Sunday, July 07, 2013

2013 WSOP, Day 39: Nitcast Meet-Up, Shuffling Up and Dealing, and Turtling Up

Super long day yesterday. Ended up over at the Rio for something like 17 hours, working about the last 14 of that helping cover the last preliminary event of the summer, the $10,000 PLO (Event No. 61) over in the Pavilion ballroom, while the Main Event kicked off down the hall in the Amazon.

I went in early yesterday, arriving late morning for an enjoyable gathering of the hosts, some guests, and some listeners of the Thinking Poker podcast at Starbucks -- or, as they dubbed it, the Nitcast Meet-Up. Andrew Brokos and Nate Meyvis who host the show had the idea for the get-together, scheduling it the morning of the Main Event’s first flight so as to increase the chances of more people attending.

Had lots of fun spending more than an hour visiting with those two and meeting others, among them Mike Gentile of Pokerfuse, Nicole “SGT RJ” Rejiester, Russ Fox, Jared Tendler, Leo Wolpert, and Adrienne “Talonchick” Rowsome. There was some strategy talk, but a lot of other “life stuff” discussed as well, not unlike happens on the show. (If anyone’s curious and missed it, I was a guest back on Episode No. 4.)

Several there were readying to play in the Main Event, including Andrew and Nate. Indeed, some of the talk was about which of the three Day 1 flights was best to play both in terms of the relative strength of the fields and the need to plot a strategy that enables one to get the needed rest in preparation for the long grind of a deep run -- something Andrew has managed to do several times and Nate has done as well.

It was just after noon when I left, meaning defending champ Greg Merson had already delivered the announcement to “shuffle up and deal” and sat down at a secondary feature table for the start of this year’s ME. Tim Fiorvanti would spend the day tracking Merson’s progress for BLUFF and delivering a full report on his strong first day that saw him spin his starting stack of 30,000 up to 81,650.

The mood in the Amazon during that first hour seemed fairly reserved. The rails were certainly more crowded with onlookers than during the last few weeks. But there was little fanfare to suggest the tournament was that different from other ones that have been happening in the spacious ballroom, seeming even more spacious with the (relatively) small Day 1a field of 943. Brad Willis and Stephen Bartley are here now and they offered their thoughts throughout the day on the PokerStars blog regarding the fire raging at nearby Mt. Charleston, the day’s relative calm, and the overall lack of weirdos showing up for the Main Event.

That short visit during the first hour of Day 1a was all I’d see of the Main Event yesterday, though, although during the day I’d hear about the fellow managing to get eliminated in the first level after attempting the much-fabled triple check-raise as well as the five-way all-in hand that happened later in the evening. Those stories I’d hear while in the Pavilion covering with the $10K PLO played out from 2 p.m. until about 3 a.m. There are still 32 players left in the sucker, which means Rich and I are likely in for another long one today as we see this one through to the end.

Ended up watching and reporting on NBA star Paul Pierce a few times during the day, which was entertaining at times. (Pierce was eliminated just before dinner and shy of the cash.) Also entertaining was the lengthy period of hand-for-hand play when Jamie Pickering made a couple of surprising folds, turtling up big time to preserve a teeny weeny stack while on the stone bubble.

Pickering called preflop raises a couple of times then folded afterwards and once the blinds passed him again he was down to just 3,000 chips (less than one big blind). A huge crowd gathered on the rail, and Pickering played to them a bit although it was his tablemate Jared Bleznick getting the most laughs as he commented on Pickering’s play.

For me the scene recalled one I seem to recall a lot when at the WSOP, namely that crazy final table back in 2008 that saw Pickering finish runner-up to Vanessa Selbst in the $1,500 PLO event. That’s the one where Pickering had mostly kept quiet throughout the final table, then suddenly began ordering drinks and making pot-sized raises and reraises without looking at his hole cards in an effort to gamble his way to a win versus Selbst.

Here there was again a somewhat raucous rail, but Pickering’s play was in sharp contrast from what I’d seen six years ago, with the him being as loose as one can possibly get then, and as tight as is possible yesterday. Alas for the Aussie, when the big blind reached him again he bubbled in a four-way limped pot that was checked down to the end. That’s Pickering above in the foreground on the right, having already stood and donned his jacket after seeing the uncooperative community cards on his final hand.

Like I say, I’ll be back over on the $10K PLO today, then move over to help with Main Event after that. Kind of a stacked field still left in our event, with players from 12 different countries among the final 32. As always, check over at PokerNews to see how both Event No. 61 and Day 1b of the ME play out today.

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