Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2013 WSOP, Day 27: What Does This Stand For?

After six straight days of reporting I’m looking at enjoying a little bit of time off here during mid-week and so am going to try to keep the posts short so as to get the most out of the down time. Vera’s arriving tomorrow, too, for a quick visit, which will help considerably to make the home-away-from-home a lot more homey.

Am moving slow today thanks to a long one yesterday covering the final day of the Event No. 41, the $5,000 short-handed PLO ultimately won by longtime online star Steve “gboro780” Gross. Kind of a first big live win for Gross who’s had some good cashes but no big breakthrough tourney win on the level of a WSOP bracelet event. A nice guy and super talented player, too, so it was fun to see him get there last night.

All of the players at the final table were likable, although the greatest character had to be sixth-place finisher Nader Arfai who was entertaining his tables throughout the tournament. Arfai was on the tight side and probably didn’t stand too great of a chance to get all of the way to the end and win, although weird things happen in PLO events sometimes.

Got the sense it didn’t matter too much to Arfai, though, that he came up a few spots shy of the ultimate goal in this one. He'd gotten more than his money’s worth already, I think.

I’d overheard the 54-year-old telling others more than once how he’d been coming out to the WSOP for several years with an intention to play an event, but always was called away on business and thus never did. Thus this event was the first one he ever managed to play, and he ended up final tabling the sucker. He seemed to be having a blast throughout as well, joking around with players and dealers alike in a way that all seemed to enjoy.

He got a big grin out of Gross at one point yesterday when they were between hands and he pointed down at the felt in front of them. They’d been playing together at that table for some time, seated side-by-side in the 3 and 4 seats. Arfai was drawing an imaginary line along the top of the WSOP logo with the big chip in the middle of it separating the first two letters and the last two. From their perspective the acronym was printed facing upside down, and Arfai was moving his finger back and forth over the “W” and “S” of “WSOP.”

“I’ve been trying to figure this out all day,” he said to Gross. “What does ‘SM’ stand for?”

Gross looked up from the felt at Arfai. “Are you serious?” he said, and when Arfai cracked a grin he immediately realized he wasn’t, and both laughed.

I thought a little while after about someone pointing at the WSOP logo and asking what it stood for -- not literally, but as in what did the World Series of Poker symbolize or represent to him or her. And how depending on the person replying the answer would probably be different in every case.

For Arfai, the WSOP stood for a chance to have fun and do something that absolutely was not business (whatever that was for him). In any case, it’s always fun to see players having fun, and by night’s end there was a significant rail of supporters for several of the players, most especially for Gross, that helped cause more grins and good times. Also cool was to see second-place finisher Salman Behbehani jump in to be part of the crowd behind Gross for his winner’s photo.

That’s a couple of final tables for me now since coming out, both of which involved reporting hand-for-hand coverage, something which PokerNews has gravitated back toward doing in the hold’em and pot-limit Omaha events when circumstances allow for it.

On one level doing hand-for-hand reporting can actually be somewhat fun and even satisfying, especially when the day is done and you’ve helped produce that comprehensive chronicle of everything that happened. But as I’ve discussed here before more than once (most recently here), there are pros and cons, I think.

In any case, like I say, there will be no reporting on hands today. Gonna spend the day looking for some color instead.

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