Sunday, July 10, 2011

2011 WSOP, Day 40: The Utility Player

“You’re a utility player.”

So said Absinthe to me late last night after I’d explained to him the various things I’ve been doing as a freelancer over the last few years. Finally got to meet the fellow blogger at an impromptu post-Day 1c gathering of various folks and I enjoyed our brief visit.

In fact, I’d spent most of Day 1c fulfilling that “utility player” role in the Amazon Room, mostly stationed in a couple of different sections but also moving around some to report on the two feature tables as well as picking up odd stories or hands elsewhere throughout the day. Basically just tried to go where I was needed, filling gaps and backing up others.

Was a crazy day with a whopping 2,181 players coming out to play, and it sounds like today will be even crazier. ESPN’s Andrew Feldman told me yesterday he thinks the ME total will get to 7,000, a figure that seemed way out of reach just a couple of days ago. We’ll see.

In fact, the start of Day 1d is approaching fast, so I haven’t much time for scribbling. So I’ll just share two quick anecdotes from the very beginning and very end of Day 1c.

Walking into the Rio I found myself in stride with a gentleman who introduced himself to me, saying it looked as though we were headed in the same direction. “Are you playing?” I asked him. “I hope so,” he said, explaning he hoped to find himself at a table where he could feel comfortable enough to get involved and play his game.

After chatting a bit I learned his name -- Dave Moyses -- and that he was playing in the Main Event after having cashed in the Seniors event a couple of weeks back (he finished 37th there). He told me his goal yesterday was to get to 90,000. When I told him the average end-of-day stacks are usually about half that, he said maybe he’d revise his goal, but I told him not to -- better to shoot higher, I suggested.

He ended up over in the Pavilion, while I spent the day in the Amazon. I see from the official counts that he did make it through to Day 2, although with about 21,275.

While the day started with my meeting someone new, it ended with a reunion of sorts as I came upon a wild hand involving our buddy Mike Johnson, co-host of the terrific Two Plus Two Pokercast. I don’t know what Mike’s goal was yesterday, but he had in fact reached that 90,000-chip mark that Dave had mentioned late in the day.

Then, in one of the very last hands of the night, Mike suffered a brutal beat to lose a 110,000-chip pot and end the day with about 39,000. Was one of those where he’d played the hand about as well as it could’ve been played, then his opponent hit a two-outer on the river to steal the huge pot away. I’ve been writing these “WSOP Hand of the Day” posts for Betfair Poker, and chose to highlight Johnson’s hand from yesterday for today’s post, if you want further details.

As I’ve already talked about some this week, it’s never fun to see a friend lose a hand, let alone suffer a beat as bad as this one was. But then again, even though I find myself at times identifying with players and being acutely aware of the emotional ups and downs they experience, when I’m reporting I’m also kind of weirdly shielded from all that.

I mean, I’m not playing. Nor am I really all that invested in seeing this or that person win or lose. I’m just filling a small role there -- observing, chronicling. Trying to fill in gaps in the hopelessly incomplete narrative of the tourney that me and hundreds of others writing for all of these different outlets are together constructing. And while it can be frustrating sometimes, it is certainly fun to take part.

Okay, heading back over now. Where? I don’t know. Just put me somewhere.

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