About three or four miles from the Rio, a bank robber walked into a Wells Fargo near UNLV. He shot an armored car guard in the face then fled down the street. I know about this because Flipchip happened to be coming back from the doctor at the same time and got caught up in the traffic caused by crime scene investigators. I didn't think anyone actually robbed banks anymore. Like my buddy Stormy said, Las Vegas is full of dumb people.
North Las Vegas is a place where you hope you never end up after sundown. Over the weekend, the local law enforcement officials experienced one of the worst incidents of gun violence in recent memory. Seven people were shot at a party/BBQ and one person was declared dead on the scene. That's the type of bad luck that festers just outside the city limits.
And how about the three hookers getting busted at the Rio? They were a part of a bigger prostitution ring involving a cheerleading coach who moonlights as a Madame. She ran a high end hooker business that allegedly serviced high profile clients such as Bill Clinton and Shaq. I always knew Slick Willy liked high end pussy. The ladies for hire cost at least $10,000 and they only got a meager 15% cut. It pays to be a pimp.
Of course, those are stories that may never make its way out of the desert. They might get passed around the poker table like old ladies gossiping in a knitting circle, but they rarely reach mainstream eyes.
It's fitting that I start this post with an old fashioned bank robbery. The event that I covered on Day 12 was the $1,500 NL Shootout. It featured some of the top pros in a tough 900 person field. Originally, they capped the event at 800. Due to the high interest in players, they bumped the starting time to 12:30 so they could accommodate and extra 100 players who wanted to play.
Round 1 featured ten-handed tables. They would end when there would be one player left on 90 tables. Every player who advanced to Round 2 made the money. Places 10-90 paid the same amount and the real money is at the final table. Round 2 would begin at 9pm where those 90 players would also play ten-handed on 9 tables. The winner of each of the nine tables would advance to Round 3 which is the final table slated for Wednesday at 2pm.
Brandon Schaefer and Shirley Rosario both won their first table and advanced to Round 2. Shirley picked up a tough draw with Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, and Jerrod Ankenman at her table. She would end up in 38th place with her first ever WSOP cash while Brandon Schaefer almost won his second table of the day. He busted out in 20th place when he lost heads up to Erick Lindgren. So close.
Event #21 $1,500 NL Shoot Out Final Table:All player start with 300K in chips. First place wins $264K and a bracelet. Erick Lindgren is often mentioned as one of the best NL Hold'em tournament players never to have won a bracelet. Let's see if he can end that drought.
Seat 1 - Donald Baruch
Seat 2 - Daniel Negreanu
Seat 3 - Jared Davis
Seat 4 - Thomas Fuller
Seat 5 - Frederick Goldberg
Seat 6 - Brendan Lee
Seat 7 - Michael Wehner
Seat 8 - Doug Baughman
Seat 9 - Erick Lindgren
The Ladies Championship was being held in the Bluff Tent which meant that the public could not watch Sally Boyer take down the bracelet. Katja Thater busted out in 5th place. I covered the Day 2 of that event and asked to be taken off the final table because of the restrictions put in place. I guess that's my way of boycotting the terrible idea.
One official explained to me how in the bigger picture it's great for poker because more people can watch the final table versus the hundred or so that could crowd the final table stage to see the event live. I understood his point, but in the end, the idea was set in place to generate income under the guise of "what's best for poker."
I have no illusions at what is going on, so I scoffed at the absurdity of having to withhold our coverage for one hour just so someone can make a quick buck. Everyone in the Rio knows who busted out, but having to wait an hour to report it seems foolish. Even if people know the outcome, they will watch it anyway. Although some of the viewers are friends or relatives of the final table players, the majority if people who bought the service are poker fans and will want to watch the final table despite the outcome. The WSOP final table gets reported on by hundreds of outlets. Everyone knew Jamie Gold won several weeks before it was aired on ESPN. Did that deter people from watching? No. Same goes for WPT events. We already know who won certain events and that information is available to the public. Yet people watch it anyway.
Yeah, 12 days into the WSOP, the Bluff Tent (or the Black Hole or the Sequestarium) is the biggest bust about the WSOP. The shitty cards issue was fixed. The long lines are much shorter. The food still sucks but players, fans, and media have been bitching about the absurdity of the hidden final table since their first broadcast. Mike Matusow said he'd boycott the final table if he makes one and will encourage the rest of the players to do the same. I'd like to see what happens if the Mouth goes deep in an event because the Bluff Tent is here to stay.
In other news, Humberto Brenes played in six WSOP events and cashed in three. He also made his third final table at this year's series. Maybe the Shark can finally break through and win a bracelet this year in Event #19 $2,500 NL?
In Event #20 $2,000 Stud Hi/Lo, Greg Raymer made his second final table of this year's WSOP. He's third in chips. Ted Forrest finished in 10th place in the same event. The Fossilman is seeking his second bracelet.
I was supposed to cover the final table of The Shootout with Erick Lindgren and Daniel Negreanu. I heard rumors that their final table will be moved to the black hole in the center of the Rio called the Bluff Tent. Origianlly, the $2,500 NL final table was on their schedule. It appears that was changed at the last minute to boost sales. I'll do my best to get switched so I can cover either Fossilman or Humberto's final table.
Bouncin Round the Room on Day 12
A dealer named Claudia walked over to media row on the floor of the Amazon Ballroom. "Maybe this will help you sleep with all those loud lawn mowers," she said and handed me a small vial. I asked her if it contained drugs. She told me they were earplugs. She read about my problems sleeping at my apartment in Del Bocca Vista and was kind enough to seek me out and give me the earplugs. Thanks again Claudia!
Phil Hellmuth played in the $1,500 Shootout. Chau Giang walked over and said, "Fuck Phil. You won!" Hellmuth ad Giang joked around for a few minutes before I overhead Hellmuth say, "It's nice to be #1. Whoever bet against me deserves to lose."
Hellmuth seemed distracted during the Shootout. He spent a lot of time away from his table doing phone interviews with various outlets such as USA Today, the AP, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He failed to advance to Round 2.
Bill Chen made a bet with Gavin Smith during the Shootout. Smith bet him $2K that he would not make it to Round 2. Chen picked up that bet.
I watched Barry Greenstein and Jen Harman play their heads-up matches. Both were the final two on their tables. Greenstein won his while Harman lost her match. Both lasted a while. Harman's table was right in front of media row, so I kept a frequent eye on her. She was short-stacked and hung on for almost an hour.
I ate a fruit salad for a third straight day in a row and skipped booze on my dinner break for a second day in a row. I've been having some health issues and I have to think about the bigger picture. Alas, I'm jonesin for a beer and real food.
Over the last three days, I ate at least one meal by myself. I prefer the alone time since I'm never alone aside from when I'm on the shitter. The last thing I want to do on a break is talk or think about poker. The only way to retreat is to hide out by myself in an eatery where no one will find me. I'm an extremely social person, but I crave my alone time. And I desperately need a few moments everyday where the focus is not on poker. My sanity by Day 12 is being tested on all accounts.
Jonno loves steak and eggs. I guess it's not common in Australia. Anyway, he's been ordering room service with a faux-American accent so they understand his order correctly. The funny thing is that his American accent sounds like a stoner kid from The Valley.
I played online poker the other night. I was stuck $400 until I turned a straight flush with 6s-5s in Limit Hold'em. Nothing is better than a capped pot on the river in a three-way pot when you're holding the nuts.
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next to...
1. Per Ummer
2. Jon Little
3. Erick Lindgren
4. Dan Shak
5. Scott Clements
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