Tuesday, July 02, 2013

2013 WSOP, Day 34: Motoring Through

Have to admit I’m running just a sliver above empty at the moment in terms of mental fuel, having just completed another sequence of several days of work in a row and finally landed on what I think might be my last day off this summer today. So I’m afraid I’ll again have to keep today’s update short as I’m not sure the engine in my head can motor all of the way through something longer and of greater depth.

Yesterday I was back on Event No. 55, the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship, which ultimately ended up drawing a bigger than expected field of 132. I sincerely thought the turnout might be down from last year’s 108 given the fact that both the $111,111 buy-in One Drop High Rollers event and the $25K NLHE 6-max. had just completed in the days leading up to the PPC. But such was not the case.

They played down to 78 players last night in this deep-structured tourney. I was working with Donnie and Chad yesterday, and at one point Donnie noted how the tournament is especially fun to cover given the fact that there isn’t this rush toward the final table that marks even the large-field, lower buy-in events. There’s a lot of play early, but there’s a lot on the line, too, as only the top 16 make the cash.

It’s almost as if the “bubble” in the event begins relatively soon after the tournament starts. There are several levels early on where one could reasonably say the tourney plays like a deep-stacked cash game. They start with 150,000 chips and tiny blinds and limits, so the threat of elimination on Day 1 isn’t really that great and there were very few instances of players being all in and at risk. Indeed, only a handful of players failed to survive Day 1.

But once we got about halfway through Day 2, there were numerous players who had gotten short enough that even the limit games presented situations where they could find themselves all in by the end of a hand. That said, since the game isn’t strictly no-limit even those with the super short stacks had legitimate opportunities to work their way back into the mix and avoid elimination -- i.e., they could find spots in which their risk was less and not necessarily have to rely on winning a few flips in a row to double up multiple times and get back to a workable stack.

So like I say, it’s a little like they’re on the bubble from about 100 players all of the way down to 16, if that makes sense. If it doesn’t, then let me refer back to the fact that I’m running on fumes at the moment, intellect-wise.

John Juanda provides the most ready example of what I’m referring to from yesterday, having slipped all of the way down to less than 4,000 (not even a single big bet) at one point after dinner, yet somehow worked himself back up over 120,000 with less than an hour to go, then doubled that before night’s end to be sitting with an average stack.

The highlight of Day 2, though, was Doyle Brunson’s survival in a late-night situation that saw him all in a NLHE hand with pocket jacks on a 10-3-9 board versus Cole South’s set of treys, then the turn and river bringing two more tens to enable Tex Dolly to survive. Kind of reminded me a little of Brunson’s “miracle” stories with regard to his health and survival from over the years such as are included in his autobiography. He returns today to a stack of 265,000, which is just a little above the average as well.

Like I say, I’m off today and in fact won’t be rejoining the $50K coverage when I return, as I’ll be moving over to a couple more non-hold’em tourneys (2-7 Triple Draw and more PLO) before the Main Event event arrives. But I will be checking in over at PokerNews to see how things continue to play out in the PPC, including keeping an eye on how Brunson fares.

Okay, need to sign off and get a little rest so as to refuel for this final push. In fact, this talk of running low on fuel reminds me that the rental car is also in need of a fill-up. That’ll have to be a first order of business today, as the consequences of being stranded on the side of the road with an empty tank amid these 115-plus degree days could be especially dire.

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