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

The Silence Of Loss – Day 2A Of The WSOP Main Event

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11:15 a.m.

1,251 players will be starting play within an hour. It will be a day of highs and lows. Some players will experience both as they lose a big pot but manage to recover before the day is over. Others will start off crushing the competition and think they can coast into fame and fortune only to have a unbelievable series of events have them eliminated before the day is over. It's this unknown... of not knowing what will happen or what can happen... that will make today the intense day that it is.

The tournament director is getting the dealers ready and he is telling them to look for a Todd Pemberton. I wonder what he did. Was he a bad boy? They found his chips and Jack Effel went over there and did something. Effel asks the dealers what a player needs to get the chips out of their bag. A dealer yells out, “$20” and the rest of the dealers chuckle.

12:05 p.m.

Effel kicks off day 2A with a few announcements including that they will play five levels today and return on Thursday. Jeffrey Pollack introduced Madelaine Ungar, the wife of the late great Stu Ungar, and she talked about the foundation that she started that deals with addiction and suicide awareness issues, an issue near and dear to her heart since Stu died of addiction and her son committed suicide. Her shuffle up and deal proclamation was almost anti-climactic after her brief speech. The room is eerily quiet now. Not one word being spoken and the only sound is the clattering of chips. That'll change in a moment I'm sure.

1:00 p.m.


Tom Franklin stole my chair when I was making my rounds to use as a table. Needless to say, I don't want it back. There is a spectator sitting up in the media area as if he owns the place, just making himself at home. I have half the mind to tell security to get him out of here, but I'm too much of a non-confrontational guy. He did go get the chair from Tom after he was done eating though, so at least he's a nice guy. There is more media walking through the tournament area today than I can remember at any time during the WSOP. It's like walking through a maze at times.

The all in and a call announcements are flying throughout the room. Today, I thought I would spend some time focusing not on the people that were doing well, but on those who had their dreams crushed. It's never easy losing in a poker tournament, but when it's for $10,000, it hurts a hell of a lot more. I'm going to try and get some of the sights and sounds of these emotional moments.

2:10 p.m.

Patrik Antonius started today with over 60K in chips but has managed to give away over 50K of that. I saw one hand where he called a 6K bet on the flop and a 15K all in bet on the turn with 9-8 of hearts on a J-9-7-K two club board. His opponent had A-J of clubs and Patrik shipped the chips over to him when the board did not improve him. I understand gambling with draws when you're getting the right price but when the call is over 25% of your stack, it's a bit much I think.

Whenever I see a ton of cameras around a table, my curiosity gets the best of me. ESPN and about five members of the media were hovering around the table of Silvio Formica who was holding court. He was all in for about 50K in chips with oh... about 5K in the pot. A player was contemplating a call with pocket jacks and Silvio told him, “I'm the best player in the world, if you call me you better have aces.”

The player folded and the ESPN cameras went away. Nolan Dalla came by and asked Silvio a few questions. According to Silvio, he worked for the casino's back in the mob days, primarily at the Stardust and was offered $500 a day to consult on the movie Casino but turned it down. “If I would have done that, I'd have been dead. $500 a day to die. No thanks.” Silvio is 79 years old and having a grand old time and according to an ESPN camera man, he's had them in stitches and will for sure be on the show. Keep an eye out for him.

Two players got it all in with the inevitable big hands you would expect to see when you see a massive pre-flop pot. The player in seat 10 was the big stack at the table with well over 100K in chips. The player in the one seat wasn't hurting as he had nearly 65K. The two exchanged raises until there was a 140K pot in the middle and the cards were turned over. The 10 seat had aces and was looking to move up to nearly 200K in chips as he dominated the one seat's pocket kings. The one seat looked at the table, not believing the cooler he had run into. From an above average, comfortable, stack to out in one hand. Dreams crushed.

The river was a king though and the one seat threw his hands up to his head in disbelief that he had won the hand and survived. The 10 seat fell back slightly in his chair, staggered, as he looked again at the card. He wasn't out but he had the look of someone who had been eliminated. He shook his head repeatedly, a tear welling up in his eye. Poker is a game that can make a grown man in his fifties cry. The 10 seat counted out the chips slowly, still shaking his head, leaned back and let out a huge sigh.

3:15 p.m.

“Oh my God!” came the yell from a table two in front of me. It was Greg Mueller and he was standing up looking at the board. I walked over and saw that his opponent had A-K on a A-Q-10-x-J board. Mueller had pocket queens and had been rivered by his opponent. “You got me covered,” Mueller said and he shoved the chips into the middle of the table, scattering them all over. He got up, paid the masseuse that had been giving him a rub, took a sip from his drink and threw it in the trash and walked out of the room.

4:00 p.m.


Robert Varkonyi has turned into an amateur comedian. After moving all in for 17K, his opponent asked him if he had a big pair. Varkonyi stood up and acted as if he was going to unzip his pants and asked, “Wanna to see my big pair?” His opponent folded and Varkonyi survived. We have the Jamie Gold and Hevad Khan rule's... coming soon will be the Robert Varkonyi rule for excessive lying.

Player's are afraid to go broke. I've seen a lot of timid play and some of the professionals are taking advantage of it. In a recent hand, Hasan Habib called a raise pre-flop from his opponent in position. The flop came ace high with two spades. The pre-flop raiser led out and Habib quickly called. The turn was a third spade and the pre-flop raiser checked. Habib bet 15K and was called. The river was a blank and Habib took down the pot after a 17K bet when his opponent showed kings with the king of spades. Habib said to his opponent, “You don't want me to show, I put you on the exact hand you had.” His opponent turned over Habib's cards to show pocket 9's.

Maybe Patrik Antonius' crazy play from earlier was a ploy to get him action. He's gone from 10K to 90K in a matter of two hours. His wife Maya is playing two tables in front of me. ESPN would love it if those two got at the same table somehow. I'll be back later with more action from day 2A.

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