Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 WSOP, Day 23: Divided Attention

Worked Day 2 of Event No. 35, the $3,000 pot-limit Omaha tournament that started with 640 runners, saw 137 come back yesterday, and would eventually play down to 19 before play was halted a little before 3 a.m.

Was kind of an interesting scene just as the tourney reached the money bubble with 55 players remaining. Hand-for-hand play had commenced, and as it turned out it would take probably 20 hands or so for another bust to occur. PLO is definitely an action game, but without antes the short stacks can endure folding hands between the blinds for a lot longer, especially when the game is nine-handed.

About halfway through that sequence came the tipoff of Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat. Nearly all 55 of the remaining players and pretty much every one of the reporters and staff as well were interested seeing how the game would play out, and so many were as much attuned to the large screen televisions on either side of the tourney as to the hands being played on the bubble.

During the break many of us assembled in front of one of the TVs, and I took a few pictures, including experimenting a little with the “panorama” setting on the iPhone:

That’s Mike Sexton in the middle with the red jacket. I asked him if he’d bet the game, knowing the answer would yes, and he told me he had a bet on the Spurs to win the series but had put something on Miami for this final game.

I believe the bubble finally burst around halftime, then the game concluded just before the dinner break arrived, meaning players, staff, and reporters all continued to be distracted by the thrilling conclusion that saw Miami prevail.

I was pulling for the Spurs, and in fact threw a twenty on the money line just for kicks as a San Antonio win would give me more than three times my money back. My blogging partner Rich, meanwhile, took the less risky path of betting Miami and giving the points, and he ended up earning a small profit.

It was actually kind of a fun way to experience Game 7. Not as absorbing as watching without working, but still entertaining to be around lots of others whose attentions were divided like mine.

As mentioned, they’d ultimately play down to 19, with Jeff Madsen taking a big lead to carry into today’s final day of play. Among those cashing yesterday was Tom Schneider, his seventh cash already this summer (and we’re just now crossing the halfway mark).

Schneider went out in 60th, but his name was coming up amid table talk much later on as both Will Failla and Sexton sung his praises. The subject of the WSOP Player of the Year race came up again, too, with both of them agreeing they’d prefer the non-Vegas WSOPs not count (and thus Schneider’s stellar summer make him the current leader rather than WSOP APAC winner Daniel Negreanu).

Another player who was being talked about after his exit last night was Phil Hellmuth who finished 26th. That’s because as usual Hellmuth made his customary show of petulance following his bustout, which Rich ended up including in the report of his last hand.

I was working on another post at the time and couldn’t be too bothered to pay much attention to Hellmuth’s antics. I won’t deny that they can be entertaining, even after witnessing them dozens of times before. But these days I find myself thinking more and more how poor they reflect on the all-time leading WSOP bracelet winner.

I’ve mentioned before here on the blog that rumor that has floated around off and on over the last few years regarding Hellmuth perhaps becoming some sort of spokesperson or representative of the WSOP once its online site goes live for real money. I have no idea whether that talk has any basis in reality or not, but I can say I’d be plenty disappointed if such ever were to come to pass.

Never mind Hellmuth’s self-serving, community-destroying, decade-long endorsement of the most thoroughly corrupt online poker site ever, I can think of hundreds of others I’d rather choose to introduce new players to the game.

When the night finally ended, Sexton came around to give me and Rich a “good work today” and wish us good night. I found myself thinking again about Hellmuth and his departure.

Sexton is of course known as the “ambassador of poker,” and the contrast between the two of them couldn’t be greater, in my opinion, as stark as the cheery red of Sexton’s jacket yesterday and the gloomy black of Hellmuth’s. To give my post title another meaning, when it comes to these two players, the attention of one seems always to be on others, while the other’s attention is always on himself alone.

Back at it today, where Rich and I will be seeing this sucker through and report on Day 3 of Event No. 35. Besides Madsen, Scott Clements, Ashton Griffin, Jarred Solomon, Christian Harder, and Sexton are perhaps the best known players remaining, although there are a number of other players of note still in the field including some other former bracelet winners.

Click on by and check it out, if you like, now that there’s no more basketball to distract you.

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1 Comments:

Blogger bug said...

One of the things that struck me watching Hellmuth live at the WSOP this year was his tweets on his play. For instance, I railed him for an hour or so in an Omaha event, where he spent nearly the entire time texting and fiddling with music on his player. Twice during this period he tweeted about how "proud" he was of his play and how he was "fighting so hard" and more things to the effect that if it weren't for luck he'd win them all. On the final hand of this event for PH, he tweeted, "It took a crane, an earth mover, and 100 workers w wheel barrels to knock me out today!" Bart Hanson, who knocked PH out, replied in his own tweet, " I busted you today with A2T9. You should have folded your hand pre not bad luck. AAQ7ss not a good hand to call a 3 bet." Pretty funny stuff. PH would be a terrible spokesman precisely because Phil is all about Phil. Period.

6/22/2013 9:25 AM  

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