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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP 2010 | WSOP Sights and Sounds

WSOP Sights and Sounds Day 3 – Marked Card in 50K, 1st Bracelet Awarded

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When Randy Couture, the only five-time champion in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, tells you to “Shuffle Up and Deal,” it’s probably a good idea to listen.  That’s how Day 3 of the World Series of Poker began.
Yesterday there were rumors swirling about that a player had found a marked card in the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship.  Half not wanting to believe someone would cheat in a $50,000 tournament and half wanting to wait to confirm the story, I opted not to write about it.  Today various sources have confirmed the story, as it has blown up over the poker forums. 

At Table Orange 323 on Friday, the first day of the 50k event, John D’Agostino was in the process of receiving his starting hand for a stud game, when he requested the dealer stop the deal.  One of his cards, which he had not looked at, had a decent sized chip taken out one of the corners.  D’Agostino asked if he could flip the card up and stop the deal to confirm it was indeed a marked card.  The dealer called the floor, but continued the deal, giving the players their cards (two face down, one face up).
Tim Phan then asked D’Agostino if he knew he was playing with just two cards.  When action went to D’Agostino he took it upon himself to reveal the chipped card.  Providing commentary for his own hand, D’Agostino said, “Shockingly it was an ace,” as he turned over the ace of spades.  “Who would have guessed?” added D’Agostino before telling the table, “Guys, there’s better ways to mark cards than to rip the corner off.”  Quickly the card was replaced, and play continued, without much further talk of the matter at the table.

The full list of players at the table during the hand in question included D’Agostino, Phan, Nikolay Evdakov, James Van Alstyne and Patrik Antonius.  It could have been as simple as a mistake, a finger nail catching it, hitting the side of a chip too hard, or a factory defect, etc. but it of course draws question when the card in question was the ace of spades.  I guess all the guys can be thankful for one thing.  At least Randy Couture wasn’t at their table.


The first bracelet winner of the 2010 WSOP is stylishly dressed Hoai Pham , who was awarded the bracelet in a presentation at around 2:30 pm local time.  In addition to tournament staff Jack Effel and Noland Dalla being on hand for the presentation, WSOP bracelet designer Steve Soffa, also a pretty snazzy dresser, was there to give away the bracelet he personally designed.  

Yesterday while playing, Pham donned a “Newsies”-style flat cap, a cream colored vest, turquoise tie, and green long-sleeved shirt.  For his bracelet presentation it would have been totally acceptable if he would have shown up in a tee-shirt and sweatpants, but Pham didn’t disappoint, showing up in a greenish-gray sport coat, a tie sporting a woman in a bikini, impressive looking aviator shades, and white suede alligator shoes.
{id:7}It had been reported shortly after winning the event that Pham had asked if he could sing the Vietnam national anthem when he accepted his bracelet.  WSOP staff confirmed that this would be OK.  I believe that more than half of the media showed up just to witness this.  However, Pham elected to stand quietly while holding the bracelet across his chest and a big smile on his face, instead of singing.  If Pham would have decided to sing, it may have been the most entertaining bracelet ceremony since they played the Sex Pistols’ version of “God Save the Queen” when John Kabbaj won the $10,000 pot-limit holdem championship last year.  Oh well, it’s still early.


About 50 yards away from media row the $50,000 Poker Players Championship is about to resume in the Amazon room.  For long stretches of the first three days, nobody has been in the Amazon room except the press.  That’s all changing as this room is starting to look like somebody is making a water balloon, and it’s questionable if it’s going to pop or not.
The reason, of course, is that a ton of big names remain in the field.  Kirk Morrison leads the way with 741,000 chips, while Andy Bloch is right behind him at 716,500.  Other big names remaining in the field include Nick Schulman, Robert Mizrachi, Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.  In short, of the 54 remaining players, nearly all of the names would ring a bell to even the casual poker fans.  The winner of the event will pocket $1,559,046.

I walked over to watch the table with Phil Ivey, Steve Zolotow, and Eli Elezra.  The first hand I watched was a razz hand.  As the cards were being dealt, Eli pointed out they should have moved on to stud by that point and that they had been playing the wrong game for at least 3 hands.  Phil Ivey said that would have been good to know because on the last razz hand he had just lost 100,000 chips.  They called the floor and the floor eventually decided they should play the last razz hand, as they had already started to deal it, and then move on to stud.  In that last hand, Eli found himself all in versus Phil Ivey, winning the hand and doubling up.  Eli acknowledged Phil Ivey’s poor luck, once again.


In one of the few “I wish I had my camera with me” moments that I’ve already had despite only being 3 days in, I saw Chris “Jesus” Ferguson walking through the hallway not long before he took his seat in the 50k event.  In about a manner of 20 seconds, he walked past his very large banner on the side of the hallway honoring his 2000 WSOP Main Event Win, then followed that by passing a poster in the middle of the hallway where he is drinking a cup of tea with the words “I am a player” scrolled across the top of it.  As Ferguson was on the phone at the time it’s probably a good idea I didn’t ask him to pose for any of these pictures, and truthfully, these types of situations will probably arise a few more times over the course of the next six weeks.  I’ll try to keep my camera with me at all times from here on out.


Interesting questions have arisen concerning payouts in the 1k event.  Last night, the first of two “day ones” saw the field go down to about 275 players, from the just over 2,600 players that played Day 1a.  That means that if they were paying out 10 percent of the field, which is standard for the WSOP, then they were already very close to that mark.  Day 1b of the tournament is expected to draw more than day 1a, meaning the 275 players remaining from day 1a would make up less than 10 percent of the remaining field.  In other words, they have to play the same number of levels on both days, so when the field combines, they’ve all played the same amount of time.  Ultimately, it means that some players who were eliminated on day 1a may be entitled to some money.

While walking around the 1k tournament today, I asked some of tournament runners what they knew about the situation, but most didn’t know what the situation was, or hadn’t heard about it at all.  By the end of the day hopefully this situation will work itself out and there will be something to report tomorrow.

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