Sunday, July 01, 2012

2012 WSOP, Day 35: Waiting for the Big One to Drop

The tourney clock for the Ladies EventDay 2 of the ladies event moved quickly yesterday, with the field shrinking from 117 down to the final nine even before they reached the end of the scheduled 10 one-hour levels. There is a picture of the tourney clock from just before the start of play yesterday, in pink.

Sarah Grant of PokerNews made the money -- kind of neat as it was her first ever WSOP tournament. There were a few other notables who lasted longer but not quite to the final table, including last year’s winner Marsha Wolak, Lisa Parsons, J.J. Liu, Erica Schoenberg, Stacey Lynn Nutini, Leo Margets, and Jamie Kerstetter.

The two men who made the money each busted relatively early on Saturday, earning close-to-minimum cashes. In other words, not nearly enough to buy a condo. There was a little bit of applause when the first one busted (the one referred to in yesterday’s post), and no reaction at all when the second one did. As I suggested yesterday, I was glad neither became a bigger part of the story of the tournament.

Was again kind of a skeleton crew working on the event, although I think we came a little closer to “covering” it. I was the only writer, although I did have my buddy Matt there to field report and he was incredibly helpful. The photographers were excellent as usual, too.

I’ll be back on that one today to see it through, although am well aware I’ll be writing for a very small audience today as most eyes will understandably be on Event No. 55, the $1 million buy-in “Big One for One Drop” that finally kicks off at 1:11 p.m. Vegas time.

They ended up reaching the 48-player cap for the sucker. That means with $111,111 taken out of each entry to be donated to the One Drop charity, the total prize pool will be $42,666,672. By comparison, the $10,000 buy-in Main Event in which 6,000 or more will play will probably have a prize pool of about $65 million. Also, that ME prize pool will be divided among 600-700 players, while this one will be split by just nine.

The top nine finishers will divide the cash according to the following schedule:

1st: $18,346,673
2nd: $10,112,001
3rd: $4,352,000
4th: $2,645,333
5th: $1,834,666
6th: $1,621,333
7th: $1,408,000
8th: $1,237,333
9th: $1,109,333

The final list of players who are participating has been released. Looks like 26 of the 48 are described as “professional poker players,” with a few others (Bobby Baldwin, Dan Shak, Haralabos Voulgaris) who could be thrown into the group, too. In other words, it looks like about two-thirds of the field come from the poker world, while the other third are comprised of those first identified as “businessmen,” “CEOs,” “owners,” and so forth. Comparing how the pros ultimately do versus the amateurs will make for some interesting skill-vs.-luck fodder, I imagine.

The Big One for One DropIt’s a three-day event. I haven’t really studied the structure sheet too much, although it appears to be set up to run more or less at the same speed as any other three-day event, with the average stack probably being around 40 big blinds or so once they make the final table.

Of course, all sense of proportion is being obliterated here, and I’m not just referring to the 3 million chips with which players will start.

I have written before about how hard it is for most of us to relate to so-called “high roller” tourneys. The buzz surrounding them is mostly made of wonder and awe at all the zeroes in the figures representing the buy-ins and prizes. That is to say, there is usually not too much focus on the actual poker being played, although there is a lot of curiosity about who will emerge as the big winner.

Heck, the buzz yesterday surrounding the $25K satellite that saw Gus Hansen win a seat, Shaun Deeb winning $1 million for second, and Jason Somerville $400,000 for third was enough to overwhelm the Rio, and I imagine that’ll only be more evident today, Monday, and Tuesday.

As I say, I’ll be on the ladies event again today. I’ve also been assigned to cover a different event tomorrow. Despite doing the reporting thing for a while, I’m basically second-string or a “sixth man” on the team here, and I’m fine with that role. And since I am on other events, I won’t be able to follow much of what’s happening with the Big One for the next couple of days. The nature of the assignments necessarily forces a kind of tunnel vision, the concentration on the tourney at hand making it hard to give much attention to anything else.

But I do finally get a day off on Tuesday, and so might just have to head over to the Amazon, if only to check out the fancy stage they’ve been building behind the curtains for the last few days. And perhaps to find out what it looks like when someone wins $18 million-plus in a poker tournament.

I’m guessing it’ll probably look the same as most tourneys. But it won’t be. It can’t be.

The winner of the ladies event today will earn $170,587 -- a smaller first-place prize than most events, although larger than some. Compared to the $18,346,673 going to the winner of Event No. 55, well, that’s just a drop in the bucket.

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