“I'm all in,” the young kid with spiked hair, designer sunglasses and a black Ed Hardy shirt said, pushing his stack into the middle of the table. The crazy looking older dude to his left peeked at his cards. “How much is it,” he asked.
The dealer carefully counted out the kid's stack and told him that it was 45,200. “I call,” said the crazy looking man.
It's folded to the small blind, a thirty something gentleman who looks like he would be more comfortable on a farm or oil rig than at a poker table. Farmer Boy doesn't even blink before announcing that he too is all in.
I turn and whisper to the media member standing next to me... “He's got aces.”
The crazy looking man isn't all in but the pot is huge by now and he says “I have to call.”
The cards are flipped over, one player at a time. The kid proudly turns over pocket kings. I can tell by the look on his face that he thinks this is the best hand and that he's about to win a huge pot. Crazy Dude turns over pocket kings as well. The kid looks a bit disappointed but knows he's at least not going to lose the hand. That is until he sees Farmer Boy's hand. Pocket aces, just like I expected. The kid turns around and walks off ten feet, bouncing downwards and slamming his palms against the ground. “Nooooo,” he cries, not believing his bad luck.
The dealer deals the flop. It is . Farmer Boy is still way ahead and only miracle running hearts will lose him the pot. The turn is the first step in that miracle as it is the . All the players at the table look at the cards. The kid doesn't have a heart. Neither does Farmer Boy. Crazy Dude does though and he sees the flush draw. “Gimme a heart,” he pleads and repeats himself two more times.
The river gives Farmer Boy a set as it is an ace. Unfortunately for him, it is the and Crazy Dude has won the monster pot with the nut flush. Farmer Boy looks as if he'd just found out he'd lost a loved one. The kid quickly picked up his stuff, turned around, and hurried towards the nearest exit. Crazy Dude jumps a few feet, yelling, “Whooooooooo!!!!” as he realizes he just hit the miracle of miracles. He sits down and starts to jot something down in a notebook, whispering to himself, “Unfreaking real!” time and time again.
It's hands like that which make the World Series of Poker special. The drama. The anguish. The joy. It's hands like that which make people love... and hate... poker all in a thirty second time frame. It's why the Main Event is easily the most popular poker tournament in the world. It brings together Farmer Boy, Crazy Dude, and The Kid to battle it out and sometimes one card can change the fate of a person's life forever, bad... and good.
While walking through the tournament, I caught Jeffrey Pollack watching the action. I asked him if things were going better and he said that today had gone as smooth as possible. “Better than two days ago,” I nodded.
He shook his head and said, “You know, Aaron, I've had some bad days in my 25 year career, but that was the worst day I've ever had.”
I told him that I could tell it really bothered him... it was obvious at the impromptu meeting he had the other day. When the players were yelling at him, the look in his eyes was one of pure dejection.
I asked him if they could fit 2,900+ today why they couldn't have done that on day 1D and he explained it was a time issue. “We've been planning since Monday for today, we didn't have any time to prepare for day 1D. Our contingency plans obviously came up short and that's something we're going to have to adjust, but let me tell you this. The days of people coming up at the last minute and assuming they will get a seat are over.”
Pollack also mentioned some ideas they were tossing around to implement next year to help alleviate the sell out problem and went on to tell me how one of the vocal complainers the other day tried to blackmail him by threatening to make his life miserable if he didn't get him into the Main Event or give him a discounted seat into next year’s Main Event. Pollack told me he said at that point, “This conversation is over,” and walked away.
We started with 2,924 players today and with about 45 minutes left in the last level of the day there are 1,591 left meaning we have lost 1,333 players in 6 hours and 15 minutes, or an average of 3.55 players per minute hitting the rail. Wow, talk about dropping like flies.
I spent the better part of an hour looking for the chip leader, Troy Weber. I started in the Miranda Room, didn't see any one with 400K+. I moved to the Brasilia Room and saw one guy that was close but I asked him his name and it wasn't Troy. I walked through the entire Amazon Room. The last table I hit was Blue 1 in the back far corner. Of course that was where Troy was at. What was even more amazing is that the guy 2nd in chips, Dan Bilzerian, was there as well.
The two were a contrast in styles. Troy was quiet, with an intense stare, and I could tell he was extremely focused on the task at hand. Dan was more talkative, laughing with his neighbor and seemed to be a little more on the loose side than Troy. The two ended the day with Troy having 453K in chips and retaining his Day 1 chip lead, something that doesn't happen often, and Dan having 439K.
There is an off day tomorrow and Day 3 action will resume on Friday with over 2,000 players starting. I'll be here to bring you the latest and greatest. Until then...