Wednesday, July 09, 2008

2008 WSOP, Day 40: “Seat Open!”

World Series of PokerThe first Day Two definitely had a different feel to it that did the four Day Ones, especially as the night wore on. I could sense excitement building among the players as they began to notice more and more of their opponents had fallen by the wayside. Had several come up to me at my station, point at the plasma screen indicating how many were left from those who began play yesterday, and ask me some variation of the question “Is that really the number left from today?”

We started with 1,251 yesterday and ended with just 466, so those guys had reason to feel special. Players dropped out at a clip of about 78 or so per hour, meaning everyone was hearing the “Seat Open!” cry from a dealer more than once per minute.

Also sensed a growing camaraderie starting to develop in the room. Bustouts occurring after the dinner break (during Levels 9 and 10) seemed frequently to be punctuated by lengthy handshakes or even hugs before the loser departed. A kind of bonding clearly occurs among some of these guys as they together go through the mental and emotional challenge of the Main Event. Imagine that “band of brothers” (and a few sisters)-type effect will only intensify as we go further.

Also had several players -- more than in the preliminary events -- come over to ask about whether or not they appeared in the coverage and/or chip counts, or to request to be included. We were tracking a lot of players yesterday, but it wasn’t too burdensome to include a few more here and there. It is physically not possible for our staff to track over a 1,000 players’ chip counts, so on these Day Ones and Twos, and perhaps even on Day Three, we have to make some choices, covering all the big and medium stacks and as many smaller stacks as we can.

Even so, whenever someone asked to be included in the chip counts, I was always more than glad to do so. Granted one such request to a fellow, and he then came back to me at the next break to say how his family had text-messaged him excitedly about having seen his name appear in the counts. He clearly got a huge kick out of that. (I did, too.) I eventually slipped him into a couple of posts as well, as he got involved in some blog-worthy hands.

Had another guy who asked to be included in the counts (which we did), then subsequently start to lose hands. Figuring he’d jinxed himself, he came back and asked to be taken out. We did that, too.

Also had a handful of people come over and ask where a relative was seated. I had a master list of the start-of-day seat assignments, and so actually could help these people. Was greeted with a lot of sincere, heartfelt appreciation from these, as I’d helped them finally find a father or brother in the room.

Am also sensing (and enjoying) a similar kind of camaraderie having developed among most of the PokerNews staff over the six weeks or so. We’ve all gone through significant mental and emotional challenges, too. And now we’re also all sensing the end coming pretty quickly.

A lot of us are in a similar position as are the players in that we don’t know when our last day of the World Series of Poker will be. Everyone is working through Day 3, for certain, but beyond that we just have to wait and see. So, as is the case with the players, the end could come unexpectedly. In other words, it won’t be that long until our seats are open, too. I think most of us are ready for that moment, but the uncertainty does add to the challenge of it all.

Gonna be a tough one today. I believe 2,378 will be there today, nearly twice the number that played yesterday. I’m only scheduled to work through dinner break, although I wouldn’t be at all surprised if those in my situation are asked to stay on afterwards.

If asked, I’ll probably do so. Wouldn’t seem right to let those guys push on alone.

As always, follow along at PokerNews.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's very cool of you to help out Shamus. I think Isabelle Mercier owes you a make out session for that ;-)

7/09/2008 11:25 PM  

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