Sunday, July 06, 2008

2008 WSOP, Day 37: Pop Stars, Sexual Puns, and Magic Swords

“I have a bone to pick with you.”

Said Michele Lewis to yr humble gumshoe, sometime late in Day 1c at the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Michele is a poker player and writer whose entertaining and informative blog I regularly follow. She contributed a chapter to Women’s Poker Night (a book I’ve recommended to you before), and is also writing for Wicked Chops Poker some this Series. One of many folks whom I had gotten to know a bit via the intertubes and finally had the pleasure of meeting in person this summer.

I knew Michele had played yesterday in the Main Event. She’s an accomplished player who has had a few WSOP cashes, including a fourth-place finish in a $1,500 hold’em event in 2006. So my initial thought was there might have been some misreported hand or something in PokerNews’ coverage. I didn’t think I’d reported on any of her hands, though, so I wasn’t sure what was wrong.

“You’ve got that entire section of press row mad at you,” she added. Oh, man. Yesterday I was stationed in the Media Press Box so as to cover tables in the Orange section. The press box has a couple of levels and winds around the front left corner of the Amazon Room. Michele usually sits and writes on the other wall, so she was referring to the half-dozen or so folks who were stationed over there. All mad at me, apparently.

“No! What is it?” I asked earnestly.

“You’ve got that Phil Collins song stuck in all of our heads now. We can’t get it out.”

Ah. Earlier in the evening, a player named Phil Collins (not the Phil Collins, of course) had busted out of the Main Event and I had written up the hand. It was one of several hands I wrote about last night that I had watched myself. Sometimes it is easier (or preferable) to go out “into the field” and gather one’s own bits instead of waiting for the field reporters to bring them over.

I knew Collins was down to about 11,000 or so, and so took a walk over and just happened to catch his last hand. Eric Baldwin, a player we’d been tracking earlier, had raised to 800 from early position, and Collins reraised to 2,300 from a few seats over. It folded around and the big blind, whom I didn’t know, made the call, as did Baldwin. The flop was nine-high. Baldwin checked, and Collins brooded a good while before pushing all in. The BB then tanked for a bit before finally calling. Baldwin folded.

Collins showed A-Q, while the big blind had pocket jacks. It was a good call. The board didn’t help Collins and he was out. As the BB scooped his chips I asked him his name. He spelled it for me: Kurt Gronbech. Players generally don’t seem to mind telling you their names when they’re stacking up heaps of chips they’ve just won.

I went back and wrote up the hand, and since the description included reference to Gronbech “having sensed something that encouraged him to make the call,” the post title practically wrote itself:

“I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight.”

As those of you who are following the coverage on PokerNews already know, there are a few creative types among the group of bloggers who will occasionally mix some allusions, puns, or other semi-literary cheekiness in the post titles or in the posts themselves. Not always easy (or even appropriate) to pull off, but doing so adds something to the coverage, I think, making the reading of hand after hand a bit more compelling or even, at times, entertaining.

For example, in my very first post yesterday (not counting the “Shuffle Up and Deal” intro post), I reported on an early bustout that had occurred within the first ten minutes of play. We didn’t get the name of the player for this one. Probably better that we didn’t, actually.

Premature Climax
After months and months of anticipation, there are always some who come to the Main Event who just can't wait to push their chips in the middle.

A player with an eight-high flush draw got it all in versus a flopped set of fives. His draw didn't come, and we have another early elimination.

That post title got a few laughs. When someone said something to me about it later, I said I thought perhaps I’d overdone it right off the top -- shot my wad, so to speak. (Rim shot.)

A couple of hours after that a few of us in the press box were discussing this very subject of negotiating between creative license and the obligation to report with accuracy. One of our crew had just posted a hand in which a player had doubled up, and he’d gone with the generic “Player Doubles Up” post title rather than engage in any wordplay. Another ribbed him for it, and his response had us cracking up for several minutes.

He explained his background was in technical writing (e.g., writing manuals, etc.), and thus his instinct usually wasn’t to gussy up a post with various linguistic ornaments. (Actually, he didn’t put it that way. I’m gussying it up a bit.)

“I’m not like you guys,” he went on. “I can’t just say ‘and then he REACHED UP into the CLOUDS and grabbed a MAGIC SWORD with which he SPEARED the ACE on the RIVER!'”

By which point we were all doubled over in near hysterics. As I say, that was still early in the day, so for the rest of the day, perhaps once per hour, as I was in the middle of another frantic round of chip count updating or post-writing, his words would pop into my head, causing me to laugh all over again.

Which is a very good thing. The laughter, I mean.

The WSOP had a country singer perform a tune called “It’s All About the Money” before the start of play yesterday. The song basically had nothing to do with poker, and frankly I didn’t like the message one bit. Sure, it’s about the money. But it’s also about competition and having fun. In fact, I’d argue that the reason why we enjoy competition so greatly is because of the various pleasures it affords. Same goes for winning money, yes?

So, really, it’s all about the fun. Ain’t it?

Going back over to the Rio today for the last of the Day Ones. We’ve heard that over 2,000 are coming for this last day, and that the overall total will exceed that of 2007. Late last night, they once again momentarily took down that little green box that has been covering the total entrants figure on the plasma screens, and I caught a quick glimpse of the number underneath -- 6,395. Meaning that was the total number of folks who had registered by whatever time it was then (around midnight, I think).

So you guys who took the over on the 2007 figure (6,358) are going to win yr bets, I would think.

I’ll be there all day again today. Follow the fun over at PokerNews.

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Blogger gadzooks64 said...

LOL @ Technical Writer!

That's so me: just the facts, ma'am.

I've really struggled with the whole writing a blog thing. Definitely has made me more aware of tempo, timing, common thread, wrapping it up, etc.

I still don't consider myself a writer. I'm sure most of my readers would agree. :O

7/06/2008 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like how you guys "gussy it up" sometimes when giving us the updates. It does make it more entertaining.

7/06/2008 6:01 PM  

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