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

Battle Royale - Day 1D Of The WSOP Main Event

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11:30 a.m.

I had a peek behind the green box covering up the number of participants. It was 6,721. This means that the 2008 Main Event will easily surpass the number of players that played in 2007. It's nowhere close to the 2006 Main Event, but until the UIGEA is changed, it probably never will be. What this means is there will be a huge field playing today... at least 2,400 and I wouldn't be surprised if it sold out and we had the maximum of 2,700+ playing today. You would think with the number being a good one now that they would uncover the box, but it looks like they want to wait until the number is official.

Phil Hellmuth is at the ESPN feature table. No shocker there. I'm interested to see if he really comes up in a tank. Phil Ivey is at the secondary feature table.

1:10 p.m.

Jam packed indeed. The number is up to 6,832 and every room is filled to the brim with poker players and spectators. I made the long trek all the way down to Buzio's. I ran into Rich Murnick there but other than that I didn't see a soul. Hellmuth hasn't made his grand entrance yet, and I don't feel like standing out in 100 degree heat to catch it. I did hear Jeffrey Pollack tell Senator D'Amato though that Hellmuth was indeed coming in on a tank.

As I was making my initial walk through, within 3 minutes of the cards being in the air there was an “all in and a call.” As I got to the table, there were two guys that looked as if they came straight from the set of The Godfather 4. All the chips were already in, but neither player wanted to turn their cards over. “I called you,” said the old Italian in the 9 seat. The 10 seat refused to turn his cards over. He wanted to see if his hand was best. The dealer finally told them that they were going to have to turn them over anyway and they obliged. The 9 seat had kings, the 10 seat had aces. The aces held and the 9 seat was left with about 500 in chips.

Proof positive that some people are at least reading these reports. I had two people come up to me today and ask to pose with the teddy bear so they could help me get to 500. Thanks ladies! A guy sitting at the table directly in front of me asked me if he could borrow the bear. I let him and know he's playing with the bear sitting in his lap. Within a minute he had his photo snapped and within five minutes an ESPN producer came up and asked him what the bear was for. I should start charging people to borrow it.

2:05 p.m.

There are numerous floor supervisors and people wearing suits dealing today as they didn't have enough dealers to handle the massive playing field. The number as we head into the first break is 6,837. A guy just walked by slapping himself lightly in the face and shaking his head. I said to him, “that doesn't look good” and he nodded his head in confirmation.

There are a couple of UFC fighters here today. Chuck Liddell is playing at the featured table and will get to butt heads with Hellmuth when he finally shows up. Forrest Griffin is at another table and is sporting a bruised and battered face. Griffin had a fight last night and is here today free rolling in the WSOP as Full Tilt bought him in. According to Bruce Buffer, the UFC announcer, Griffin doesn't even know how to play poker. Johnny Chan is at Griffin's table... I'm sure he'd love to know that.

3:00 p.m.

It turns out Hellmuth couldn't get a tank so he instead came in a three truck formation of camouflage military vehicles. Hellmuth was standing in the front vehicle wearing a ridiculous military looking outfit including a black helmet and gloves. He exited the vehicle as did nine Ultimate Bet girls. He ordered them to attention and then inspected them for duty. He then proceeded to walk down the red carpet, his “mission” accomplished. The mission? To get as much attention as possible and to look like the biggest idiot possible. Well done, “General” Hellmuth.

4:00 p.m.

Jack Ury, the oldest player in the WSOP last year, is back again for another record breaking appearance. Jack is 95 and has Jamie, Jack's grandson's wife, standing patiently to the side with a wheelchair to help him out of the room on breaks. Jamie told me that Jack plays 10 hours of poker a day back home in Terre Haute, Indiana and that many people think his love of poker is what keeps him alive. “It sure keeps his mind sharp,” she told me. Her husband is also playing but he's on the other side of the room. It's these kinds of stories that make me love poker. Anyone can play, young or old. As long as you have the buy in, you're welcome. It's one of the reason I hate closed events so much, because it takes away from that very principle.

A guy two tables in front of me just won a big pot and yelled “YEAH” at the top of his lungs and then turned to the guy to his right that he had won the pot from and yelled it again right in his face, nearly spitting on him. Players at the other table called the player out on his behavior and his excuse was that the guy had it coming because of something that had happened two hands earlier.

Jeffrey Pollack sat down next to me and we had a brief chat. I asked him what the biggest challenge the World Series faced was and he said it was continuing to improve upon the WSOP experience for players. They've done a great job with some improvements this year, but there is always room for improvement, including more than a $10 food voucher and I think they could take a little less off the top of the prize pools. All in all, I do have to say it's a huge improvement from the last few years though.

I'll be back with more later from day 1D of the Main Event.

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