Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 WSOP, Day 26: Game Shows in the Desert

In the 'mothership' at Event No. 40Last night was my first opportunity to report from the so-called “mothership” -- that outrageously lavish stage and arena that has been constructed there in the center of the Amazon Room for this year’s World Series of Poker.

“It’s like a game show,” said FlipChip to me, waving a hand around for emphasis. Seemed to me as apt a description as one could give to it. I haven’t even seen the full effect yet, with the wrap-around LED lights going off and the fog machine and all of the other bells and whistles they’ve added.

That was about 2:45 a.m. The two of us we were sitting together watching Justin Filtz and Matt Jarvis battling through their third hour of heads-up at Event No. 40, the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em (Six-Handed) event. FlipChip was there to take some winner’s photos, but that wasn’t to be last night.

To the dismay of both players’ groups of fans cheering them on, the tourney was stopped a half-hour or so later at the end of Level 30, which means the pair will be returning today to finish up. It was another instance of the “hard stop” or “ten-level rule” that has been instituted at this year’s WSOP preventing the conclusion of a final table. The 2010 November Niner Jarvis will have a better than 3.5-to-1 chip lead over Filtz when they resume.

It struck me that the stopping of our event just prior to its scheduled climactic moment kind of replicated in miniature what the Main Event has become since the whole “November Nine” idea was instituted in 2008. The drama builds and builds, we get closer and closer to the resolution and final determination of a winner, then we “end” on a cliffhanger.

Fans at Event No. 40It really is a game show. Or, perhaps more accurately, a “reality” show based around some kind of ongoing competition. Come back next week to see who has been eliminated! And don’t forget later, the season finale, when the winner will at last be crowned!

To be honest, I was almost entirely ambivalent about the possibility we wouldn’t see a finish last night, especially after Jarvis survived an all-in late with A-10 versus Filtz’ pocket sevens.

To finish. Not to finish. To borrow the title of my one and only novel... same difference.

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that I’ve seen enough of these suckers through to the end that I’m less invested today in this “hard stop” issue preventing tourneys from being played out. Even so, just as I remain opposed to the November Nine delay as a crazy, artificial disruption of a tournament’s “natural” rhythm (I use that adjective tentatively), I can’t be too enthused about playing most of a final table and then stopping like we did last night.

My partner Rich pointed out to me how as occurs with the November Nine, you can expect some coaching to happen during this unscheduled delay, in this case Justin Filtz possibly getting some advice from Daniel Negreanu.

Negreanu -- who went out at the start of Day 3 to finish in 20th place in this event -- was there last night cheering on Filtz. Of added interest, at one point Negreanu yelled out at Matt Jarvis, who was sporting a Full Tilt Poker logo: “Take off that dirty patch! They don’t pay!”

Anyhow, like the disruption of the tourney’s rhythm, the added opportunities for coaching also seem to compromise the event’s integrity in some fashion. Or at least some might argue that point.

Not me, though. Am not invested enough at the moment, nor have I the energy, anyway. I’m scheduled to be back at the Rio at noon today to help with Day 1 of Event No. 45, the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event. No idea how the heads-up of Event No. 40 will be handled, reporting-wise. Perhaps I’ll get pulled off my event temporarily to take care of that, or someone else will -- we’ll see.

In any case, you can check over at PokerNews live reporting to find out what happens next with this little series of game shows playing out in the Nevada desert which drew us all here.

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