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Best of Vin Narayanan

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WSOP Main Event weaves its own tapestry on Day 2C

11 July 2013

LAS VEGAS -- When 2,306 players sit down to play poker -- as they did at the second Day 2 of the World Series of Poker Main Event Wednesday -- a single narrative rarely emerges. The tournament is too big and too fractured for one story line to encompass it. What you end up seeing is a series of vignettes. The vignettes, which individually are pretty interesting, form a larger mosaic that is the Main Event.

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Laura Green and Scott Born just got married. And what did they do to honeymoon? They played in the Main Event. They started at separate tables. But on Wednesday, they ended up at the same table, with one seat in between them.

When I took this picture, Laura had more chips, and Scott looked like he was in a bit of pain.

Both husband and wife made it to Day 3. Green ended with 42,000 and Born had 32,500.

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When play began Joe Serock wasn't in his seat. He was being blinded off, and nobody knew why. Then he showed up at the Main Event -- and on Twitter -- and the story came out. I'd tell the story myself, but his tweets do it more justice.

Laura Green and Scott Born (far right) just got married and are playing in the Main Event during their honeymoon.

Laura Green and Scott Born (far right) just got married and are playing in the Main Event during their honeymoon. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)













Nate Silver, true to his reputation, knows how to think his way through the game.

Nate Silver, true to his reputation, knows how to think his way through the game. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

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It's not often the old poker cliche "chip and a chair" actually comes into play. But I had a chance to witness a player agonize over whether or not to put himself in that position.

As the players were going to break, Nate Silver -- the analytics genius (and if you don't read him, you really should) who authors the FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times -- raised all in against a player that had one lone 5,000 chip remaining. For minutes, the player agonized. He tried asking Silver questions and received no response. He twisted and turned, got up and then sat back down. After about five minutes, he folded and showed he had an ace-high flush. Silver showed his cards to the player before mucking -- it looked like Silver had a full house.

"I thought I got there on the river," the player said. "But I didn't." He busted out of the tournament later in the day, as did Silver.

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The media tournament gives journalists covering the Main Event a chance to have a little fun, and play on the same tables being used in the Main Event. The goal for most of us is to enjoy the free pizza, have some laughs and play some poker with actual dealers. It's basically a home game for the media and it's a lot of fun.

We all want to play well because, after watching 10 hours of poker a day for two straight weeks (or one straight month depending on the reporter), you'd like to think you picked up a thing or two. Most of us are also fans of the game and any opportunity to play is nice.

Humberto Brenes (on the phone) and Allen Kessler (far right) wandered over to watch the media tournament Wednesday.

Humberto Brenes (on the phone) and Allen Kessler (far right) wandered over to watch the media tournament Wednesday. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

I finished 14th in a field of 105 players. Not bad. My "Degree All-In Moment" came when I pushed all in with Ax-7x and ran into Ax-Jx and pocket kings. I flopped two sevens and tripled up.

I won't go into my elimination at the hands of the Italian luck box playing poker for the first time (OK, his name is Andreas Nunez and he's a really nice guy). Suffice it to say it took a moment for the table and dealer to realize I'd lost. It took me more than a few moments to realize I'd lost.

"You want to know what you won?" asked WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla with a big grin on his face.

"What?" I asked.

"Sympathy," responded Nolan.

The media tournament was being played in the Brasilia Room, where part of the Main Event was being played. Humberto Brenes and Allen Kessler showed up to watch the end. We were happy to have Kessler there so someone could complain about the tournament structure.

Sean McGlashan from 888 Poker reached the final table and won a set of WSOP poker chips. The irony? He won the chips the last time he played in the tournament. And in his role as VIP marketing and community manager, he gives away poker chips to players all the time.

Nunez finished in fifth. Lynn Gilmartin from PokerNews finished in third and she was thrilled to receive a trophy.

"This is the first trophy I've ever won," she said.

Bluff Magazine's Dave Ferrara won the whole thing.

Many thanks to the WSOP for putting the tournament together. It was a lot of fun. I look forward to playing it in the future.

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Phil Hellmuth was very talkative near the end of the night.

Phil Hellmuth was very talkative near the end of the night. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Just across the way in the Brasilia Room, Phil Hellmuth was standing up. He was all in and looming over the table.

"What's your name?" asked the elderly gentleman who was trying to decide whether to call.

"Phil," said Hellmluth.

Everyone at the table chuckled. He was the only person in the room that didn't know he was in a hand with the great Phil Hellmuth.

The player thought Hellmuth was bluffing, but folded. Hellmuth then turned his attention to the other players at the table.

"You might be next," Hellmuth told the player two seats to his left. "You might get my chips next. But I guarantee I'll be ahead when we get it in."

"I'm in a gambling mood," he told the player to his immediate left. "Just try me. I'm not going to fold to you."

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During the opening days of the Main Event it's easy to forget that in addition to being poker's top tournament, the Main Event is also a giant television show.

But Wednesday brought a reminder that the TV cameras (or at least a lot more of them) are on the way. The ESPN crew set four "secondary tables" and had producers sit at the table and play several hands so they could test the lighting and cameras.

And construction continued on the main TV stadium stage to get it broadcast ready.

The ESPN crew played some poker to test the cameras and lighting for the secondary tables.

The ESPN crew played some poker to test the cameras and lighting for the secondary tables. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

Notable chip stacks
Mark Kroon 530,000
Michael Mizrachi 325,100
Jean-Robert Bellande 321,000
Christian Harder 191,000
Phil Ivey 190,000
Bertrand Grospellier 181,000
Phil Hellmuth 161,000
Phil Collins 146,500
Robert Mizrachi 83,000
Allen Kessler 71,000

Notable eliminations
Jason Mercier
Joe Hachem
Joseph Cheong
Jennifer Harman
Gerard Pique
Vanessa Selbst
Daniel Negreanu
Jamie Gold
Roberto Luongo
Chris DeMaci
Allyn Jaffrey Shulman
A.J. Jejelowo
Nam Le
Nick Schulman
Adam Levy
Bryan Devonshire
Tom Dwan
Tatjana Pasalic
WSOP Main Event weaves its own tapestry on Day 2C is republished from CasinoVendors.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.