Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Stacks Get Big, Emotions Run High: ESPN’s Coverage of 2010 WSOP Main Event Continues Tonight

Stacks Get Big, Emotions Run High: ESPN’s Coverage of 2010 WSOP Main Event Continues TonightTonight on ESPN we’ll see two more hours of coverage devoted to the latter half of Day 6 of the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event. Looking forward to it, I am.

At the end of play on that day, just 78 players remained of the original field of 7,319. There would be just two more days of poker in July, from which emerged the final nine who will be returning to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in November to play the sucker out once and for all.

On the whole, I’ve been enjoying the coverage thus far, and I especially like that ESPN decided to devote more hours to these latter days of play than to the Day 1s. Sure, we got to know certain figures -- like the barking man, Ted Bort -- more closely than we might’ve cared to along the way, but overall I’m appreciating how the storytelling has gone thus far. Makes sense spending more time on these later days, when really just about every hand is significant, considerably affecting the shape of the “plot” we’re watching unfold.

Tonight I’m especially looking forward to one hand in particular, one that I’m almost certain will be included. It occurred right at the end of the night, a huge hand between Manuel Davidian and Filippo Candio. (By the way, if you’re one of those following ESPN’s coverage and looking to avoid spoilers, you might stop here and come back to this post tomorrow.)

Looking back, I see that in July I titled my Hard-Boiled Poker post about that day “Intense.” Funny -- I didn’t even mention this particular hand in that post. But I think I was still feeling its effects when I wrote it.

If I recall correctly, they had reached that point in the evening where just 10 minutes remained on the tourney clock. The procedure then is to stop the clock and draw a card to determine how many more hands will be played. I believe they pull from a deck just five cards -- a three, four, five, six, and seven -- and whichever card is randomly selected from those dictates how many more hands will be played before stopping.

The card-drawing ensures all tables play the same number of hands during that final portion of the evening. A four was drawn that night, and so we were within those final four hands when this big one took place.

On Day 6 I had moved around a bit, covering different areas as the day went along as part of the PokerNews team there live blogging the proceedings. As we got close to the end of the night, I was sent over to the secondary feature table to grab chip counts once the players there began bagging up. So I happened to be there when this hand between Davidian and Candio happened.

I won’t recount all of the particulars of the hand here -- you can read my post about the hand over on PokerNews, if you like -- but basically a series of raises before the flop created a situation in which Candio was all in with A-K against Davidian’s pocket tens, a king flopped, and Candio’s hand held up. The hand gave Candio more than 5 million chips, which put him near the top 10 at night’s end. Meanwhile, Davidian was crippled to around 100,000, and in the very next hand would be eliminated in 80th place.

The hand produced a lot of emotion from both players -- unrestrained excitement from Candio, and utter dejection from Davidian. That’s one reason why I think it’ll air tonight. Also, it involved Candio, who has already been shown on ESPN a few times and who would go on to experience some more good fortune and make it to the November Nine. He’s already begun to emerge as a significant “character” in the story, so I think we’ll be seeing another episode in his WSOP adventure tonight.

I remember another reporter afterwards asking me about the hand. He wasn’t a guy I knew, and my sense was he was a non-poker writer there to put together some sort of feature about the WSOP. I think he had a one-day media pass or something, if I’m not mistaken.

He had been standing right next to me as it happened, but seemed a little uncertain what it was that we had witnessed. He wanted to know how big the pot was, and what those chips signified. In fact, it seemed like from his questioning that he didn’t necessarily know that it wasn’t really five million-plus “dollars” that had gone to Candio there, but tournament chips.

He also asked me about Candio’s excited reaction afterwards, and whether or not I thought it was out of bounds. I told him it was perhaps a little much, but that I didn’t necessarily think it was that objectionable. I notice in my hand report I mention the reaction, but don’t linger over it too much. It was part of the story there, to be sure, but my instinct at the time was not to focus on it too greatly.

To be honest, that question from the other reporter wasn’t necessarily an easy one to answer. It’s hard sometimes to say what is excessive and what isn’t when it comes to players’ reactions. Like many, I much prefer the players who manage to restrain themselves from getting too carried away with the celebrations. But I also understand that in some cases -- such as the end of Day 6 of the WSOP Main Event -- that might be easier said than done.

I’m going to guess that Candio gets a bit of heat on the forums from some after tonight’s broadcast, although it depends in part on how his reaction afterwards is presented. Would be surprised if ESPN’s emphasis did not highlight the emotions on display after the hand was over. Which will be understandable, if that’s how the story indeed gets “told.”

Just like the players, I suppose you could say those doing the reporting can show differing levels of restraint, too.

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Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Personally I find I have a lot of room for forgiveness of someone who just won the biggest hand of his poker career bar none, and who's never been involved in anything near this big ever before in his entire life. If he was a dick then that's a different matter, but if he runs around screaming like a lunatic I think I will generally be ok with it as long as he does not really go overboard.

10/05/2010 2:51 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I have not been impressed with Candio's demeanor so looking forward to this tonight. While I agree that winning the biggest hand of your life is reason for excitement need to remember that it was for the other guy too and a bit of restraint seems appropriate to me.

10/05/2010 3:52 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

ESPN did show the hand -- it was the last one of tonight's coverage. There was more celebrating/reaction than was shown, but as I say in the post, my instinctive response to the question put to me was to say it didn't seem too out of line.

(Was interesting how they'd set up that hand with the earlier one in which Candio received a penalty for excessive celebration.)

10/05/2010 11:12 PM  

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