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Best of Vin Narayanan
Hellmuth fighting back from costly error11 July 2011
Hellmuth ended Day 1C on Saturday with 11,800 after making his usual highly choreographed late arrival. He was blinded off to about 25,000 Saturday during the more than four hours of play he missed. And he never gained any traction at the table when has was there.
Hellmuth, along with the Day 1C survivors, was scheduled to join Thursday's Day 1A survivors to form Monday's Day 2A field of 2,031 players. But when cards hit the air shortly after noon, Hellmuth was nowhere to be found.
By 1 p.m., players at Hellmuth's table were talking about how low his chip stack was getting. TV cameras were circling his table waiting for him to make an entrance. And photographers (including me) were taking pictures of Hellmuth's chip stack and empty chair.
As his chip stack dwindled to below 7,000, Hellmuth caught three breaks that saved him the embarrassment of being blinded out of the tournament.
First, Day 2A started 10 minutes late because the "Shuffle up and deal" ceremony ran a bit long.
Next, his table became involved in a complicated hand where there was an error in an all-in.
After the chips had been shipped, it was discovered that one of the players had been shorted 5,000. It took about 10 minutes for the floor to resolve that issue, and Hellumth's stack dodged a few antes.
Hellmuth's third break came when Mike Matusow saw some Twitter chatter about Hellmuth's non-appearance and came to the rescue.
According to Matusow's Twitter feed, he told security to enter Hellmuth's room at Aria and wake him up because he was playing in the Main Event. Of course, Matusow gave Hellmuth grief for this on Twitter.
"@phil_hellmuth is such a idiot hes [sic] getting blinded off has 5k left has his phoneoff [sic] and a do not disturb on his phone at hotel," wrote Matusow on Twitter.
"sorry @phil_hellmuth that you4 [sic] wsop comes to a nd [sic] this way i even got them to ring inside your room wtih a do not disturb on it," tweeted Matusow.
Hellmuth made it to the Rio at 1:50 with 20 minutes left in the level.
When he arrived, he told Dan Shak (who was sitting at his table) that he thought he was playing on Tuesday. Shaun Deeb visited from an adjacent table to see what caused Hellmuth to arrive late.
"I didn't know I was playing today until a security guard busted in and told me I was playing in the Main Event," Hellmuth told Deeb.
"You’re the only person I know who wouldn't show up here in a robe," Deeb told Hellmuth. "You're here in your hockey jersey and hat -- do you sleep in those?"
"I learned you could do 70 down some of these side streets," laughed Hellmuth.
When Hellmuth tweeted that he didn't know that he was playing the Main Event that day, Matusow had a quick response on Twitter.
"@phil_hellmuth yea [sic] i had them break in you idiot least you know who your friends are."
Hellmuth told Shak the confusion stemmed from the fact that he had planned on playing Sunday (Day 1D) and Tuesday (Day 2B), but changed plans to support a charity of his on Sunday and played Saturday instead.
Shak told Hellmuth that had he known that was Hellmuth's chip stack, he would have asked WSOP officials to find him.
"I'm your friend, Phil," Shak said. "You know I would have tried to wake you up and get you here."
And while Shak might be Hellmuth's friend, he wasn't going to let him get off easy.
"Didn't you hear them announce it [Day 2A]?" Shak asked. "Didn't you see it posted on the Internet or on Twitter?"
Hellmuth's only response was a tight-lipped one. "I turned all the phones off, so it wouldn't matter."
Hellmuth didn't let his late arrival or short stack affect his play, however. The WSOP Player of the Year candidate kept grinding away, and finished the night with a remarkable 64,900 chips.
Meanwhile Deeb seemed to find his mojo after needling Hellmuth about his late arrival. Deeb, who started the day with 62,225 in chips, tore through the Day 2A field and ended the day with 294,700.
One player who rode the Main Event roller coaster Monday was former Victory Poker CEO Dan Fleyshman. Fleyshman began the day with 40,800 in chips and was seated at a table that had more than 672,000 chips in play. But Fleyshman held his own against the bigger stacks at his table for most of the night and ran his chip count up to over 120,000. But in the last 30 minutes of the day, Fleyshman rode that roller coaster back down to 44,300.
The chip leaders at the end of Day 2A were Aleksandr Mozhnyakov (478,600), Tuan Vo (434,500), Stephane Albertini (400,100), Guillaume Darcourt (395,000) and Wilfried Haerig (366,000).
Other notable players advancing to Day 3 of the Main Event include Shak (182,600), Daniel Negreanu (114,100), Annette Obrestad (90,500), Jason Alexander (167,000), Brad Garrett (46,000), Tom McEvoy (143,600), Adam Junglen (131,600), Josh Brikis (72,000) and Raymond Rahme (125,500).
Hellmuth wasn't the only player who couldn't make it to his seat on time Monday. Carter Gill's chip stack disappeared without his ever taking his seat on Day 2A. Gill was recently banned from all Caesars properties after throwing clothes belonging to a woman out the window. Gill started the day with 49,000 chips.
While the Hellmuth and Gill chip stacks were disappearing, several top players saw their Main Event journeys come to an end.
Former Main Event champs Jonathan Duhamel, Scotty Nguyen, Dan Harrington and Johnny Chan all busted out of the tournament.
Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce learned the hard way that it doesn't take long to go from a sizable chip stack to no chip stack at all. Just prior to the dinner break, Pierce had close to 90,000 chips. Two hours later, he was eliminated from the tournament. All is not lost for Pierce, however. With the NBA in the midst of what is expected to be a lengthy lockout, he will have plenty of time to work on his poker game.
Eric Baldwin busted out of the tournament when his straight draw ran into Matt Livingston's nut flush. Sammy Farha was eliminated when his nut flush draw and top pair (aces) couldn't catch up with David O'Neill's set of eights.
Tatjana Pasalic didn't survive the first level. Neither did Allen Kessler. Andy Bloch, Marcel Luske, Filippo Candio, Bernard Lee, Barry Shulman, Andrew Robl, Gavin Smith, Bill Chen and Maria Ho were among the other notable players who failed to advance to Day 3 of the tournament.
Best of Vin Narayanan