Monday, June 04, 2012

WSOP Weekend: Beefs, Blunders, and Bloch

Welcome to the RioHad the chance over the weekend to start following the World Series of Poker in earnest and take in all of the various coverage. Just two weeks and I’ll be back in a plane -- not American Airlines, thankfully -- to join the crowd at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to see it all first-hand.

So yeah, I followed the various drama from afar the last couple of days.

Almost a month ago I wrote a short post about the 2012 WSOP rules, noting how a “rule that will likely get some pushback from players is one requiring those at televised feature tables to announce their action verbally.”

Sure enough, there was a lot of that following the first non-glitchy example of a live streamed final table (Event No. 3), with Jon Aguiar in particular taking to Twitter to voice his displeasure. Then, as you might’ve heard, a misguided retweet from the @WSOP account added further fuel to the fire.

If you missed any of that and really want to explore it all, QuadJacks interviewed Aguiar and then later talked to WSOP Communications Director Seth Palansky (the latter having lots of audio problems/technical difficulty).

Actually, the Palansky interview primarily focused on the other controversy of the weekend involving that Event No. 9 “re-entry” tournament in which a few players managed to register more than once on a single day. That was not part of the plan for that event, which was only to allow players busting on Day 1a (Saturday) to buy in a second time on 1b (Sunday).

Knew right away when folks started tweeting yesterday about Will Failla having entered a second time on Sunday that he had to have done so with the mistaken impression that he was allowed to -- after all, the folks at registration clearly weren’t up on things, either. Gonna guess the other instances of players buying back in when they weren’t supposed to were also the result of being unaware of the rules, but who knows, really? Click here to read a full rundown of that snafu over at Bluff.

Rather than delve into either of those controversies, though, I thought I’d write a little today about Andy Bloch breaking through to win his first bracelet in Event No. 7, the $1,500 seven-card stud event, outlasting Barry Greenstein heads-up to win. Found that finish interesting, as it made me think back to having some time ago interviewed both Bloch and Greenstein for PokerNews.

I spoke to Bloch about three years ago, and among the topics we discussed were his two near misses at the WSOP in which he finished runner-up to Chip Reese in the 2006 $50K H.O.R.S.E. and then took second again in the $10K PLH event in 2008 won by Nenad Medic.

Andy BlochI asked Bloch the not-so-original question about what it would mean to him to win one, and after we laughed about it meaning he would stop having to answer the question, he pointed out how he didn’t really feel a lot of pressure in that regard. He pointed out how a lot of his peers were surprised whenever they learned he didn’t have a bracelet already, which suggested to him he already had their respect (since they assumed he’d won one).

Bloch’s WSOP résumé is kind of remarkable, really, what with his having made final tables in seven different games (no-limit hold’em, limit hold’em, pot-limit hold’em, seven-card stud, razz, pot-limit Omaha, and H.O.R.S.E.), just missed final tables in a couple of others (2-7 triple draw and 2-7 NL draw), and now earned over $2.3 million in WSOP cashes.

Talking to CardPlayer after winning his bracelet, Bloch called it a “bittersweet win” given all that has happened post-Black Friday, in particular with the site which he once represented as a member of Team Full Tilt.

Bloch acknowledges “the pain of what a lot of people have gone through this past year,” noting how many have “gone through absolute hell” when it comes to the inaccessibility of funds on FTP. All appropriate to say, I thought, and much better than not commenting at all. Bloch added he hoped there would be “some kind of announcement during the Series” regarding Full Tilt’s future, though was unsure whether or not that would happen.

Like I say, I interviewed Greenstein for PN as well -- also about three years ago -- that one being conducted at the Bellagio in Bobby’s Room while Ivey, Elezra, Brunson, and others were playing at a nearby table. As was the case with Bloch, Greenstein was incredibly generous with his time and we ended up splitting the long interview into two parts: Part One & Part Two.

Greenstein would do another interview with PN earlier this year in which he addressed that awkward situation of his having borrowed $400,000 from Full Tilt Poker as well as his disinclination to pay the money back amid the still-ongoing negotiations between FTP, Groupe Bernard Tapie, and the U.S. Department of Justice. (As we know, that deal -- seemingly doomed from the start -- ultimately fell through about six weeks ago.)

Looking back on those interviews, three years seems like forever ago, doesn’t it? So much has changed. Still appreciate both Bloch and Greenstein having given me the time, and certainly found it intriguing to see the pair heads-up at the end of Event No. 7.

So much drama, and only one week in. Wonder how the next two weeks will go before I finally get out there.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Bob Gilman said...

Not related to this post, but am reading something with a poker sidelight that might interest you: The Autobiography of Big Bill Haywood. Haywood was one of the leaders of the Western Federation of Miners and a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies. He grew up in Salt Lake City and worked in mines in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho. A leading character in strikes in Colorado. One notorious trial for conspiring in the dynamite murder of ex-Governor Steunenberg of Idaho. In 1917 another big trial for conspiracy to sabotage the war effort.

Anyhow, comments sprinked here and there on the saloons in the mining towns in the West and the faro and poker games regularly running in them. Haywood dabbled in the gambling, winning some but losing more, but gambling never a serious issue in his personal life.

6/05/2012 9:28 AM  

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