Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2008 WSOP, Day 26: Cowboy Hats, Cigars, and Draw Poker

Draw Poker“Hello?”

Heard from the neighboring stall in the men’s room. Is someone trying to communicate with me somehow? If so, I’m not answering.

“Still in. Yea there’s like five hunnerd still in outta two thousand two hunnerd. They ain’t updated it in a while. Last it says is six-oh-two. But there’s less than that there’s five hunnerd I know it is.”

Ah. The seniors are on dinner break. “I dunno if those guys from Texas er still in or what. Gonna be callin’ Hot Rod in a minute to find out if he still is. I got eighteen hunnerd, six times what I started.”

(Apologies to Dr. Pauly for reporting from the Rio bathrooms. I should probably insert a joke here about him marking that territory.)

Was back in the Brasilia yesterday for Day 2 of Event No. 40, the $2,500 Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) event. Our last thirty players were lined up on the front row of the room, while most of the other sixty or so tables were filled with those playing in Event No. 42, the $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em World Championship. Unlike our event, which began with just 30 players on five tables, the Seniors event began with 2,218 entrants, sent all over the Rio. (They played all of the way down to 220 before quitting last night.)

A semi-curious scene, seeing all those old guys coming and going from our station in the front corner of the Brasilia. Lots of cowboy hats and unlit cigars. Seemed like a good number of them weren’t there alone, but with a buddy or maybe five. Have to guess the Seniors Event is a kind of vacation destination for a lot of retirees. The wives go shopping, the old fellers play the tourney, and in between some of the husbands call their wives from bathroom stalls.

I heard over in the Amazon they did a “stand-up-if-yr-over-this-many” to find out who was the oldest to have entered. A 91-year-old fella was the last man standing. I know some want to argue away events like the Seniors event, but there seem to me to be a lot of reasons to keep the sucker.

Our event dragged on a bit longer than we’d hoped, though we were outta there by 10:30 p.m. -- a very short day by our usual standards -- so I surely ain’t complainin’. The coverage was fairly comprehensive (I thought). We had extra reporters on hand and thus more eyes to keep track of hands and the ever-fluctuating chip counts. Kind of liked seeing Billy Baxter, a guy who’s been eligible for the Seniors Event for at least a couple of decades, surge from practically nothing to the chip lead early in the day.

Billy BaxterBaxter has a whopping seven WSOP bracelets dating back to the mid-70s, every single one of which came in lowball games (deuce-to-seven, ace-to-five, and razz). At one point during the day we came around to count his chips and Greg Raymer quipped that we should just add up all the chips in play and give them to Baxter, ’cos he was going to be getting them eventually anyway.

On another occasion earlier on, I was standing there with the reporter and kind of idly looking at Baxter’s chips, doing a little mental arithmetic. He caught my eye, and said “Seventy-seven” (he had 77,000 at that point). I gave him a thumbs up in thanks.

Sitting at our table yesterday, F-Train and I experienced that phenomenon I described to you last week when Change100 and I were at that front table in the Brasilia Room. Somehow everyone seems to think whoever is stationed there is a provider of information for all manner of activities in the Rio. F-Train made the sign this time: “ALL QUESTIONS: $20.” Actually elicited a lot of laughs, though no cabbage.

Final table should be interesting enough. Baxter didn’t make it, but David Sklansky did (barely). I’m sure we won’t be on the main stage. The WSOP has already made it clear that in their view “draw poker of any kind is a difficult sell for both viewers and spectators.”

That’s what was stated in their press release from two weeks ago when addressing the mini-controversy surrounding the decision not to televise or even have played on the main stage the star-studded final table of Event No. 18, the $5,000 Deuce-to-Seven Single Draw w/rebuys event. You remember, the one with Jeff Lisandro, Mike Matusow, Tom Schneider, Erick Lindgren, Barry Greenstein, Tony G, and David Benyamine.

I ain’t gonna weigh in on the pros and cons here too deeply. Draw is a different animal, no doubt, though I frankly don’t see why they couldn’t show it on ESPN360, where only the poker junkies are watching anyhow. Could really be interesting for that crowd with a Daniel Negreanu or Mike Caro or some other draw-poker-playin’ pro offering some words of wisdom along the way. Hell, they could get Billy Baxter, now. He’d be terrific, I’d bet.

Am getting two whole days off after today, thanks to some very thoughtful, very cool schedule-jugglin’ by the PokerNews guys. Not really sure what Vera and I will do Wednesday, but whatever it is it will be fun. Then on Thursday is the Love show.

By the way, the plan right now is to try to post Episode No. 5 of the Hard-Boiled Poker Radio Show later on today. Will keep you updated.

And I promise not to do so during my next bathroom break.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Really enjoyed your coverage yesterday of the 2-7 final table - commentaries like the one early in the day where you described Phan feigning a move for his chips and Ponzio not reacting is money, and adds so much substance and color to the coverage. Also enjoyed all of the education included, in a game that at first glance doesn't make a whole lot of sense to a lot of people.

Enjoy your days off, poolside or inside out of the heat.

6/25/2008 10:45 AM  

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