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Best of Vin Narayanan

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Texas Dolly decides to play, but is eliminated from WSOP

7 July 2011

LAS VEGAS -- The World Series of Poker Main Event kicked off Thursday with Doyle Brunson, who earlier had announced he wasn’t planning on playing in poker's marquee event, changing his mind and sitting at ESPN’s featured table after asking dealers to "shuffle up and deal." Six hours later, Brunson was eliminated from the tournament he hadn’t really wanted to play in the first place.

After busting out of the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship earlier in the week, Brunson tweeted that he wouldn't be playing in the Main Event.

"No main event for me," tweeted Brunson. “Maybe the DOJ will stake me."

Public reaction from fans and fellow players alike poured in imploring Brunson to play the $10,000 no-limit Hold'em event, which typically draws the largest field and creates the biggest prize pool of any live poker tournament in a given year. The two-time Main Event champion and winner of 10 WSOP bracelets remained firm in his resolve not to play in this year's Main Event, however.

"Tx for all the tweets about my skipping the main event," Brunson wrote on Twitter. "It's not about money, I've lost a lot of passion for the game since Black Friday," Brunson added, referring to the indictments of the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. (Earlier this year, Brunson ended his involvement with Doyles Room, an online poker site that still bears his name.)

Doyle Brunson eventually decided to play in the WSOP Main Event, but he was eliminated on Day 1A.

Doyle Brunson eventually decided to play in the WSOP Main Event, but he was eliminated on Day 1A. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

As the Main Event approached, Brunson began facing more questions about why he wasn't playing in the Main Event.

"I didn't mean to start such a tizzy over not playing the Main Event," Brunson tweeted. "I'm not trying to make a statement, like [Phil] Ivey, I'm just gonna pass."

"I've had a lot of personal problems for the past 8 months and as I said earlier Murphys Law is in effect. Don't make a big deal about the ME," Brunson said on Twitter.

But Brunson's friend and fellow pro, Dewey Tomko, wouldn't let it go.

"My friend Dewey Tompko [sic] said he was entering me in the ME," Brunson wrote on Twitter. "If I don't play, they will ante me off. I don't want to play! #veryconfused."

And while Brunson didn't want to play, he eventually gave in to Tomko.

"Stop it. I entered myself just like always," tweeted Brunson. "Dewey just pushed me to it. It's hard to believe some people."

"Ok, I officially am playing the ME," Brunson said on Twitter a little later. "Do I feel good? No. Do I want to play? No. Am I playing my best? No. Am I gonna try my best? Damn right!!"

Jason Alexander knocked Vanessa Selbst out of the Main Event.

Jason Alexander knocked Vanessa Selbst out of the Main Event. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Brunson did try his best, but he was eliminated just before the dinner break (which comes after three levels of play) when his pocket fives didn't hold up against the ace-queen of Steve Costello. Before the flop, Brunson re-raised all-in with his remaining 4,375 chips and Costello called. An ace and queen hit on the flop, and no miracle five came on the turn or river to save Brunson.

Brunson wasn't the only Main Event champ playing in Day 1A's field of 897 players. Another two-time champion, Johnny Chan, was also in Thursday's field and survived the day. Greg Raymer, the 2004 Main Event champion, busted out about 20 minutes after Brunson did. Jerry Yang, the 2007 champion, was eliminated earlier in the day.

One player wishing he had not played today was Josh Arieh. In fact, Arieh is probably wishing the last few days were just a nightmare. After building up a sizable chip stack in the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship and briefly holding the chip lead, Arieh busted out in 13th place on Tuesday. Yes, Arieh won $124,723. But he was in position to do some serious damage in that tournament.

After falling hard on Tuesday, Arieh couldn't find any traction in the Main Event today. With a board reading Qd-6s-4s, Arieh called an all-in raise of about 20,000 chips with his remaining 19,000. Arieh had Ad-Qs, but his opponent showed 6h-4h for two pair. The two pair held up and knocked Arieh out of the tournament.

One of the more interesting tables Thursday was the one featuring Vanessa Selbst, Matt Glantz (who finished fifth in the Poker Player's Championship last night/this morning), Barry Shulman and Jason Alexander of "Seinfeld" fame.

Early on, it was Alexander getting the best of these pros as he built his chip stack up to over 60,000 after three levels. Selbst had nearly 19,000 after three levels, while Glantz had 31,000 and Shulman had 28,000. And after the dinner break, Alexander knocked Selbst out of the tournament.

After a flop of 7s-3h-2c, Selbst bet 1,300. Alexander raised to almost 3,000 and Selbst pushed all-in. Alexander called and showed pocket deuces for a set. Selbst had 7h-6h for a pair of sevens. Alexander's set held up, and Selbst was out of the tournament. Alexander ended the night with about 60,000 in chips.

When Day 1A action ended, 558 players remained from the original field of 897. Those players will join the Day 1C survivors to form Monday's Day 2A field. Day 1C action begins at noon on Saturday. Day 1B action begins at noon on Friday.

Tatjana Pasalic is always a fan favorite.

Tatjana Pasalic is always a fan favorite. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Players of note still alive after Day 1A include Annette Obrestad, "Miami" John Cernuto, Bill Chen, Tatjana Pasalic, Matt Glantz and Lex Veldhuis.

Among the other notable players to bust out of the Main Event on Day 1 were T.J. Cloutier, Antoine Saout, Matt Affleck, Adam Levy, Tom Schneider, Isaac Haxton, Faraz Jaka, Johnny "World" Hennigan and Evelyn Ng, who busted on the final hand of the night.
Texas Dolly decides to play, but is eliminated from WSOP is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.