Friday, August 17, 2012

Revisiting Selbst vs. Lamb, 2012 WSOP ME, Day 3

Vanessa Selbst and Ben Lamb play a tense hand on Day 3 of the 2012 WSOP Main EventThis week ESPN began airing its coverage of the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event. Like last year, they are picking things up on Day 3 after the entire field finally combined.

Unlike last year, there was no “almost live” coverage of the WSOP back in July, so these shows that will be aired every Tuesday night through late October present the first opportunity for viewers to see anything from this year’s Main Event.

I’m somewhat intrigued to watch this time around, in part because I was there helping cover the ME for PokerNews every day from Day 3 onward. As you might imagine, when I watch I’m often searching the backgrounds for familiar faces -- and perhaps even my own.

I’m also keeping a lookout for hands I might have seen and even reported on, too. That was pretty unlikely to happen this week, given how most of the coverage centered on those two feature tables, neither of which I was covering. And with nearly 200 tables’ worth of players starting Day 3, the chances I’d be standing next to one and seeing a hand that ESPN both shot and thought worthy of including were pretty minimal.

But it happened. There was one hand featured on Tuesday’s show that I not only saw but reported on, too. It involved Vanessa Selbst and Ben Lamb who happened to be seated right next to each other to begin Day 3.

They weren’t at a feature table, but were at one of three other tables that had been separated for easier access for the cameras. In other words, the odds of a hand being shown from one of those tables were a little higher, generally speaking. But the chance that I would actually be over there at the exact moment one of those hands took place was pretty damn slim, as I was stationed way over on the other side of the Amazon Room that day and only got over there a couple of times early on before another reporter took over covering that section.

If you watched the coverage on Tuesday, you might remember the hand. ESPN only picked up the action on the river. Selbst, playing from the small blind, had led with a bet, Lamb had raised on the button, then Selbst was shown pushing out a big reraise. ESPN shows Lamb smile briefly at the sight of the reraise, think for what appears to be just a few seconds, then fold.

The board was 7s2s6c5s5h. Selbst had Ah7h for sevens and fives, while Lamb had JsTs for a spade flush. Thus when we watch on ESPN we see that Selbst forced Lamb to fold the best hand.

Like I say, I watched the hand live and reported on it for PokerNews. I even mention in that hand report that it might be a hand worth showing on ESPN. My report of the hand begins with the preflop action, and thus spells out how Lamb had opened preflop from the button and Selbst had just called. Selbst also check-called the flop after making top pair-top kicker. Selbst then led the turn after that third spade hit, and Lamb just called.

My report also mentions how much time the players were taking before acting, with Selbst taking a couple of minutes before making that reraise on the river and Lamb’s final tank-and-fold having lasted over three minutes. It was a tense one to witness, and I’m a bit amazed now to learn what both players were holding. Indeed, I'm kind of marveling over both Selbst’s river reraise and Lamb’s fold.

If you’re curious to compare my hand report and what was shown on ESPN, read here, then check out the coverage starting at the 12:20 mark of this video. (The latter link goes to the timestamp.)

By the way, one thing you won’t see in the clip is your humble reporter, who was dutifully staying out of the shots.

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