The day began with Event #4, the $1.5k PLH event. 781 players turned out to play this version of poker rarely dealt on this side of the Atlantic. Pot limit hold-em is a game of post-flop play, where strong hands require more than a shove and hope when ahead.
Gavin Smith played strong at the back of the Amazon Room, staying set in his seat as one player after another rotated in and out around him. Other strong players through most of the day included Freddy Deeb, Vanessa Selbst, and Marco Traniello.
Several players who busted out early headed to the one-of-a-kind $2.5k Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8 or Better, also known as Event #5, aka OSCSHLEOB. Since hardly anyone could figure out exactly what that meant, it was filled with the upper crust of poker. Braniacs like Bill Chen and Chris Ferguson were joined by just about every top veteran player and many top newbies ready to figure it out on the fly.
For those of us who rarely play these games, it was strange to watch. Antes, bring-in's, and completes alternated with blinds, wrap around draws, and made hands that were somehow behind. For those who played mixed games frequently, it was a seamless transition. Players used different color chips to ensure events could remain separate.
In the midst of these two events sat the Day 2 of the $1.5k NLH event. The record crowd from Day 1 had turned into 270 players who were all in the money to start the day. Many of them must have had a buffet. Tables lost players so quickly that the floor couldn't keep up with all the bustouts. Railbirds huddled around this event, and the lower buy-in brought the screamers out. If you remember, screamers shout things like, "One time!" "That's what I'm talking about!" and "Yessssss!" when they hit a card.
The Final Table of Event #1, the $5k NLH/LH Championship, was held in the corner of the Amazon Room on the elaborate ESPN set. A raised area outfitted to be like a hip nightclub overlooked the table and cameras, with four plasma screens above to show the televised action. It had the appearance of what ESPN will broadcast, with the smooth look of the regular telecasts. The action however was hidden in the corner, and the rest of the room were left out of the action.
It was a dizzying spectacle for those permitted inside of the ropes. For the spectators gathered, it was a great opportunity to see the greatest players in poker up close in action. For those traveling to Vegas, these types of days are the best times to come out and take in the scenery.