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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009 | The Works

2009 WSOP – Day 2 Of The WSOP: And We're Off

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If you are a poker player, fan or member of the media, there is no better place to be than the World Series of Poker. Sure by the end of the WSOP, people will be burnt out and ready for it to end, but every year those same people that are complaining endlessly about how much they hate poker, Las Vegas, and the WSOP are back here doing the same thing. My guess is that they don't hate it as much as they portray. Myself, I've never even pretended to hate it. I love every second of it and if I could do this 300 days a year, I would.

It was with that perspective that I walked into the Rio this morning. Not much had changed as far as the Rio goes from last year. Same carpet, hallway, and set up. As far as the WSOP goes, a few changes had taken place but it was nothing earth shattering. The single table satellites and smaller tournaments had been moved to ball room areas in the hallway. Cash games and the main tournaments were still being held in the Amazon room. I arrived at 10:30 and took my place on media row, saying hello to old friends from years past. It was as Scott Seiver would tell me when he came in to take his seat in the tournament, “it's like the first day of school walking in here.”

While this is the first day of coverage for most members of the media, it's officially day 2 and not day 1 of the World Series of Poker as the Casino Employees event started yesterday. Unfortunately for these players, this event is discarded by most media as not being important enough to cover. I know I'm guilty of this, having chosen not to write anything about it myself. Make no mistake about it though, these people are the heart and soul of poker... the unsung heroes if you will. Day in and day out, dealers sit quietly flicking cards, counting chips, and dealing with the endless tirades of players blaming them for their every loss. Some of them can even play poker and that's what they were doing on day 1.

However, dealers are not perfect and they do make mistakes. Several times today, I witnessed dealers having difficulty making change for a bet that was made. For example, at one table a player threw out a 25K chip while stating that he was betting 11,600. The dealer struggled with the math and it eventually took three players to point out that the correct amount was 13,400. You would think that knowing how to do basic math would be a prerequisite of the job.

I recently read an interview with Annie Duke in a poker magazine where she stated that one of her biggest pet peeves is when people berate dealers. Facing an all in bet from Antonio Esfandiari on a a Q-8-3-x-x- board, Duke reluctantly put in the last of her chips. Antonio showed pocket 3's for a set and Duke attempted to muck her cards. The dealer turned over Duke's cards showing A-Q and Annie glared at the dealer and asked, “Why the fuck did you do that?” The dealer explained that when there was an all in and a call on the river that both hands had to be shown. Duke replied “maybe in other tournaments, but not this one” and stormed off.

Esfandiari mentioned to Justin Bonomo that he thought Duke was correct and Bonomo said he thought the dealer was. The two made a $100 wager and called the floor over. The floor listened to Antonio and said that the dealer had made the correct decision. This wasn't a satisfactory answer for Antonio and he went and asked Mike Matusow what he thought. “That's the Men the Master rule,” Matusow stated and explained that the dealer was correct and that both hands must be shown to prevent collusion and dumping of chips. Apparently, $100 is big money for Esfandiari because he called over two more floor people. Of course, they both said the dealer was correct and Antonio had to ship the Benjamin to Bonomo.

As is his custom, Phil Hellmuth made a more than fashionably late arrival. At least this time he didn't come in a tank or with an armload of women at his side. I'm sure he's saving that for the main event. Hellmuth took his place at a brutal table that included Scotty Nguyen, Phil Ivey, and David Pham. Before the day was over, Elky would join the table as well. Hellmuth took out his new book that will be available sometime in June and showed it to Ivey. “You can't keep it Phil,” Hellmuth stated. Ivey looked as if he wanted to roll his eyes, but didn't, and then started to look through the book, pausing when he came upon a picture of himself.

Twitter has become all the rage
with poker players and you can see them sending texts one handed under the table, or standing up and texting, in between hands. I started to wonder if the cell phone rule had changed so I asked Jack Effel and he explained that it was still the same rule, but that they were giving some lee way to players as long as they weren't doing it while they had cards in front of them. “If it gets to be a problem, we'll take care of it,” Effel stated emphatically.

There are some new rules in effect this year regarding penalties. A player can receive a one hand penalty if they accidentally flip one of their cards over, fold out of turn, or say a swear word that is not directed at another person. In addition, they are keeping track of penalties issued this year and if a player has repeat offenses they could be facing a stiffer penalty. I believe this is a direct result of the Hellmuth penalty incident at last year’s Main Event, so hopefully this will be a fair approach that is applied equally to all players, superstars and amateurs alike.

An impressive field of 201 started the day, meaning over eight million dollars found its way into the Rio vaults. First place will take home well over a million dollars. It was a good start to the 2009 WSOP with a majority of the big names getting in on the action. Tomorrow, day two will take place and the 1.5K PLO8 will get underway. Until then...

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