Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 WSOP, Day 23: Percentages, Points, and Kevmath

Vacation over? Ptthhh.Yesterday was a relatively relaxing one as I mentally prepared myself for the run of workdays to come. Prepared myself physically, too, I suppose. I believe I’m on the schedule to work the next six days straight, and so the time for resting up is nearly over.

Had fun early on yesterday enjoying a visit with Kevmath who happened to have a rare day off. We spent an hour visiting over a late breakfast before he took off to join the daily deepstack madness going on over at the Rio. There are three of those tourneys going off each day, with the big one ($235 buy-in) starting to attract over 1,000 runners again and again. That means over $40K for the winner, one sweet ROI.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve felt like I’ve gotten to know Kevin pretty well already over the last few years. Thus is our finally getting together almost more like reuniting with a friend than getting to know someone new, given the large amount of common reference points we share.

We have some other things in common, too, which we chatted about some over our eggs, bacon, and toast. We both became part of this complicated and interesting world of poker players and writers through somewhat unusual means, and both also found ourselves having created these “characters” through which many know us (“Kevmath” and “Shamus”). Then again, we’ve both been playing those “roles” for such a while they have become a bit part of how others see us. And, I suppose, who we are, too.

KevmathAs Kevin told me about his experience thus far this summer, I was reminded a lot of what it was like for me in 2008 when I covered my first WSOP. As those of you who were reading over here back then know, I was definitely possessed with a kind of “shot-taking” mentality then, not entirely sure how it would all work out but knowing I’d regret it if I didn’t take the chance and see how it did.

Obviously I’m glad I did take the chance back then, and I think Kevin is glad he has, too. I know a lot of the rest of us who are here are glad he did as well.

During the latter part of the afternoon I snuck back over to the Rio for a short stay. Mainly just wanted to reacquaint myself some with a few things in preparation for going into today to help cover Event No. 40, the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em (Six-Handed) event. Met a few new folks and chatted with a couple of others whom I hadn’t seen on Tuesday, including WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla.

I repeated my joke to Nolan about being disappointed they started the sucker without me, and he played along, saying how they’d tried but people just kept coming and would’ve broken down the doors if they hadn’t let them play. That led to a brief conversation about the overall numbers being up this year and how that perhaps has made the staging of the Series even more of a challenge.

We also talked a bit about the latest stat the WSOP issued regarding women’s participation, a topic Jen Newell and I addressed in our “He Said / She Said” column over on Woman Poker Player this week. Through 29 events, just 946 of the 29,421 entrants have been women, about 3.2%. CK, a.k.a. the Black Widow of Poker, points out in a 2+2 thread on the subject that if you leave out Event No. 1, the Casino Employees Event, participation by women in all of the other events is just 2.98%. Nolan expressed a bit of dismay at the fact that the percentages of women playing at the WSOP really hasn’t gone up much since the Moneymaker boom.

I got back to the home-away-from-home and soon after the PokerGrump picked me up and we went for dinner at Bachi Burger, a reprise of a visit we’d made there last summer. From there we joined a group back at the Rio at McFadden’s for a weekly pub trivia contest, which turned out to be a lot of fun. Among those at our table -- and thus, on our team -- were Kate (a.k.a. @caitycaity), David, Cheryl, Bob Lauria, and a couple of others who came and went. It’s a weekly thing for the team, named “Quiz On Quiz Off,” who besides having won weekly prizes is in the running to win the current season.

With seven or eight teams competing, it was a hard-fought contest with three or four teams having a chance to win at by the final round. In fact, as they were announcing the winner at the end, I was almost convinced we hadn’t enough points even to make the top three, although our personal tally was incomplete and thus we weren’t entirely sure. Then came the word -- we'd won, and by a single point! Woot!

The “hand of the day” (as I jokingly called it afterwards) was a question we had missed about a film starring Mickey Rourke in which Bob and I had in improbable fashion collaborated to come up with right answer (Wild Orchid) yet couldn’t summon the collective will to commit to it and write it down. It was a classic example of reading the situation correctly yet being unable to pull the trigger. Thankfully it didn’t cost us, and we were able to do what so many in Vegas strive for but few accomplish -- to walk out as winners.

Got back to the room and did a little work before crashing hard around midnight. Still a bit stuck on Eastern time, as indicated further by my early rising again today. That’ll all change soon enough after a full workday or two walking the floor and live blogging at the Rio. The $5K short-handed event should be a good one, attracting a lot of top pros including the online guys in particular, many of whom are playing as many events as they can this summer with the rolls they’ve been able to cash out from PokerStars.

On that topic, one of my trivia teammates last night, David, works with the Total Rewards folks who issue cards to players entering all of the events, and he mentioned to me how a lot of the online guys are entering 20 or more events. Struck me as an attempt to emulate the sort of volume they would put in online, although obviously the cost (and, presumably, the risk of ruin) is so much higher for them in this context.

I covered this same event back in 2009. Turned out to be one of the more exciting tourneys I’ve ever reported on, in fact, won by Matt “Hoss TBF” Hawrilenko with Josh Brikis finishing second and Faraz Jaka third. Hawrilenko took over $1 million for first prize that year, as 928 entered. Jeffrey Papola won it in 2010 when 568 entered, taking just over $667K for his win.

The vacation is really over, it seems. But I’m rested. And ready.

Head over to PokerNews live reporting today -- and tonight -- to follow all of the action.

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