PHIL LAAK was circling about the cash-game area last night. He was carrying a backpack, wearing his aviator sunglasses, and a T-shirt that said, "Support Your Local Pole Workers" - an homage to strippers in Las Vegas. He didn't sit down and play, but he was sweating a few friends and checking out the action in the higher-stakes games - which seem to be getting juicier. Would not be surprised to see him playing here soon.
KARINA JETT'S MOTHER continues to grind it out at the $2/$5 no-limit hold'em tables. She cashed out at about 1 am last night - for just under $1,100. Upon racking her chips, she also packed up a portable footstool/chair/purse combo and carried it off on her shoulder.
Former Crew member BRETT JUNGBLUT was playing $100/point Chinese Poker at the Rio. It was hard to tell if he was winning or losing - and none of the people at his table seemed to be regular players - but they all seemed to be having a jolly good time.
Meanwhile, SCOTT LEVY, an up-and-coming pro from Dallas, found himself "stuck pretty bad" in the $10/$25 no-limit game. But putting some 16+ hours at the table, he was able to claw his way out of the hole, turning a paltry $350 stack into $9,000.
They've added a $2/$5 POT-LIMIT OMAHA 8-OR-BETTER game to the WSOP poker-room line-up, responding to a growing player demand for the four-card variant of the game. But the biggest game of the day was the $25/$25 PLO. You've read about the stacks of hundreds in front of the high-stakes players ... and they are clearly growing in thickness at all the high- (and even medium-) stakes tables.
The BIG STACK IN PLO last night had between $20,000 and $25,000 in front of him. More than double that of his nearest competitor - the kind of ammo that can prove quite effective in bullying the table. But it is at risk, and before long the whole wad can end up in the hands of a guy pounding beers, wearing peculiar sunglasses, and making bad jokes to random passersby - such as the guy seen above who, in two key hands, found himself scooping up almost all the bills that were previously stacked in a nice, neat pile the size of a chalkboard eraser.
Rule disputes are inevitable in any poker room, and especially one like the WSOP's live-action sector, as it draws players and dealers from all across the world, where small house variants can create multiple discrepancies in interpretations of Robert's Rules of Poker. One such situation floor had to handle last night in a $5/$10 No-Limit Hold'em game is a common one about EXPOSED HANDS - and in doing so revealed just how the WSOP cash games handle this often contentious rule issue. A player faced with an all-in decision from across the table flashed his hole cards in an attempt to get a read. She wanted to know if that made his hand dead. It did not.
Basically, you are not allowed to reveal your hand - except when it's heads-up. At that point, pretty much anything goes. Unless someone complains. If even one uninvolved player protests, the floor will cut out all hand-exposure right there, disallowing it in any capacity for the duration of the game.
Also, if someone exposes their cards as they are folding to another player who has already folded ... any other player can request to see those cards - under a provision of "show one show all" - and the dealer will make his or her best effort to preserve them until after the hand is complete, at which point they will be turned over for all to see.
The floor staff will almost always give a warning first. "We're not in the business of killing hands at the Rio," says FLOOR MANAGER Joshua Treger. "That's not what we do."