Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 WSOP, Day 33: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Dreams are like rainbows. Only idiots chase them.That post title sort of comes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in which Prospero proclaims “We are such stuff / As dreams are made on; and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep.” But it also comes up -- with the altered preposition -- at the conclusion of a famous hard-boiled film. Any guesses?

Last night during the final table of Event No. 50, the $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shooutout, the six remaining players decided to take a ninety-minute dinner break after the fourth level. A little out of the ordinary, as most final tables have only had an hour-long break in there somewhere. Worked out well for yr humble gumshoe, as Vera Valmore has been here for the past week, and so we were able to go enjoy a leisurely dinner elsewhere in the Rio.

We were walking back to the Amazon Room when we realized I still had a half-hour or so before the tourney would restart. So we just parked it on a bench there in the hallway and were sitting there when F-Train happened by, his tourney (Event No. 52, the $3,000 Triple Chance No-Limit Hold’em) having just reached its break.

“What, you just spend your breaks sitting out in the halls?” asked F-Train. Sure, I joked. Only today I had Vera to keep me company. We chatted for a bit about various items, including the way covering the WSOP tends to wreck one’s sleep schedule.

Went back over and the rest of the night went fairly well, and in fact the tournament was all over before midnight. Tourney officials did not choose to stage the Limit Shootout final table on the main feature table, but rather played it out over on the secondary feature table. That meant no live streaming coverage on ESPN360 or Bluff. That also meant very limited seating for spectators, which ended up being a big deal since there were probably 200 or more people crushed on all sides trying to watch this one play out.

Would have made an interesting broadcast, I think. David Williams finished fourth. Millie Shiu finished third, which if I am not mistaken is the closest a woman has come to winning an open event this summer. Then the two players who made heads up, Marc Naalden and Greg Mueller, were both gunning for their second WSOP bracelets of the summer. Not only that, both had won their earlier bracelets in limit hold’em events -- Mueller in Event No. 33, the $10,000 World Championship LHE event, and Naalden in Event No. 38, the $2,000 LHE event.

Greg MuellerMueller ended up taking it down. I was mentioning yesterday my thoughts about his prowess at LHE, and it was definitely fun (and instructional) to watch how he played numerous hands last night. He caught some cards, for sure, especially during the middle levels of the final table. But he played an obviously smart game and well deserved the win.

Limit hold’em has that reputation as a relatively boring game to play, let alone watch. But the fact is, from the reporting side of things, LHE can actually be much more interesting to cover simply because there is never a lack for hands.

Unlike in no-limit, where you can go a couple of orbits without any hand getting past the turn, you have lots of showdowns in LHE, and most of those hands involve players having made three, four, or even more clear decisions. Not only that, but once those hands reach a showdown and you find out players’ cards, your report of all of those decisions becomes all the more meaningful. In other words, one often has a better shot of actually relating to the reader in a somewhat complete way players’ strategies and thought processes in LHE than in no-limit (if that makes sense).

Even though it ended up being a relatively early night, I was dead tired by the time Vera and I made it back to the home-away-from-home. Fell asleep quickly, but three hours later was awake again.

What woke me up? Hands. One after another.

It folded to player who raised from the button, player three-bet from the big blind, and player made the call. The flop came this of that, this of that, this of that. Player checked, player bet, and player check-raised. Player called. The turn brought the this of that. I turn over, readjust the pillow, and it folded to player who raised from the cutoff. The button three-bet, the blinds got out of the way, and the cutoff made it four to go. And so on.

Dreaming of handsSuch is how my jingle brain seems to deal with all the mental mumbo-jumbo of the day, revisiting it upon me in vaguely-drawn, incomplete gestures while I try to rest. I remember fussing through this same phenomenon last summer (where that picture of the little boy dreaming of hands was first used).

One more tourney for me to cover this summer before the Main Event starts on Friday -- Event No. 56, the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event which starts on Tuesday. Am off today, though, and so will get to spend the day with Vera, her last full day here before she heads back home.

Gonna be a quiet day today. A nice one for sitting here on this bench and watching other people rush back and forth. I’m a little tired. And in no hurry. Think I’ll just sit here a while and rest.

Nice to have Vera next to me.

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