Saturday, December 07, 2013

Travel Report: Season XII WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Day 1 -- Crab Legs and Christmas Trees

Kind of a whirlwind day yesterday for the kickoff of the World Poker Tour Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic. They played through five 90-minute levels with short breaks between each and no stopping for dinner, which made the day go by quickly.

We got our dinner, though, hitting the Bellagio buffet afterwards where my blogging partner B.J. Nemeth loaded up on crab legs as he said he would be doing all day.

“Why should I get anything else?” asked Nemeth.

We were packed fairly tightly there in the Bellagio poker room, our workstation positioned right next to Bobby’s Room with nearly all of the 36 or so tables being filled at some point with tourney players. We were almost as crowded as those crab legs on B.J.’s plate!

With players busting and re-entering throughout the day there ended up being more than 320 entries all told, although I don’t know how many individual players were actually participating. Chances are we’ll see the total entries go up significantly today through the first three levels when re-entering remains an option. There will be some new faces, too, showing up to start their tourneys today. I know, for instance, that is Phil Hellmuth’s plan.

Found myself throughout the day having flashbacks to earlier visits to the Bellagio and its poker room, including some that came early on when I was just getting started with the blog. Among those visits was one instance when I interviewed Barry Greenstein, and we actually conducted the interview in Bobby’s Room while Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, and others played at the neighboring table.

Was a little starstruck then, I’ll admit, although having been around it all for so long now that feeling has gone away. I did recall it yesterday, though, especially when occasionally peering into Bobby’s Room where Doyle was there again all day along with a few more familiar faces.

Also was reminded of those days thanks to the visit of OhCaptain who got himself a media badge and shot some pictures. Was nice finally to meet him after all of these years blogging alongside one another, and I know he got a kick out of doing the photographer thing.

I’m not even sure Brunson plans to play in the tourney at all, as the games in Bobby’s Room have to be more attractive to him. He did take a break at one point yesterday, though, to go help light the Bellagio’s Christmas tree.

Meanwhile the field was full of familiar folks yesterday, with several well known (and accomplished) players seated around just about every table. The tourney should produce a talented final table, I imagine, and as we move into the next couple of days the play will become more interesting, too, especially after the re-entry period ends.

Gonna break it off here for now as I’m running to meet Jen Newell and Drizztdj, the latter another one of those whom I’ve known for years but never actually met face-to-face. Am grateful for the chance to connect with these folks thanks to the World Poker Blogger Tour having their big get together this weekend (with the WPBT tourney happening today).

Meanwhile you can check over at the WPT site later today to see how Day 2 plays out and who emerges as contenders in this week-long $10K event.

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