After James Garner told the players, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” I sweated the ESPN Feature Table for the first level. I used to have 20/20 eyesight, but alas it is deteriorating before my eyes. It’s very difficult to sit and watch the feature table as you can’t really see chips or cards unless they are showing them on one of the screens.
So I sat there for an hour or so, and something just didn’t seem right. One of the alternates sitting next to me had a tourney sheet with blind structure, and it said the first level was $25/50 blinds. I sat and watched the screen when they would show some betting, and it absolutely looked like the small blind checked or the pot would have some odd amount pre-flop like $75. Finally, after ninety minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore and found a tourney official. I asked him to sneak over and see what blinds they were playing, and sure enough they were playing $25/25 while the rest of the room plugged away at $25/50. I felt a little dirty, but justice prevailed.
Sari Bickford (in red) from ESPN. My new buddy, as she gave me the names of everyone at the table. Several cashes plus Scotty Nguyen.
Maurice Hawkins from Hollywood, Florida. “I’m stupid,” he told me. “I finished 30th in a Bellagio tournament and 90th in a $1.5k event here, but I waited around too late and now I’m an alternate.” He then talked on and on about any and everything. He told about playing with the Grinder and Mike the Mouth trying to prey on some guy in the Bahamas with $60k in front of him. Then he’d see a hand and call the cards of everyone in the hand and what they were going to do (“He’s flopped a set of queens this time, and the 4s is going to keep betting into him.”). Note to self: if I see Maurice, The Grinder, and Mike the Mouth come to my table, rack up my $60k and call it a night.
Speak of the devil.
Erika Schoenberg from Mansion Poker. She gave me a little wince when I asked how she was doing, so hopefully she’ll plug along.
James Garner goes all-in blind, short-stacked at the table. The guy to his left calls, along with the 10s chip leader at the table. The flop comes Q-10-3 rainbow, and the 2s bets the 10s out of the pot, then turns over A-10o. The table is ready to boo him mercilessly if he knocks out Maverick, but Garner flips over Q-3 off for two-pair and a triple up.
Banana for sustenance, just like Tiger Woods. As my camera battery died, they were breaking a table with Gus Hansen and Juha Helppi sitting two seats apart. Good riddance, I’m sure they both thought.
Tex Barch, only 8700 or so players away from bettering his 3rd place finish last year. He’s got a few chippies, so he’s off to a nice start.
NOTE: Quest of a Clost Poker Player has a new Manager of Quality Control, Matt Matros. Matt pointed out that indeed they had alternates in the Main Event two years ago. We at Quest of a Closet Poker Player regret the error, stating earlier that this was an unprecedented incident. I wasn’t sure anyone actually read much of this, but at least Matt is on top of it. He invited me to join his WSOP pool (pick any 25), but I couldn’t find him in time. I came in 2nd in his World Cup pool, donking off the winnings trying to get a seat in the Stars 150-seat guarantee tourney. One guy I met told me he stole ten consecutive blinds from the button in that tourney, basically never played a hand, one a pot, then figured he didn’t have to play another hand and would win a seat. So much for my poker prowess, I guess…