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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | The Works

Hee Haw! – Day Three Of The WSOP

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11:30 a.m.

Back for another exciting day of action. Yesterday, before the $1,500 NLHE event kicked off they were playing a mix of hip hop music over the loudspeakers. The D.J. today must be of the older variety as he is playing some 60's rock tunes. It's decent stuff but it just doesn't get your blood pumping like some 50 Cent. Today's day two is expected to sell out, which would bring the total number of players for the Event #2 to over 4,000, a record for a poker tournament that is not the Main Event. At least when the players come in, they throw “Let's Get It Started” over the speakers which leads to dealers starting to dance in their chairs. Thankfully, they don't dance as bad as ESPN poker columnist Gary Wise (I'm not sure that's humanly possible).

12:45 p.m.

Defending Main Event champion Jerry Yang kicked off the tournament by thanking Harrah's and Jeffrey Pollack before saying those words every poker player loves to hear... “shuffle up and deal.”

There are more recognizable faces in the crowd today and some tables even have two or three at the same table. One table contains Erick Lindgren, Victor Ramdin, and David Singer. As I walked by a table close to that one, a star struck poker player grabbed me and said “look at the players at that table, isn't it amazing.” I bet they wish he was at their table, he'd either be buying them dinner or giving them his chips.

Here are just a few of the people I saw playing: Scotty Nguyen, Jamie Gold, Maria Ho, Jennifer Tilly, Michael Mizrachi, Barry Greenstein, Allen Cunningham, Marcel Luske, Chris Ferguson, and the first quasi-celebrity sighting of the WSOP in Mekhi Phifer.

3:00 p.m.

Only Phil Hellmuth would show up for a $1,500 tournament three hours late. Even if everyone folded to his big blind for the previous two and a half levels he'd only have 15 big blinds. Show up he did though, complete in his geeky NASCAR style coveralls. It looked like he was looking around for television cameras to impress but none were to be found. He took his seat next to Mekhi Phifer (yea, like that's a “random” draw) and proceeded to raise Phifer in the very first hand and take the pot down.

3:15 p.m.

The final table for the $10,000 PLHE event is taking a little longer to get underway as ESPN deals with putting microphones on players and dealers and making sure their lighting is correct. Patrik Antonius just sauntered by, in a relaxed mood. He's coming in short stacked so he has nothing to lose but if he can double up one or two times, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Final numbers for the $1,500 event were just announced. Not quite 4,000 players but still a record sized field and first place will get over $800,000.

3:35 p.m.

The PLHE final table finally started and it didn't take long for the first roar from the crowd to go through the Amazon Room when Phil Laak flopped a set of jacks against Patrik Antonius's pocket kings. A bigger roar echoed through the room though when Antonius hit a king on the river to double up. Phil Laak would be the first person out minutes later when he again got jacks but had the misfortune to run into pocket aces.

4:00 p.m.

A player started to celebrate quite loudly as the flop was being dealt. A floor person came over to warn him of excessive celebration and the player said “if I win the hand you can give me a penalty.” Don't know why that made me laugh, but it did.

4:30 p.m.

Last night it took over three hours to eliminate one player in the PLHE event. We've lost three players at the final table already in under an hour. I guess once you've guaranteed to make it on television all the pressure is off.

5:15 p.m.

Just seen... WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla sprinting through the tournament room hoping to avoid someone he didn't want to talk with. If any NFL teams are in need of a middle linebacker, Nolan's your man.

6:00 p.m.

If I've learned one thing in my short time as a poker writer, it is that professionals can play like a donkey just as much as an amateur can. It might not be as prevalent, but it happens a lot more than people would believe. Here's an example I just witnessed. Bradley Berman called a raise in position against an early position raiser. The flop came Q-Q-J and the pre-flop raiser checked. Berman said “I'm all in” which was a bet of I'd guess nearly 10K into a 4K pot. His opponent insta-called him with A-Q and Berman's pocket 4's were in bad shape. No miracle two outer arrived and his day was done. I'm not sure why he felt the need to make such a large bet when he could have made a probe bet of 2-3K and released his hand if his opponent check raised.

At last year's Main Event, I went around having professional poker players take a picture with a pink stuffed kitten in order to win a prop bet. This year as I walk around and see familiar faces, I am asked often where the pink cat is. I guess I'm going to have to do something similar again this year. Anyone want to make a prop bet to get me to do something silly?

Tomorrow, the survivors from the two Day 1's will merge into a field of just under 500 players. It'll be close to the bubble so play will likely be tense initially as players maneuver and try to survive. I'll be here to provide you with all the sights and sounds from around the tournament floor.

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