Tuesday, June 19, 2012

2012 WSOP, Day 23: “Everybody Hang On!!!”

Phil Ivey busts out in fifth at Event No. 32 at the 2012 WSOPHad to use all my fingers and toes and then start over to figure out what day yesterday was for the 2012 World Series of Poker. Like last summer, I’m jumping in a few weeks after the start and will be in Las Vegas until the Main Event has wound down to the November Nine on Monday, July 16.

Arrived on kind of an interesting day, in fact, with some noteworthy finishes happening in three different events. Also walked in on a final table featuring both of the Phils -- Ivey and Hellmuth. That picture is from when Ivey was eliminated in fifth place in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. event (more on that below).

In stark contrast to my last bit of air travel, my flights to Vegas were smooth and on time. I connected in Minneapolis, then the three-hour flight to LV provided a few items of interest.

Most notable was the fellow in the row behind me, who thanks to having consumed a prodigious number of Long Island iced teas before boarding had already crossed over into the sort of babbling, erratic, slightly scary zone of inebriation to have gained the notice of flight attendants. Even before all had boarded, they were reseating people so as to give him space for his potential antics. (Mental note: If you prefer a full row to yourself, get blotto before boarding.)

As we began to taxi Mr. Drinky engaged a nearby ten-year-old in an animated conversation about Vegas. “You’re gonna love it!” he assured the boy. He then began blurting out numbers seemingly at random, a drunken parody of a countdown I assumed. Then, as the plane hurtled down the runway and we titled skywards, he suddenly screamed...

“EVERYBODY HANG ON!!!”

And we did.

Thankfully he passed out shortly thereafter, and we didn’t hear from him again until we landed. At which point a much-refreshed Mr. Drinky reported to us all with sincere incredulity “I don’t even remember getting on this plane.” As if that were news.

My seat mates were two middle-aged sisters from South Dakota who were heading for a week’s vacation in LV. The one next to me was friendly and chatty, and within two minutes of buckling had already explained to me how she’d broken three bones in her wrist trying to toss a dead rabbit her four-pound Maltese had dragged to her door.

Slipped and fell, it seemed, thus resulting in a cast, a supply of Vicodin, and a future surgery date. I ventured that since it’s hard to get much practice tossing dead rabbits, injuries were more likely to occur. But she didn’t really notice my attempt at joke-making, instead continuing her monologue until I finally had to pull out my headphones.

That didn’t stop her from repeated offers of licorice sticks and questions about what I was listening to. No thanks, I said. And no thanks. And Ween, Chocolate and Cheese. She seemed fairly baffled by all three answers.

BJ's Pocket Guide to the 2012 WSOPLanded around 7 p.m. Vegas time, was checked in by 8, then got over to the Rio by around 9 to reunite with several friends, including Seth Palansky and Alan Fowler (of the WSOP), Jess Welman (now also of the WSOP), AlCantHang, Alex (a.k.a. “The Chip Bitch”), and B.J. Nemeth. From the latter scored myself a copy of the much-coveted “BJ’s Pocket Guide to the 2012 WSOP,” which I’ve already found myself consulting a couple of times.

Also caught up with PokerNews buds Donnie, Chad, and Rich, and got to meet and visit with Lee “chingster23” Davy who is also working with PN this year. And before leaving I chatted some as well with Marco and Zack of QuadJacks.

As I mentioned, I happened to arrive in time to see some of that $10K H.O.R.S.E. final table (Event No. 32). They were five-handed, with John Monnette leading and Ivey on the short stack. Ivey would soon bust, followed by Hellmuth shortly thereafter. Then David “Bakes” Baker chipped up, survived Paul Sokoloff’s elimination in third, then beat Monnette to win his second WSOP bracelet.

I remember Bakes’ first bracelet quite well, won in 2010 in another event featuring a super-tough field, the $10K 2-7 NL draw. I wrote about that one here at the time, once asking if it might be called “The Real Tournament of Champions?” thanks to the much-decorated field. Baker’s definitely established himself as a top tier player with these two wins.

There were a couple of other notable victories at the WSOP yesterday. Carter Phillips took Event No. 31, the $1,500 no-limit hold’em event. Phillips lives in Charlotte, NC, which just happens to be where Baker is originally from, too. And where a certain “Poker in American Film and Culture” class is taught. Clearly a great place to learn about poker.

The stage in the Pavilion room at the WSOPAnd Allyn Jaffrey Shulman won Event No. 29, the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship, outlasting Dennis Phillips heads-up and an enormous 4,100-plus player field to do so. That’s the first time a woman has won an event other than the ladies event since Vanessa Selbst’s $1,500 pot-limit Omaha victory in 2008. As I’ve written about here before, I helped cover that event back in ’08, and so remember than Shulman was in fact the last woman eliminated in that event (she finished 41st), leaving only Selbst to defeat the other 39 and win the bracelet.

Looking at a “taking care of business” day for me today as I settle in to the home-away-from-home. Might venture over to the MGM to jump in a low buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tourney tonight, joining our buddy Kevmath who is also making a late arrival to Vegas today. Have a little bit of space here, schedule-wise, before things take off in earnest for me later in the week, and so might take advantage.

Won’t be a lot of time for playing after that, though, once the reporting ride begins. Will be too busy hanging on.

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