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Views: 837
Date Posted: Jul. 8, 7:06pm, 3 Comments

The latest WSOP observations as we near the second break of Day 1D.


To no one's surprise, Emmit Smith busted out right after the first break.


On my second sweep through the Amazon and Pavilion rooms I found Mathew 'mindcirkus' Sweet, Emil 'whitelime' Patel, and Jason 'mkind' Laso, all of whom are above average.


I witnessed a sick hand with David Benyamine.  He calls a raise preflop from the big blind.  Flop 5,7,5, check calls a 2k bet, turn 8, check calls a 3k bet, on 4 river, he check raises the 5k bet to 20k.  The guy tanks and eventually mucks his K's face up.  David flips over his A,K for a complete bluff.  The table goes wild.  The very next hand he value bets his A,K hand top pair, top kicker against the same steaming player who calls him down with a weaker Ace.  David is rolling.


Kara Scott is continuing her roll and looks to be up over 80k now.  Her table is clearly intimidated now by her run good.


At table #63 in the Pavilion room, the players were freezing cold due to the vents blowing cold air on them.  They complained, as you could see the light above moving from all the air flow.  Nothing was done, so they took matters in their own hands.  One player walked up to the Palazzo suite,s to the concierge there, to arrange something.  He returned with bright blue patterned 'snuggies' for everyone at the table.  That drew a lot of attention as every player is surrounded by the big blue ridiculous coverings.  At least they are warm now.


At Jason Alexander's table, it's like comedy hour as everyone tries to ham it up and impress Jason with their best lines.  I haven't seen a more talkative table all day. 



