Sunday, March 10, 2013

Travel Report: 2012-13 WSOP-C Caesars Atlantic City Main Event, Day 1 -- If This Were Yesterday, What Time Would It Be Now?

As the clock turned two this morning -- and then, in a flash, turned again to three -- I turned to WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla.

“I’d like to suggest a moment of silence for the loss of that hour,” I said. He shook his head and chuckled. A long day behind the laptops was finally coming to an end.

We’re both here at Caesars Atlantic City to cover the World Series of Poker Circuit. He’s been here the last 10 days or so, actually, as he’s covering all 12 events for the WSOP blog. Meanwhile I am here for the three-day Main Event which had gotten underway Saturday way back at 11 a.m.

Play had only just concluded -- 15 hours after the first hands of the day were dealt -- and there was still more work to do before we could call it a night. And like a rude postscript to the day, we’d suddenly leaped forward yet another hour deeper into the evening. Meaning, of course, we were already one hour closer to the start of Day 2 and another long work day.

I’d noticed earlier in the week this was to be the weekend that Daylight Savings Time was to be begin. I think we always miss that hour somewhat, but I knew already I’d be missing it even more given my assignment this weekend.

As I continued to tidy up some loose ends and prepared to pack up my stuff and head up to my room, I thought of a question Vera asked me a few years ago on the day after we’d sprung forward.

If this were yesterday what time what it be now?

I also remembered two years ago when I came to cover this same WSOP-C Main Event at Caesars. It was the same weekend, with Daylight Savings Time again kicking in. In that instance, the tournament had begun on Friday, so we were at the end of Day 2 when the time change occurred.

Twenty-odd players remained, I recall, and some fairly hilarious confusion began to circulate among the three remaining tables as players struggled to figure out exactly what time it really was. No one seemed to know for sure if the clocks were to be moved forward or back, and looking back at the post I wrote the next morning I think the so-called “smart phones” didn’t used to be as smart two years ago when it came to automatically adjusting the time.

As we closed in on the end of play last night, announcements were made noting the time change, the reminders designed to prevent anyone from missing today’s noon start. And while there were a few follow-up questions, the message seemed to be readily understood by all.

As was the case at the WSOP-C Harrah’s AC event I helped cover in December, this event featured two Day 1 flights in a single day, comprised of nine 40-minute levels each. Players busting during “Day 1a” had an option to re-enter the evening “Day 1b” session. Also, anyone eliminated only a single time on Saturday still can buy in a second time before the start of play today, and while it is doubtful there will be too many taking that option those that do will still get to start with a stack of 25 big blinds.

Though arduously lengthy, the day went relatively smoothly, and I enjoyed working alongside Kevin (my PokerNews blogging partner) and Nolan again. Not too many so-called “big names” among the 519 total entries yesterday. Steve Dannenmann, Christian Harder, and Matt Glantz were probably the best known of the bunch. Dannenmann didn’t make it through to today, having busted in both flights, but Glantz and Harder both did.

Another “big name” (especially around here) was Roland Israelashvili, and I’m not just talking about the number of letters in his name. Israelashvili took 25th in last summer’s WSOP Main Event, gaining him some notice. But here in Atlantic City everyone knows Roland. After all, he final tabled this same event the last three years in a row, including winning it back in 2010. But like Dannenmann, he, too, would bust twice yesterday to end his WSOP-C run prematurely.

Had a few funny exchanges with players throughout the day, something I’ve mentioned before is always more likely to occur at these Circuit events than at the relatively more series WSOP bracelet events in Vegas. Probably my favorite happened when I was hovering near the table of Christopher Leong who has managed to win two of the preliminary tournaments here this week, thus giving him a shot at winning an unprecedented three WSOP-C gold rings at a single stop.

Players at the table noticed my presence, then began wondering aloud which among them might be the reason for my being there to watch them play early level hands. One joked that he was “paulgees” -- i.e., the New Jersey-based player Paul Volpe, who I do remember playing in this event two years ago. Volpe, of course, has been busy on the other side of the country this week where he has been making consecutive final tables at World Poker Tour events in California (at Bay 101 Shooting Stars and the L.A. Poker Classic). Some might remember him as well for having like Israelashvili made a deep run at the 2012 WSOP Main Event where he finished 20th.

Finally the conversation at the table began to focus on Leong, whom some suspected had in fact done something of note during the week. "Is it really true he won two rings this week?" one of his opponents asked of me, and I just smiled and shrugged as Leong sat silently. “It's okay,” the player continued. “You won't be giving anything away. He’s wearing the rings!”

Everyone laughed, including myself. Leong wasn’t wearing the rings, of course, but the jig was up nevertheless. He did manage to survive the day, albeit with a short stack, so chances are I might be hovering near his table some more at the start of play today.

It’s a tough schedule, no doubt, although I suppose things get balanced out a bit thanks to the ease of traveling to relatively close destinations like AC. The accommodations are nice enough here, too, and staying on site always makes it easier by shortening those trips back and forth to bed.

I’m not even sure what the schedule entails today, but I know for sure it’s going to be another long one. Looking back at two years ago when the event was not a re-entry and players played longer on Day 1, I’m seeing how we had 81 work their way down to a final table of nine on Day 2. That obviously ain’t happening today, as there still a whopping 268 left. Gonna assume we’ll get it down around 20 or so, thus probably setting up another long one on Monday to settle it.

At least we know we won’t be losing another hour tonight.

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