Thursday, July 10, 2008

2008 WSOP, Day 41: Chuck Norris Doesn’t Dodge Bullets; Bullets Dodge Chuck Norris

Chuck NorrisI did end up volunteering to stay beyond the dinner break yesterday. Lots of reasons why I’m glad I did.

First off, covering the first three levels of Day 2b of the World Series of Poker Main Event was about as frustrating an experience as I’ve had this summer. Nobody’s fault in particular. It’s just that the logistics of the thing meant our jobs were really more like air traffic controllers than journalists. And to be honest it felt like we were crashing more often than landing safely.

Day 2b started with 2,378 players, and before the dinner break came we were already under 1,000. That meant that something like 230 players were busting out of the tournament every hour, or close to four per minute.

Now we had the full contingent out in force to try and chronicle this chaos. We knew we couldn’t possibly write blog posts about all of the bustouts, so that wasn’t a high-level concern. Wanted definitely to get hands involving big stacks and/or familiar names, but we didn’t need fret over posting every instance of a small-stack pushing all in with ace-rag, getting called by pocket tens, and being bounced from the proceedings.

The real problem was keeping track of the survivors. Tables were breaking at a ridiculously fast clip. I was in the Brasilia room, where we began the day with 65 full tables. All were gone within five hours or so, meaning we had tables full of players exiting and relocating every 4-5 minutes. And we had to communicate to our colleagues in the Amazon Room where they were headed. Sometimes the little game of telephone we were playing worked out just fine; other times, less so.

In any event, we were all feeling pretty damned harried by the time dinner rolled around. But we knew coming back from the break that there’d be no more such shenanigans, as all of the remaining players were now seated in the Amazon Room proper. I grabbed a spot at the end of the table on the front row of the Media Press Box and helped F-Train and FerricRamsium cover the Orange section of the Amazon Room.

Compared to the craziness of the afternoon, those last two levels went especially well, with most of my energies focused on writing posts, updating chip counts, and enjoying the whole scene.

Got to meet Iggy (finally), and was sincerely thrilled to see him make it through to Day 3. And when I say “see” I mean it literally -- Ignatius was seated at the table just below our spot for most of those two levels. We kept wanting to write up a hand in which he was involved, but there weren’t too many opportunities. The best shot would’ve been a hand in which Iggy had aces and the woman to his left made a heroic laydown of her pocket kings, but we’d missed most of the action on that one.

Also got to write up a ton of hands and other color-type posts. Among those playing last night were a fellow named Chuck Norris (not the Chuck Norris), another named Steve Austin (not the Steve Austin), and the Ultimate Fighting Championship announcer Bruce Buffer (yes, the Bruce Buffer). When all three were seated in the same section, I had my chance:

Power Poker
Check out this lineup . . .

Over in the Red section, Chuck Norris is sitting at Table #1. Our understanding is that Chuck Norris doesn't dodge bullets. Bullets dodge Chuck Norris.

Nearby at Table #13 is Steve Austin. When he pushes all in, we expect he'll have the stone cold nuts.

And just in case anything breaks out, UFC announcer Bruce Buffer is close by at Table #25.

Later in the evening we were being encouraged to include a post about Kara Scott, a very photogenic female player who looked as though she was going to make it through to Day 3.

Kara ScottI went down and watched several hands, and it was clear she was sitting tight, not wanting to get too involved before day’s end. Finally picked up a bit of table talk and came up with a post, then discovered we had no picture in our gallery to accompany it.

FerricRamsium, who besides blogging is also a terrific photographer, came to the rescue. That’s the picture he took to the left there. And here is the post that went along with it.

Anyhow, by night’s end I had gotten over my frustrations from earlier in the day and was back to feeling that camaraderie I spoke a bit about last post. I’ve said it before in different ways, but these are some cool cats I’ve been privileged to be hooked up with here this summer. We’re all on for Day 3 tomorrow, and it looks like I’m on for Day 4 as well. Hard to believe it’s gonna end here soon.

But I’m sure those 1,300 or so players who’ll be coming back tomorrow feel the same way, too. Just want to keep it going. Keep living the dream.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

For such a fast paced and hectic process you guys are doing a great job.

When looking at the WSOP schedule they had each Day 1 listed at (3000 players) prior to the main event. I'm assuming that is the Maximum entrants allowed. Now imagine what would happen if 12,000 poker players entered this thing?

7/10/2008 10:26 PM  

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