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

Day 30 – A Day On The Rail

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Last week my friend Eric “basebaldy” Baldwin won his 1st WSOP bracelet but I missed it because I was going deep in an event at the Venetian Deep Stack (I'd end up bubbling so I would have been better off sweating him). Eric made another final table today, this time in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold Em event so I decided I wasn't going to miss this one. The following is my day “on the rail.”

I walk into the feature table area and see Eric's Dad, Steve, who has been here for the better part of the week and actually managed to cash in the Seniors Event. Steve missed Eric's win last week so I know he's excited to be here. I sit down next to him and we start talking about all sorts of little things. I used to live in Minnesota for the longest time and the Baldwin family hails from Wisconsin, so we discuss various things from the Midwest that the states share in common (like beer drinking). I'm a Packers fan so I ask him if he is, but he tells me he's a Bears fan. The horror, I joke, telling him he's a traitor to his state. Steve's retired but is much too young to be retired and when he smiles I can see where Eric got his shit eating grin from.

Seated next to Steve are two of Eric's good friends, Katz and Geyer. I've met Katz before but introduce myself to Geyer. We talk about the table and how it's a tough one. Seated at the table are players like Darryl Fish, J .C. Alvarado, Jason Lester, Isaac Haxton, Kirill Gerasimov, and Davidi Kitai. It's not going to be an easy ride, that much we all know. I talk to Steve a bit more about Eric and whether the family supported him playing poker. Apparently at first Mom wasn't a fan but she's slowly come around. Dad on the other hand never had an issue with it. I ask him if Mom has ever watched Eric play at a final table and he said no. “Would she come out if he made the Main Event final table?” I ask. He laughs and says that yes, she'd come out for that.

Over on the other side of the final table area, Matt Graham, another recent bracelet winner is sweating one of his horses, Darryl Fish. I talk with Graham briefly and he tells me he has 19 horses. “Nineteen?” I say and joke and ask him if he wants to make it 20. “I need to make it more like 10,” he responds, telling me backing hasn't worked out that well for him. It usually doesn't Matt. Unfortunately, Darryl would be the first one to bust at the final table so Graham's return on investment wasn't as big as he would have liked.

Kirill Gerasimov has a small cheering section but it includes notable Russian professional poker players, Alex Kravchenko and Vitaly Lunkin, who are also interestingly enough cheering for Brit Jon Kabbaj. The French contingent rooting for Davidi is the most vocal and just a bit larger than the Baldwin group.

The Baldwin group, however, is by far the most degenerate. The group decides to start prop betting on what cards hit the board. Eight of them, including Baldwin's Dad, pick two cards. Most of them pick low cards because they think that just because no one plays them it makes them more likely to flop (which is faulty thinking as what cards players actually play doesn't increase the likelihood of them hitting the board any). If two players cards both hit, the one that is the furthest on the right on the board wins. Thus you could technically get “rivered” on your prop bet.

There weren't many flops being seen at the early stages of the final table so when one actually was dealt, the entire Baldwin cheering section stood up. The river was the 9 of hearts which meant that Baldwin's Dad was the winner as he had picked two red nines as his cards. He collected the $700 and everyone is laughing, including Eric who is watching from down at the final table.

“Genetics!” Baldwin yells up.

They end up doing this until the dinner break and one poor guy ends up losing $1,000. Baldwin's Dad actually ended up $200 in the hole as he didn't win another one after his initial victory. It was amusing because a flop would come out and the Baldwin cheering section would start yelling for cards that made no sense. The rest of the fans in the final table area looked at the group as if they were nuts.

There's a young kid, can't be older than 21 or 22, in the Baldwin group and one of Eric's friends who shall remain nameless (for obvious reasons) yells to him. “Hey man, my niece is coming to Vegas and she's dating a real prick. I'll pay you $40 to have sex with her!”

The group laughs and one of the other guys says, “Hell, I'll pay you $40.”

The action is really slow... no one busts for what seems like forever. A couple of the guys are planning on going out and when someone asks them if they are going out one of them says, “Are you kidding, we're going to be five handed at 3:05.”

Eugene Todd is playing at the final table. The popular pro hits a miracle 7 on the river and a guy sweating him goes up and plants a long (and by long I mean nearly 5 seconds) kiss on the cheek. The group is kind of taken aback by that and one of them says, “If I was him, I'd never want to win another pot again.”

Jason Lester was also at the final table and was playing uber tight, which if you know Lester wasn't a big surprise. After Lester gets sucked out on by Todd (the same hand mentioned above), they joke about how he was thinking of folding A-J despite getting three to one on his money.

One of the guys mentions Baldwin looks like he is bobbing to some imaginary music. Another one wisecracks, “He's probably listening to 'It's Raining Men' in his head.”

That gets the whole group rolling with laughter including Baldwin's girlfriend and Dad.

Baldwin ended up getting three handed and had the chip lead before flopping top pair with A-J on an A-9-8 board and running into the top two pair of Kirill Gerasimov who had A-9. Crippled, Baldwin would move all in the next hand on the button with J-6 and Jon Kabbaj called with A-5. Balwin hit two pair on the river but unfortunately for him Kabbaj had flopped two pair and it was no good. Baldwin came over to his cheering section, in seemingly good spirits, and gave everyone fist bumps and hugs. Not a bad week for Baldwin with a 1st and a 3rd and nearly a million dollars added to his bankroll.

For myself, it was a nice break to sit back with a funny, sarcastic group of people and watch some poker. Tomorrow, the 50K HORSE starts and that's one event that always draws some of the biggest rails. Until then...

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