Views: 1453
Date Posted: Jul. 8, 5:51pm, 1 Comment
The fourth day 1 is at the first break.  As opposed to Day 1C with lots of younger internet players, today is marked by fewer known players and a larger field of mostly older amateur and satellite looking players.  As for the numbers, it looks like 4928 played the first 3 days with 3430 moving on to Day 2.  Today there look to be 15 extra tables so far, so about 150 more players than yesterday's 2350.  Honestly, I expected more players but it should still top last year and the first place prize is presently projected to be 8.8-9 million dollars.
Emmit Smith, #22, who is up for the Football Hall of Fame this year, gave the send off this morning and botched it saying " Shuffle up and play, baby".  He's playing his first Main Event today and from observing his table, he's treating it like his Friday home game with the boys.
The first bustout of the day came 11 minutes in when a flop of K,Q,4 with two hearts came down.  All the money went in and the top set of K's held against A,Q of hearts.
Then a local guy from back in Oregon tweeted that Jan Brady (Eve Plumb) was playing.  Indeed she was, still looking like the girl we all knew growing up, all chipper and friendly.  Apparently Mike Matusow put her in the event.  Not sure the connection there.
Some interesting tables; Brian Townsend and Vanessa Rousso, John Juanda to the right of David Benyamine, and John Phan, Justin Smith and Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson at the same table.
Kara Scott is off to a blazing start with 70k at the first break.  She was up to 48k early, lost her Q's to K's back down to 37k, then the last hand before the break obviously won a massive pots as the camera crew swarmed the table.
A couple of good start by notable players - Phil Ivey is up to 45k and David Benyamine 48k
Before play resumed for 100-200 second level, they had the final preliminary bracelet ceremony for event #56 with a guy from Isreal, where they said " The World Series of Poker is all about family!" LOL
A member from PokerCurious helped me get an interview with Allen 'the chainsaw' Kessler who has 8 cashes in this year's WSOP.  He's playiing today and just yesterday won the $1k buy in tournament at the Bellagio.  He's on fire for sure, so we'll see if he has time to do the interview before I leave tomorrow night.
Views: 1489
Date Posted: Jul. 8, 1:15am, 1 Comment
MassageWho doesn't like a good massage?  Poker players sit at tables for long hours day after day so it makes complete sense that masseuses would be popular.  But who would you guess gets most massages.  Certainly famous players and those wealthy enough to afford them are the biggest clients, but beyond that it's interesting to see that 'big guys' get a disproportionate amount of them.  Bigger or heavy-set guys make up maybe 20 to 35% of tables, but according to my informal assessment, they make up around 50% or more of those who have massages.  Is the sitting and long hours of grinding harder on their bodies?  You just don't see a lot of skinny guys getting massages.  There are only a couple male masseurs around and I have only seen one woman get a massage so far.
On a sad note for massage therapists everywhere, Chau Giang just busted out after the dinner break.  He is known to have one of the greatest frequencies of massages, sometimes having one work on him all day while playing.
As predicted, the Day 1C field was 2314 and a little over 1900 remain after the dinner break with 35k avg. stack.  We should lose another 300 or so players by nights end.
The latest observations an hour after the dinner break...
Watching Brian 'Stinger' Hasting's table, 3 bet pot, the original raisers Cbet is reraised all in on 10,7,3 flop by a French guy.  He tanks for a while and eventually calls with Aces.  The other guys turns over his 9's and accuses him of slow rolling him.  The guy with Aces said I put you on a better hand, but I just couldn't fold with the money in the flop. The very next hand the French guy obviously on tilt plays Q,9 suited to a raise short, then moves all in on a Q,J,10 flop.  The original raiser calls with K,3 and turns the A for his straight.  This occurs one table over from where Brian was for most of the day, before he moved.  He is seen conversing with this 350lb 'good ol boy' older gentleman from his original table who says "Youuuu should have told me who you were, yuuuuuuuurrrrrr famousssssssssss!
In the Pavilion room, I walked by a table where one foreign gentleman on the button had moved in over a MP raise all in for 13.9k.  The small button tanked for a long time then raised all in himself and the original bettor let go of his hand.  The small blind had him crushed A,K vs. A,Q.  The foregin gentleman's wife is reading a book a couple tables over and he calls her over for luck.  Indeed, he hit his 3 outer to double up and receive her kiss of congratulations before returning to reading her book and sending good luck puppy eyes to her husband.
A funny moment occurred whem most of the two poker rooms broke into applause when it was announced that Phil Hellmuth had busted out.  For all his grand entrance and big ego, he is a player both admired and jeered.
Players doing well:
Laurence Grondin: 50k
Cole South: 53k
Michael Berra: 40k
Taylor Caby: 36k
Not doing so well:
Brystmar: 12k
Benefield 12k
Andrew Wiggins 8k
Derric Haynie: 7k
As I post this, Jerry Yang has just lifted his hoody over his head and headed out the door, busted.
Views: 1286
Date Posted: Jul. 7, 8:04pm, 1 Comment
Four days to choose from and 80% of the poker players I follow are playing today. They are saying 2300+ players today. 
Some things overheard or observed today....
The one that seems to be doing best is my upcoming interviewee Laurence Grondin from Montreal.  She has over 70k.
An indian guy says to his wife on the rail, I'm almost out.  On the turn, he has top two pair, is all in, and the other player has bottom set.  No fear, he hit his 4 outer higher boat on the river to double up.  He assured his wife he was due.
Phil Hellmuth, after his 30 minute stage performace with 12 dancing girls and rappers, finally makes his MMA styled entrance to much attention.  Two hours later, after the adrenalin had ebbed, he was seen struggling to remain awake at his featured table.
Another table, another suckout witnessed.  This time Q's were all in against 9's only to see the two outer 9 hit on the river.  Better luck next year, sir.
Patrik Antonius was low key, but I hadn't noticed his large tattoo on his left forearm that has a scripted Mila Jolie on it.
Unlike his deep run from last year, Joe 'LatestLines2' Ward was having a tougher time of it this year.  Both his tables were full of aggressive three betting youngsters.  When he approached the second table, he asked "Where are all the old people?"  They said "you're it."  Ouch at only 28.
Tom Dwan's corner table is drawing the biggest rail by far.
Dennis Phillips has his usual rail of supporters in red hats with a truck horn going off when he wins hands.
Derric 'Sixpeppers' Haynie called me over to ask me who this FTP pro was who was new to his table.  When I said Barny Boatman.  He said "Thanks, I'm off to PTR him."
Johnny_Drama told me to leave his table so as not to scare away the super hot girl on the rail by his table.
Tom 'Brystmar' Berg also had an aggressive table where some guy two to his left was playing 50/30 and 3 betting 20% to make his life miserable.
Princessdonk was off to a slow start, maybe the result a late night drinking and dancing at Blush.
Taylor Caby is busy giving interviews on his break about Peter Eastgate quitting poker after making over $10 million in tournament winnings since 2008.
And players are back from their second break, it's 150-300 now...
Views: 536
Date Posted: Jul. 7, 3:04pm, 1 Comment
As predicted Day 1B saw an increase in the number of players to nearly 1500 and ended the night with about 1000 players moving on to Day 2. You can sense each day is building in numbers and I had a few more friends or interests to rail during the day. I watched a nasty hand with Brandon Adams which was three bet pre, A's vs. K's, where the flop came A,K,3. The money went in and on the river the other guy hit his one outer to take 90% of Brandon's chips. Phil Galfond arrived after the first level and promptly destroyed his table getting up to 107k. I worked from 10-6 and then headed to the hotel to clean up and head down to the strip.
The CardRunners party was held at El Segundo Sol, a new Mexican restaurant in the Fashion Show Mall across the street from the Wynn. It was a great size for the crowd that showed up. After greeting a couple people I immediately sussed out that the margaritas were the proper call for the night, and were they good. Three went down before I had my first bite of the delicious appetizers. The staff there were very nice and speedy. I was impressed with the service.
It was a good turnout of members, pros and people in the industry. I had a good time talking to with Full Ring specialist SplitSuit, Taylor Caby, Gambler2k4, Andrew Wiggins, Sixpeppers, Brystmar, Dan Cypra from p5s and PND, LatestLines2, Johnny_Drama, Stinger, Jed Weisbluth, Lana, GuiGui_88, Princessdonk, and Kara Scott. There were numerous others I didn't get to chat with, but the margaritas and tasty Mexican appetizers took precedence. Jeff218 lived up to his promise of getting smashed and needed assistance from the trusty CR support crew of Jesse, Swinney and others to escort him to safety. They were begging people to take as much CR swag as possible and some people had bags full of nice shirts. I just grabbed a silver embossed CR can opener key chain as a quick momento.
About midnight, things finally broke up. Princessdonk's roomate, high rise specialist realtor Ashley, had booked a table at Blush at Wynn on Tuesday night, which is industry night and one of the few nights it's consistently packed. So I headed over to their dance floor table to party and dance with Ashley, mindcirkus, Mrs. Sixpeppers, guigui_88, Princessdonk, stackedU and 3-4 other cash game guys I didn't really know. A couple people got wasted and needed help out, but I decided to wind down as I had to work today and called it quits a little after 2.
Walking into the Rio today, you could sense that things are picking up. The Carnival World Cafe was packed and the crowds in the halls were bigger than normal. Most of the CardRunners crew is playing today, so it should be a long fun day to follow.
Views: 702
Date Posted: Jul. 6, 8:08pm, 3 Comments

