Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 WSOP, Day 32: A Long Flight

Flying WSOP“It’s like flying to Australia every day. Only when you get there you’re at the Rio. Again.”

Said Tom Schneider to me during one of the breaks at yesterday’s Day 2 of Event No. 50, the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shootout. Schneider, like a lot of pros, has played in numerous events at this summer’s World Series of Poker, somewhere around 15 or more. Which means he’s spent just about every day sitting in a seat in either the Amazon, Brasilia, or Miranda rooms handling chips, cards, and the mental and physical challenges that come with trying to win a poker tournament that generally requires a person to survive three consecutive 12-14 hour days of play if he or she hopes to win the sucker.

There’s an upside, obviously. The chance to win a big bag of cabbage is nice, of course. As is the fact that, well, one is playing games all day.

But four-plus weeks of anything (to this degree) can make the line between “play” and “work” more than a little fuzzy.

Schneider’s analogy seemed to characterize my own experience helping cover the WSOP for PokerNews as well. The days are long, sometimes arduous. I’m sitting a lot, too, although unlike the players I’m often up and around, moving through the tables in search of hands, chip counts, or other material to pass along. Can’t sleep, of course. Can’t even mentally check out for a few minutes, really.

And when you get to the end, you’re at the Rio. Again.

Yesterday I reported on the eight eight-handed matches that constituted the second round of the Shootout, with the winners moving on to today’s final table. Schneider came close in his match, gamely battling back after the dinner break to make heads up against Greg Mueller.

Tom SchneiderTheirs was probably the toughest table of the second round, including Brock Parker and Juha Helppi as well. Schneider was WSOP Player of the Year in 2007, when he won two bracelets. Mueller won his first bracelet a few days ago in the $10,000 World Championship Limit Hold’em (Event No. 33). Parker has won two bracelets this summer, one in an LHE event. And Helppi has $2.4 million in tourney winnings, including a couple of near-misses at WSOP bracelets. The other four at their table weren’t slim pickings, either. Easily the highest concentration of tough players in the room, I’d estimate.

Too bad both Mueller and Schneider couldn’t have made today’s final. Their heads-up match went back and forth for awhile before Mueller won. Indeed, several of those who won their matches yesterday had been low in chips at some point during the day -- most often during heads up -- before coming back to win. Such is limit hold’em, where having even just a couple of big bets left means you still have a legitimate chance. If you can catch a hand, that is. Schneider appeared to have hit such a hand late during his match yesterday when he flopped a set of treys, only to have Mueller chase down a flush on the end. Most definitely one of those “so it goes hands” (S.I.G.H.).

I’ll be back over to help cover today’s final table. Hasn’t been too much turbulence covering this Limit Shootout event, though the days/nights have been long, for sure. Am hoping we’ll make it to the main stage, where covering final tables is marginally less strenuous than on the secondary feature table or on one of the outer tables. Not quite the difference between first class and coach, but enough to make the flight a little more pleasant. We may be over there. David Williams is at our final table, which improves our chances. As does the fact that we’re the only final table being played today (although that doesn’t always guarantee we’ll be on the main stage).

In any event, I know I’ll be somewhere in the Amazon (after two days in the Brasilia), and so might get a chance during a break to wander over and see what’s happening in the $50K H.O.R.S.E., where Gus Hansen is leading with 53 players left. Hop over to PokerNews’ live reporting page and I’ll see you there.

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Blogger Pauly said...

Sometimes, covering the WSOP is like waking up in the movie Ground Hog's Day... but on acid.

6/28/2009 3:18 PM  

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