Wednesday, October 14, 2009

That’s the Way We Do It!

Shamus watches 2009 WSOP on ESPNLast night I dialed up ESPN on the crystal receiver to watch the ongoing coverage of the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event. Got there an hour early (the show is starting at 9 p.m. Eastern time now rather than 8 p.m.) and therefore happened to catch that terrific one-hour documentary about Baltimore Colts football fans, “The Band That Wouldn’t Die.”

Directed by Baltimore-guy Barry Levinson (Diner, The Natural), the focus was on the Colts marching band that persistently stayed together even after the team left for Indianapolis following the 1983 season. Great stuff -- even moving, at times -- that said a lot about how sports can genuinely bring people together and help build community (in my opinion). I highly recommend the special, if you happen to see it being repeated here anytime soon. (Here is the trailer, if yr curious.)

I suppose poker can have a similar effect on us, bringing us together via a common interest and thus enabling the further forging of relationships and meaningful interactions. Watching the coverage of the end of Day 6 of the WSOP Main Event last night was great fun, and reminded me, in fact, of what it was like to have been there as the field shrunk down to just 64 players. This was the day when the media and others there in the Amazon Room now most certainly were outnumbering the players, and the sense of being part of a small “community” of sorts became ever more evident.

We’d arrived at a point where we had enough reporters and bloggers to cover just about all of the big hands and bustouts, and so most of what was shown on ESPN last night I recalled fairly clearly, whether or not I happened to have been the one reporting a given hand.

Glancing back through the PokerNews live blog for Day 6, I’m seeing that I did happen to write up that hand in which Ludovic Lacay was all in with pocket kings versus Hamid Nourafchan’s pocket aces, and ended up spiking a king on the river to survive and win a whopping five million-chip pot. Don’t think they mentioned it on air, but I see in the post that Adam Bilzerian had said he’d folded a king, so that was the last one in the deck that saved Lacay. Had another post later on in which Lacay again saw a fortunate river card come, “Ludovic Lacay Lucky and Lovin’ It.”

My buddy FerricRamsium was reporting on the TV table that day, and he has a post in there describing that hand between Dennis Phillips and Darvin Moon in which Moon had A-K and Phillips pocket queens. An ace flopped for the Maryland logger, and Phillips managed to escape without too much harm. The ever-prescient FerricRamsium titled his post “A TV Hand.” Nice call, sir.

Tom Schneider was in that hand, too, although had fortunately dropped out preflop with his A-J. Got a big kick out of the segment late in the second hour focusing on Tom and his wife, Julie, who has been frequently shown on the rail cheering on Tom over the last couple of weeks. Julie’s own poker-playing was mentioned last night, and I believe last week the announcers did point out her third-place finish in an earlier bracelet event (Event No. 55, $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw). I’m remembering watching some of her fantastic finish play out in that event, and how Tom was on the rail then -- less vocal than Julie but no less supportive, utterly unable to stop smiling as he watched. Cool stuff.

Here’s my write up from July of that day of play in which I talk some about Schneider, Joe Sebok, and Dennis Phillips, and how cool it was to be going back to the Rio on Day 7 with those guys still in contention. Toward the very end of the ESPN coverage last night, a big hand for Phillips was shown, one that pushed him back up over 2.3 million. Seeing that hand caused me to remember how I had spoken to Phillips while walking out of the Rio that night. I’d last seen him with a shorter stack, so it was news to me when he told me about having hit a big hand near the end to get back into a healthier range heading into Day 7.

Was an exciting time, with lots of interesting possibilities still in play. And our little community of poker people would be back the next day to see what would happen.

Have to say, after several weeks of being less than enthused by this marathon coverage of the Main Event, I really dug the programming on ESPN last night. Some good poker, a few examples of genuinely clever storytelling, and fairly riveting throughout. As Julie sometimes says from the rail after Tom wins a hand, “that’s the way we do it!”

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Anonymous Frank said...

I watched it as well. The Sports Guy has done a great job with these.

10/15/2009 11:15 AM  

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