Sunglasses and hat at poker tableConcealment is the art of obscuring something from view.  In live poker, players will employ various means of concealment to prevent other players from picking up information on them.  At the World Series of Poker, the two most popular means of concealment employed are hats and sunglasses, with the occasional hoodie. In May, Daniel Negreanu had urged players and tournament directors in his blog to lesson the wearing of sunglasses at the table.  It appears to have had an effect.

I took some time today to walk the Amazon and Pavilion rooms to gauge the prevalence of hats and sunglasses. With over 120 tables as my sample, the average table has 3.5 people wearing hats and 2 players wearing sunglasses.  Players wearing hoodies over their heads come in at less than .3 per table.  Of course some tables may have 5 players wearing hats and 4 wearing sunglasses, but those were the clear averages when all the tables were factored in.   Baseball hats are the most popular style of hat worn by far.  Sunglass use varies from constantly to only employed when people play a particular hand. 
Walking around, it made me curious if there has ever been a study done to determine a correlation between the wearing of hat and/or sunglasses on their relative results.  Do they really make a difference, or is it simply a comfort or fashion statement? 
Views: 552
Date Posted: Jul. 6, 1:46pm, 1 Comment
The first day of this year's Main Event was less than overwhelming.  There weren't a lot of prominent players in the  Day 1A field of 1125.  Grey Raymer gave the "shuffle up and deal" offering and then proceeded to be one of the first out when he gave away a ton of chips by overplaying his top pair and flush draw against a set.  Michael Mizrachi quietly went about destroying his featured table to end the day around 100k and 4th in chips.  Around 800 players moved on to Day 2A.
No friends were playing the first day. So with no personal interests to rail, when I was invited to Prime for dinner I took off early.  I met a few Icon status UB players for a nice meal overlooking the Bellagio fountains.  When the $1200 bill came, they wanted to do credit card roulette, but since I didn't drink or eat as much, I decided to buy out.
We headed over to the elegant Mandarin Oriental, to the beautiful 23rd floor bar where a UB party was going on.  Unfortunately, the lady at the door was being a real stickler and didn't honor the +1 aspect to invites despite my being with several Icon players.  So I walked down to watch the Bellagio night fountain show.  I texted Jeff218 and he was hanging out across the street at Bally's with the CR support staff crew, so I went over to hang with them for a while.  We BS'ed for a while and then I headed back to GC to catch my first decent night of sleep in a while.
Views: 569
Date Posted: Jul. 5, 8:40pm, 1 Comment

