2010 WSOP Main Event – Reflection Part 5
Reflection’s part 1 through 4 covered the main event through day’s 1a through 2a. Here I’ll focus on Day 2b.
Day 2b began for me with an interview. I arrived at the Rio and got situated in the media room, and used the WSOP email to the media that told everyone where each player was seated to determine a list of whom I wanted to follow for the day. The list grew to around 85 people, so I knew that I was going to have to scale back some, but traveling between the Amazon and the Pavillion room became much easier as I finally knew where everyone was. In the day 1′s, you’re basically just guessing where people are going to be, and hoping to stumble across people that I knew or recognized. I knew or recognized maybe 5% of the field, so the vast majority of the tables that I walked by in the beginning consisted mainly of people who I had little or no interest in. I guess that’s to be expected in an event that is a virtual sea of unknown and amateur players. But day 2 gave me the opportunity to really hone in on players that I wanted to see perform well, as well as get good photo’s of.
Earlier in the series I’d run into Randy Kasper of Poker Players International. Randy is an agent with PPI, and was responsible for getting players deals with various online poker rooms to wear their patches during the main event. You’d find him everywhere in the Rio and talking to everyone. Randy was one of the good guys in a sea of sharks that were agents throughout the Rio. Agents are a unique breed of leeches. They really try to find talented players and suck the talent right out of them in hopes that they can feed their families by providing the “negotiation” between the talent and the paying entity. As time went on in the main event, and you saw the circling leeches hoping to find some source of raw, amateur meat to cling to, it was clear that the vast majority of the agents that were in the Rio cared about nothing other than making a few bucks. Randy was the polar opposite. I met Randy in the Poker kitchen as he finished a salad and we had a chance to chat face to face for the first time. He had appeared on our TPT Live show some months back after having wrote an article for Bluff Magazine regarding the UIGEA. It was great fun having him on the show and I was glad to meet him in person.
As he chatted, we were joined by Eric Siegal of PPI, who was also the marketing person for a group called “Fatty’s Poker.” The group was basically a collection of affable New York personalities that played a home game, and decided to create a Poker Reality show around their quirks. Eric had asked if I’d be interested in interviewing the Fatty’s boys, and of course I agreed. So day 2b began with meeting the gang from Fattyspoker.com, as they were all dressed for action in their Red Fatty’s Poker shirts and PPI apparel. I learned that the group had sent 10 players to play in this main event and that all 10 of them had advanced to day 2. You can hear my interview with the group here: Interview with Fattyspoker.com
Their show is still under production, but you can check out the group of players at here at FattysPoker.com
Once the interview was complete, it was off to the start of play and listening to Jack Effel hand the microphone off to Bruce Buffer from MMA fame. Bruce took to the mic and did what he does best which is get the people amped up for the event that was taking place. He was fantastic, and I hope that they replay his announcement of “Iiiiiiiiiit’s On!!! Shuffle up and Deal!” But I think that it really got everyone that heard it really pumped up for the day. Bruce would take a seat at his table and begin stacking chips en route to a really impressive Main Event performance, finishing day 2b with about 160k in chips.
I also found actor’s Hank Azaria from ”The Simpsons” fame, as well as Jason Alexander (from ”Seinfeld”), Shannon Elizabeth (from ”American Pie”), and Orel Hershiser (Major League Baseball Pitcher). There was a professional boxer in the field as well, but I didn’t recognize who he was. Of all of them, only Azaria would survive the day, ending with a very healthy 110k chip stack.
The list of big names that ended the day grew quickly, and began with Phil Ivey. Last year’s 7th pace finish in the main made the November 9 interesting, but this year, Ivey just couldn’t get anything going. I found out from Fatty’s Poker player Scott Einiger that he did the final deed, busting Ivey with a pair of Tens that made a boat. I caught up with a Scott for a quick interview that I posted on the Twitter Poker Tour site here: Scott Einiger Busts Phil Ivey
The list of big names making an exit included Texas Dolly as well. Applause rose in the Amazon room late in the day, even before Doyle Brunson was announced as eliminated from the tournament. In respect to the great 10 time bracelet winning legend, the Mic was taken by Nolan Dalla to announce Brunson’s ill-fated news, and players throughout the entire tournament stopped, stood, and applauded. There may not be a better ambassador for the game of poker than Doyle, and it was a sad moment to see him limp over to his scooter, and drive off away from the Rio. Team Full Tilt had a tough day losing Ivey, but joining him on the rail on day 2b included both Chris Ferguson and Andy Bloch. I was really bummed to hear about Andy going bust. I’d seen him play very little, but the times that I did, he doubled up twice. Perhaps it was my fault for not sticking around for his rail. Perhaps not.
Other notable bustouts of day 2b included Josh Arieh, Freddy Deeb, Philip Hilm, Hevad Khan, Kirk Morrison, Gavin Griffin, and JC Tran. One of the late busts included former WSOP Player of the Year, Tom “DonkeyBomber” Schneider, who nursed a shortstack for what seemed like forever. It was my first real experience observing the “Vulture cameras” as the ESPN crews and other various media outlets simply hovered around Tom, just waiting for him to go broke, and move in after his stack had been killed off to capture the carnage for their footage. I learned very quickly that where the vultures swarmed, action wasn’t far away, and it was noteworthy action at that. I was actually hoping that Tom would find a miraculous double and somehow work his way back into the tournament. But alas, he’d parish with about another 1,100 players on day 2b.
The good stories that arose from the day included the survival of Bill Childs and Pat Ricci. I was on Bill’s rail for much of the evening as he ended the day with more than 80k in chips, which would be about the tournament average. Bill played fantastic again, choosing to get involved in pots where he could control the action, and his table just didn’t know what to do with him. Pat had finished the day with more than 140k, which I’d find out about late in the night. Also surviving the day were Vanessa Selbst who stacked 280k chips, Galfond (203k), Dave “Doc Sands” Sands (200k), David Benyamine (173k), Robert Varkonyi (160k), Allen Cunningham (156k), Eric Buchman (147k), Vanessa Rousso (140k), Kenny Tran (140k) and Jason Mercier (135k). Each of these players would really make for great stories if they could continue to run good.
I finished my day at the Rio and finished my article, then headed over to the Venetian Deepstacks Tournament to jump on the rail for Lee Childs, who’d begun day 1 of the $1k buy in event there. It was fun watching Lee play and put on the clinic that he did. He gathered a bunch of chips early, and seeing him in action with all those chips was awe-inspiring. Lee was involved in a very high percentage of pots, and taking down a bunch of them uncontested. He’d fire c-bets and people would fold. He’d check raise, and people would get out of the way. He’d fire turn and river bets, people would give up. And the times that people would make the call, he’d calmly roll over the nuts. Bill Childs and Pat Ricci joined on the rail and we had a good number of laughs along the way. Play wrapped at 2am, and I’d return back to the house that I was staying at for some sleep.
I’d be heading to the Rio in the morning for my very first poker action since I’d arrived in Vegas to play in the annual Media event during the only off day of the World Series of Poker. I was looking forward to it, and was thrilled with the emails and announcements that showed my name in the Amazon Room. The prizes were insignificant to me. How I finished didn’t really matter all that much. I just wanted to play, and I was looking forward to the experience of mixing it up with my peers at the felt.
I’ll write about that experience in Part 6, tomorrow.