Neither time did I feel as though I’d been around the Rio enough really to venture any sort of informed response. I only got to Vegas on Monday, and while I’d stopped by the Amazon Room each day since -- sticking around for much of the day on Wednesday -- I couldn’t really say I’d picked up on any cues to give me any special insight on the matter as of yet.
Yesterday, though, I finally worked a full shift helping cover the sucker for PokerNews, having been assigned to Day 1 of Event No. 40, the $2,500 short-handed limit hold’em event.
The turnout for that one was down a bit from the past few summers, with 302 players entering and 101 surviving to today’s Day 2. Was an event that attracted a lot of top players, with a ton of familiar faces among those competing.
Was kind of a pleasant one to cover given that there was a lot of interesting table talk and humorous moments. That kind of thing that helps considerably as far as live blogging the first day of an event goes, since the business of reporting actual hands and/or tracking fluctuations on the chip counts page have yet to become as vital as they will be during the later stages of the tournament.
Among the posts I was able to write was one about a genuinely intriguing hand that involved Richard Brodie, Millie Shue, and Jerrod Ankenman, delivered under the title “Four Bets, Three Pairs, One Winner.” Related part of a discussion of “transhumanism” between Justin Bonomo and Brian Meinders in “Cards and Contemplations.” And described another hand framed by Humberto Brenes’ sharing sticks of gum with his opponents in “A Humberto Hand to Chew On.”
Near the end of the night I came close to posting again about a conversation between Jeffrey Lisandro and his table regarding the 2006 WSOP Main Event. Lisandro was telling the table the story of the infamous addition of 2 million extra chips with just 21 players left in the ME. (Lisandro ultimately finished 17th.) If you aren’t familiar with that story, check out the series of investigative articles about it by Amy Calistri and Tim Lavalli on the topic written a few months later.
Was very intriguing to hear Lisandro’s take on that situation, but I realized it seemed a little much to share in a live blog, given how complicated the situation was. Suffice it to say, Lisandro wasn’t happy about a couple of his opponents receiving big chip bonuses like that late in such a huge event, and believed it may well have cost him some considerable cabbage given how things played out.
So how was the “vibe” in the Amazon yesterday?
Well, for most of our event the final table of Event No. 36, the $3,000 NLHE Shootout, was happening nearby in the “mothership,” with the rowdy British fans crazily cheering on eventual winner Craig McCorkell for almost the entire duration of our event’s first day of play.
That said, the overall feeling didn’t strike me as nearly so boisterous or excited for those of us outside the “mothership.” My buddy F-Train visited at one point during the night, and he came away tweeting that the entire scene at the Rio struck him as “un-intense,” which seemed to me as good a made-up word as any to describe it.
I’ll refer again to something I mentioned yesterday regarding the lack of media presence, which I think is making things seem a little less urgent or exciting than at past WSOPs.
To be honest, I didn’t really see anyone other than myself and my blogging partner Mickey spending much time at all covering Event No. 40, which I took to indicate that the “scaled back” staffs of most outlets have forced them to let Day 1s go for the most part in favor of covering events once they reach the money and get to final tables. Makes sense. Such is the way of things at present.
Of course, there may be other factors involved, too, here. Like a general sense of fatigue among the so-called “poker economy” following an especially stressful year-plus. Something affecting players, media, staff... everybody.
We’ll see going forward if this apparent lack of intensity continues. I expect events like the $50K Poker Player’s Championship (Event No. 45) that starts Sunday, the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop (Event No. 51) that goes off on July 1, and, of course, the Main Event beginning July 7 will bring out more media. And more hype.
To me, when it comes to the WSOP, a lowkey vibe doesn’t really jibe. But like I say, it probably won’t stay this way for long. Should enjoy the (relative) quiet while it lasts.