhamel raises with pocket aces and both Racener and Candio call from blinds; the flop comes , and it checks to Duhamel who continuation bets; Racener folds, Candio check-raises all-in with , and Duhamel folds Hand No. 116 -- Senti flops trips with A-K, but is eliminated in 7th when Cheong rivers a straight with pocket tens. Hand No. 129 -- Dolan is eliminated in 6th with versus Duhamel’s pocket fours Hand No. 139 -- Racener doubles through Mizrachi with A-K versus the Grinder’s A-8-suited Hand No. 149 -- Racener doubles again, this time through Duhamel, getting lucky with A-Q versus Duhamel’s A-K Hand No. 150 -- Duhamel doubles through Mizrachi with A-9 versus the Grinder’s pocket treys Hand No. 185 -- Duhamel uses pocket aces to trap Mizrachi after the Grinder flops top pair with , eliminating him in 5th Hand No. 188 -- Candio eliminated in 4th when his can’t catch up to Cheong’s Hand No. 197 -- Cheong three-barrel bluffs from out of position with jack-high, losing a big pot to Duhamel who has A-K and rivers a king Hand No. 213 -- The big one (discussed here), that almost 177 million-chip pot that Cheong loses after six-betting with A-7-offsuit and getting called by Duhamel with Q-Q Hand No. 219 -- now short-stacked, Cheong () eliminated in 3rd by Duhamel (), a hand that is only shown from the turn onward Hand No. 229 -- in the 10th hand of heads-up, Racener unsuccessfully tries a check-raise on the river with fourth pair, but loses to Duhamel’s two pair Hand No. 262 -- Duhamel wins the bracelet when his holds up against Racener’s
The program ran from 10:00 p.m. to 12:05 a.m. Eastern time. Until very recently, it had been scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m., but for whatever reason was bumped back. That change most certainly negatively affected ratings for the show, which reportedly have been down from last year.
You might recall how in 2008 -- the first year of the November Nine -- there were a number of complaints about how that Peter Eastgate-Ivan Demidov heads-up battle that lasted more than 100 hands had been condensed to just two hands shown. It had been necessary that year to abridge the heads-up battle so severely in order to fit the program into the two-hour slot.
So last year ESPN gave an extra half-hour to the WSOP ME final table program. That gave us a chance to see more of Darvin Moon and Joe Cada’s genuinely compelling battle for the bracelet.
Would obviously liked to have seen that extra half-hour included in the show again last night. Not crazy about the move back to 10 p.m., either. But still, stepping back and taking all 32 hours and 5 minutes of 2010 WSOP coverage into consideration, it was certainly an entertaining ride on ESPN for the last 16 Tuesdays.