Each year the WSOP makes improvements and adjustments. Some improvements that I have liked:

  • The press area is more efficient, and communication clearer.
  • The tiered press rows in two corners of the Amazon room are nice, in addition to the media room.
  • The internet access and speed is the best it's ever been
  • You receive one daily $10 food voucher that usually gets you most of a lunch.
  • The poker kitchen is  centrally located, well set up, clean and open feeling.
  • Fewer vendors selling
  • All the winners and their bracelet pictures on display on the stage in main satellite poker room.
  • They covered up Russ Hamiltons's picture...he is a black mark on poker.
  • Fan access is much easier than the past.
  • Haven't felt like second class press, so far.  There is often a clear hierarchy exhibited.
  • Sign ups, movement of money etc seems to be flowing smoothly
  • Relaxed logo attitudes
  • No more catered drinks and food for the media.
  • No more gaming life expo, which on good years was interesting to see various poker themed company offerings.
  • Media event is later this year, so I will miss it.
  • They still err on the minimum room between some tables.
  • Fewer fans here watching
  • Didn't always promote their big events well (e.g. $25k 6 max)
  • When running multiple tournaments, it's not clear who is playing where
  • So many players seem to be distracted on an Iphone at the table, surfing the net etc.
Views: 610
Date Posted: Jul. 5, 6:04pm, 1 Comment
Vegas fireworksAfter my day at the Rio, I got dressed and headed down to Caesar's to the Everest rooftop party at Pure.  I was late in arriving because I was waiting on a friend who was still playing in a Sunday online tourney.  I arrived 10 minutes before the fireworks went off overhead, which is always spectacular being so close while being served drinks and hors d'oeuvres.  I ran into a new affiliate friend who was taking photos and also chatted with Brian Townsend, Kara Scott, Nick Wealthal.  The crowd is definitely Euro dominated, but I saw Patrik Bruel and Isabelle Mercier.  As my friends were just getting in the airport and the other was still in her tourney, I decided to leave instead of hanging out in Pure afterwards alone.  They were having the Bodog party downstairs and I passed Evelyn Ng and Lex Veldhuis on the way out.
I decided to walk down the strip, taking in the Mirage show and the always colorful people watching on the strip on my way to the Wynn.  I passed Tom 'Brystmar' Berg coming out of La Reve, who was headed out to a Sixpeppers party.  I then met up with Princessdonk, who got 4th in her tourney, and GuiGui_88, one of the true beasts of mid stakes online poker, who I had never met before.  We hung out for hours eating, chatting, and drinking until 4:30 when I left them at the roulette table to head back home to catch some sleep befoe the Main Event today at noon.
The Main Event day 1A has kicked off an Greg Raymer gave the inaugural "shuffle up and deal" lead off only to be one of the first bustouts from this year along with Nick Shulman.  Things feel more subdued than other years, but as usual most players want to wait until the latter days to play.  Evander Holyfield drew quite a crowd out in the halls as he posed for pictures with fans.  That's it for now...
Views: 580
Date Posted: Jul. 4, 10:08pm, 0 Comments
I had a very international upbringing, having grown up in several countries in Africa and attending international schools.  I have also had periods of my life where I've been in very homogeneous communities.  Where I live now, outside Portland, Oregon, would fall into that category.  Last week, as I was visiting family around New York City, I was exposed to the vast diversity that exists there.  Everyone seems to be from somewhere else. There is something to be said for each situation.  There is a certain constant stimulation being surrounded by various cultures and also a real comfort when amongst familiarity.
This year's WSOP continues the trend of the last few years of embracing the diversity of cultures.  When Harrah’s purchased the WSOP in 2004, its tournaments attracted players from 24 nations. In 2005, that number grew to 54, rising again in 2007 to 87 nations.  The internationalization peaked in 2008 at 124 countries represented, before going to 115 countries in 2009 and so far this year at 107 countries represented with a couple days before the Main Event start.  As you walk the halls of the Rio, you are more likely than ever to hear an accent or foreign language.
Each poker player brings a different perspective, history and attitude that is healthy for the game.  Poker is a game that is energized by new ideas and approaches.  The poker economy by its very predatory nature requires new players to feed its appetite.  What started out as a very American game has now become a global interest.  Managed properly, it could become a global passion.  So while you may pine for the 'clubby' familiarity of a home game, if the game is to prosper, we need to embrace the diversity of its increasingly global players.
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