Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012 WSOP, Day 25: Chasing Dreams

Laptop in flightWoke up this morning from a dream in which I was chasing a little boy around a large yard. He was tossing my laptop around like it was a frisbee. He’d gleefully throw it several yards, chase it down, pick it up, and throw it again. Meanwhile I couldn’t catch up to him, nor could I seem to shout loudly enough to get his attention.

Might be tempting to psychoanalyze this one. You know, to come up with theories about work-related anxiety, self-identity, the creative process, the inner child, what have you. But I think it came mainly from the background image on my desktop, a picture of me and my three-year-old nephew -- not the little demon in my dream -- tossing a ball in his back yard.

Then again, I can’t say for sure what caused the dream. Hey, I’m just a reporter.

Spent a lot of yesterday at the Rio, despite not being officially working. Got there around two o’clock, just as the final table of Event No. 35, the $2,500 mixed hold’em event, was starting. That was the one with Phil Ivey among the final nine, having made his fifth final table of the summer.

They were in the “mothership,” slightly modified from last summer although essentially the same arena-like structure positioned in the center of the Amazon Room. There were quite a few there to watch at the start. The Dutchman Joep van den Bijgaart began the day as chip leader, with Ivey coming in with a relative short stack in seventh position.

I was curious about the odds to bet on those making the final day, a new thing they’ve added over in the Rio Race and Sports Book this year. Here’s what they had for each of the final nine:

1. Joep van den Bijgaart (605,000) -- 3/2
2. Samuel Golbuff (526,000) -- 2/1
3. Michael Gathy (418,000) -- 5/2
4. Erik Cajelais (368,000) -- 3/1
5. Chris Tryba (347,000) - 7/2
6. Salman Behbahani (347,000) -- 5/1
7. Phil Ivey (169,000) -- 5/1
8. Brent Wheeler (158,000) -- 9/1
9. Michael Foti (105,000) -- 12/1

In the sports bookCan’t say any of those bets seemed especially appealing to me. Even as someone with a bit more knowledge than the average punter about some of the players not named Ivey -- e.g., I knew Gathy had won a bracelet this summer, that Cajelais was tough (and a bracelet holder), that van den Bijgaart had been a Team PokerStars Pro -- I didn’t feel like the reward for any of those bets came close to the risk. (What do you think?)

Tryba ended up winning, hitting a straight flush on the last hand versus Cajelais. Van den Bijgaart finished fourth. And Ivey was knocked out in eighth not long after a nutty hand with Golbuff in which the latter claimed most of Ivey’s stack.

It was a couple of hours in, during which stretch Golbuff had sunk down in the counts after having lost a lot in a limit hand versus Tryba. In that one Golbuff had raised preflop, bet the flop, then checked the turn as the board came J-4-4-8. A queen fell on the river, and when Tryba bet Golbuff raised. Tryba tanked, finally calling with K-Q, and Golbuff showed 5h2h.

The game had switched back to no-limit when Ivey -- still with about the same stack he’d started the day with (around 170,000) -- opened with a min-raise from the cutoff, then Golbuff shoved all in from the button for 159,000 or almost 16 big blinds. It folded back and Ivey quickly called, tabling pocket eights. Golbuff then sheepishly showed his 6h2s.

But the board ran out 5c3c2hKs4s, the river giving Golbuff a straight and leaving Ivey with just 11,000 and an open-mouthed look wordlessly indicating “WTF?” All in on the next hand against three opponents, Ivey was soon out the door. As were a lot of those in attendance.

Gonna venture to say my dream was a lot easier to figure out than that one.

Later in the evening I spent a little while over at Day 1 of Event No. 38, one of the $1,500 NLHE events before taking off. Got to assist Josh Bell for a couple of hours as he covered that one, mainly just to get myself reoriented a little before starting back today for real.

Kind of a scaled-back staff this year as far as PokerNews goes, which means the Day 1 coverage can’t be as thorough as in past years. In fact, most of the time only a single blogger is being assigned on these first days, which will be the case for me tonight with Event No. 40, the $2,500 6-max. limit hold’em event.

PokeratiThat same “scaling back” is true for most of the poker media this year, I think. Met up with Dan Michalski of Pokerati yesterday and among the things we chatted about was the relatively empty media box and how things have changed over the years with regard to WSOP coverage.

Dan pointed out how not long ago -- before Twitter, live streams, and so on -- those reporting on the WSOP were delivering information to an audience that couldn’t really receive it any other way.

But now everyone is kind of reporting on themselves (and each other), a phenomenon that is affecting what the media -- already needing to be judicious about resources -- chooses to do with its reporting. I wrote something about this trend three summers ago in a post titled “Land of 1000 Reporters,” well before everyone (it seems) was on Twitter.

Last year this same $2,500 LHE event attracted a relatively small group of 354 players -- a lot for one reporter, but not nearly as daunting as the big field of 2,500-plus Josh was tasked with covering yesterday.

Follow along over on PokerNews’ live reporting page, if you’re curious to see what I come up with as I chase back and forth, trying to catch hands and give an idea what is happening as some stacks go up and others disappear.

Don’t expect it to be too difficult. Unless of course that kid shows up and gets ahold of my laptop.

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