What to watch today at the WSOP – The Norman-Chad-Ament
I want to do this daily, but I’m not making any real promises here. Basically I was thinking about doing a quick little piece on the things that I’m interested in seeing in the upcoming day, but I don’t know that I’ll actually hold myself to a daily commitment of blogging. After all, I’m not getting paid for it, and sometimes life (and er…um…motivation) gets in the way. So when I do get to it, the piece will be here. When I don’t….well….tough noogies.
First let me start by congratulating the people that won the 23 bracelets so far in the series. You’re awesome. I’m not.
I particularly enjoyed the story of John Juanda besting Phil Hellmuth to gain bracelet number 5 and prevent PH from hitting number 12. I couldn’t take my eyeballs off the livestream…until what seemed to be the final hand of the event and they killed the broadcast. I had to find out through twitter that Juanda took it down because the feed went down in the closing seconds, but the rest of the match was a slow painful grind anyway. 2-7 Lowball is one of the more painful games to watch, so it was hardly mesmerizing. Juanda really tore up Hellmuth heads-up and overcame a more than 3 to 1 chip disadvantage to take home the gold. He’s certainly worth of acknowledgment.
I also want to sent congrats to my buddy Tristan Wade for final tabling the $1,500 NLHE event. It was great to watch on the live stream as well, and I’m always happy when good people do well in events (especially those that I know). It was his biggest career cash, and his first WSOP final table appearance. I expect that I will soon be writing the first part of that sentence again soon, and increasing the number of final tables accordingly.
Now the “What to look for in today’s events”
Event #24 – $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout
Play begins today with a final table of 10, and the winner of the event takes home +$400k and some jewelry. I’m really only interested in two stories at this event now, as everything else seems like a giant snooze-fest. The two interesting stories from this event today:
1) Sean Getzwiller takes aim at bracelet #2 of the 2011 WSOP. It would seem that every year someone at the WSOP figures out a way to win multiple bracelets, and Getzwiller has a shot to be the first to accomplish the feat this year. He took down event #8 ($1k donakment) besting a field of 4,178 to already win $611k, and this one would make for some real history. Getzwiller isn’t really a household name, but this story would be the bigger of the 2 interesting ones should he take it down.
2) Tom Marchese looks for a first WSOP Bracelet. The “King of Cards” is a table away from notching a WSOP win onto his mantle of impressive poker accomplishments. He’s already got a win at the NAPT (the 2010 Las Vegas event), and EPT and WPT Final tables on his resume. This is his second career WSOP Final Table (he finished 6th in last years $10k PLO), but a win would mean a good story here.
Event #25 – $1,500 Seven Card Stud-Hi Low event
23 players remaining and all eyes should be fixed on the guy 4th in chips. It’s very possible that we could play down to a winner with today’s action, but really it’s more likely that action will wrap with the hard stop and only a few players left fighting for a bracelet. Here’s my 4 interesting stories to watch in this event:
1) ESPN’s Norman Chad looks to make a final table. When I ran into Norman at the NAPT Los Angeles event last October, I congratulated him on making it into the money in this very event in 2009. I also said “it would have been great to have that event aired on ESPN,” to which Norman responded, “Are you kidding? I would have given my left nut to have that put on the air.” Well, since he has both intact (allegedly), he’ll no longer need to sacrifice any body parts to be the headliner. He’s using his chips to do the talking entering the day with 179,000 of them, good for 4th of the 23 players remaining. A final table would lead to some outstanding material on the ESPN broadcast this year, not to mention what would happen should Chad actually bink the bracelet in this event.
2) Frank Kassela still alive. Last year’s WSOP Player of the Year hasn’t fared as well this year. We’re only about halfway through the events of 2011, so there is still a lot of time to go. With 123k in chips, Kassela has that killer instinct at these stages of the tournament and the capability to dial things up a notch. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him either chip up really quickly or go bust, but I expect him to be very active and one to watch.
3) Ladies Ladies Ladies. Last year was supposed to be the “Year of the Woman” but this year has already seen some impressive performances by the ladies (A pair of runner up finishes, one to Maria Ho in Event #4 and the other to Kim “aka Stephanie” Nguyen in Event #19). For this event, there is a trio of females that can make a run in Cyndy Violette, Kristy Gazes, and the gal that I’m really pulling for…Karina Jett. Any of the three would make for a great story but I’d be lying if I said that I’d be anything other than VERY emotional if Karina took home a bracelet at this series. I can think of few humans that I will be cheering for harder.
4) Mike Sexton still with chips. He’s short stacked with just 54k chips, but I never count out the Poker Ambassador. Having Sexton run deep in any event is just good for poker. Nuff said.
For the other events still in action, Jean-Robert Bellande finished the day 2nd in chips in the $2,500 NLH 6-max event and Daniel Negreanu finished atop the chip counts in the $10k Limit Hold’em Championship. Both are great stories, but they both have a full day ahead of them until the stories really pick up any real steam. Events #28 ($1,500 NLHE) and #29 ($2,500 10-Game Mix-Six Max) get underway as well today, so it’ll be another busy day for the WSOP staff and Poker Media at the Rio.