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

Day 26 Of The WSOP: Color Up Confusion

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The players returned from their dinner break and Erick Lindgren sat down in his chair and as was his custom counted his chips to make sure they were the same as when he left. Surprised by the result, Lindgren counted again. It was still off. “Hey John,” Erick called over to the floor man running the tournament. “I'm short 10,000 chips.” The floor man came over and Erick explained to him that he had counted his stack before he left and it was 10,000 off now. Just as Erick was doing that, countless other players started calling for the floor.

Over on the table in the corner, a player told the floor that he actually had too many chips. 45,000 to be precise. The honest poker player (yes, there are actually some of those), much to his credit, gave up the bonus he had inadvertently received. Noah Schwartz, one of the chip leaders at the break, wasn't as fortunate. He insisted he had lost 40,000 in chips. The clock was running on the event and it was down to 58 minutes in the level already. I walked over and told Steve, the tournament supervisor, what was going on and he hurried over.

John the floor person walked over and gave Lindgren 10K in chips. This seemed to appease the upset Lindgren, who rushed off to go play in the Mixed Event since he knew that the snafu was going to take some time to resolve. Steve got clarification from the two floor people on duty what had happened. He got on the microphone and announced to the players that they were going to have to review the surveillance tapes and that the break was going to be extended for an additional 15 minutes. Tony Cousineau jokes, “and they're going to the booth” and stands up and acts like he is an NFL official looking into the replay booth.

Some of the players are nonchalant about it all, but many are livid. “How can they touch our chips when we aren't here?” is the most common complaint heard. I'm jotting down notes about what is going on and one of the floor people ask me to not write about this. “He'll lose his job,” he confides.

I nod in appreciation because I know how hard the floor people work and the person that appears to have made the error is someone I've grown to like and talk to often. However, it's not like I'm the only media member there. It's going to get written about regardless. I continue on.

Some of the players, including Howard Lederer, think they have figured out what went wrong. They colored up the purple 500 chips and the orange 1,000 chips but in doing so they did it incorrectly. Instead of placing out four 5,000 chips for a stack of twenty orange, they placed out two. Instead of placing out two 5,000 chips for a stack of twenty purple, they placed out four.

Over on one table, poker veterans Erik Seidel, Barry Greenstein, and Lederer talk amongst themselves. I overhear part of the conversation and it's about Gus Hansen. Lederer is talking and says, “Gus is a maniac but people don't realize that he knows exactly what he is doing. He's very analytical about the game and has a reason for the way he plays.”

At another table, three players have grabbed a deck of cards from media row and are playing Chinese Poker. Steve explains to Lederer that when the floor person found out that he had made a mistake he didn't follow the proper procedure to correct it.

Steve Zolotow has grabbed the floor person who has made the mistake and he's not happy. “How can you guys do this?” he demands to know, his face almost bright red. The floor apologizes and insists that he announced to the players that they were going to do a color up. In the meantime, they've asked the dealers at every table to do a chip count of all the players to make sure that the amount of chips in play is what it is supposed to be.

Steve walks over to the PokerNews desk and asks them if they did a chip count during the break. One of the reporters for PokerNews said that he did but that he thinks he did it after the color up, not before. Dennis, Steve's immediate supervisor, has come in and he is talking on the phone with Jack Effel. I hear part of the conversation and he is explaining the situation and listening intently as Effel speaks.

Finally, after reviewing the surveillance video and adding up the chip counts, they decide to resume play and make that announcement on the clock. Immediately, Noah Schwartz yells, “Floor!” and Steve goes over to his table. “What about the 40K I'm missing?” Noah asks politely.

Steve explains to Noah that they looked at the surveillance and that it was very fuzzy and they couldn't prove whether there had been an error or not so there was nothing they could do.

“What?” Schwartz exclaimed, an incredulous look on his face. “I have to pay the price for your guy’s mistake?”

Another player at the table makes the comment that he bets the surveillance on the blackjack tables isn't “fuzzy” and the other players nod in agreement. Schwartz still isn't happy and says, “This isn't good enough, can you talk to Jack Effel or something?”

Steve tells him they already have and that this was his decision. Steve apologizes and says he wishes there was something he could do, but he can't.

As Steve walks off, a visibly frustrated Schwartz looks up into the sky. “I don't even want to play anymore, it's so sick. They take 9% out of every tournament and then they pull shit like this.”

Erik Seidel joked at another table that the entire tournament was now on tilt. As with most things in poker though, soon it was all forgotten and play continued.

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