It was less than three hours into day eight of the World Series of Poker, but that didn’t stop the drama. Tournament directors had a tough decision regarding the $1,500 Pot Limit Holdem event. Ten levels had just completed, which is generally when tournaments wrap-up and continue the next day, except during the final table. However, they were down to just 65 players, which was just two before the remaining players made the money.
When it was announced they would be ending the tournament for the evening, many of the players disagreed, wondering why they couldn’t just finish knowing if they are going back for the next day and are officially in the money. Additionally, many questioned how angry the two short stacks, William Smith and Davis Aalvik, would be considering they would most likely have to wait all night just to bust out early the next day.
However, it wasn’t one of the short stacks that appeared most angry with the ruling. Professional Todd Terry showed the most anger with the decision. Terry seemed upset that tournament director Jack Effel made the decision to end the tournament for the night from the telephone in his home. Terry felt that a majority of the table would have played a few hands to get into the money, but because of “someone sitting at home,” they won’t be doing that.
Luckily, Terry is a regular contributor to the poker forum at TwoPlusTwo.com, and sure enough just before 4:00 am he made a post regarding the situation. He titled the thread, “Disgraceful Decision by Jack Effel to Stop Play 2 From Money.” Steaming from the situation he wrote, “This decision shows a blatant disregard for the paying customers of the WSOP. First of all, people want to play tomorrow's event. Additionally, making shortstacks come back to play another day to bubble immediately is just cruel.”
Responses were mixed. One poster pointed out that “rules are rules” and it doesn’t matter if they are that close to the bubble if it’s agreed upon ahead of time when the tournament will end for the night. However, rule 101 in the WSOP rulebook reads: Play will end after 10 levels of play for all events that begin at 12 noon. Play will resume the following day at 2:30 p.m. The Tournament Director may modify this schedule for any reason.
Barry Greenstein posted his response at 2:41 pm today stating that while he would have wanted to play it down if he was in that position, he does understand that the WSOP is trying hard to adhere to a new rule where the WSOP wants to have a 12 hour gap between play, giving players adequate rest.
Greenstein added, “Jack tried to take the path with the least repercussions, knowing that in some sense only two people would be affected. He didn't bargain that one person left in the field was our very vocal friend Todd Terry!”
Terry says he still would have liked to see the tournament played down, but that hasn’t affected his play for day two in the tournament. Terry is in the middle of the pack with just 46 players remaining. Smith and Aalvik have both been eliminated, but they both did manage to mini-cash.
Two Phil’s started the day going after impressive feats, but by the end of the day only one Phil continues to his goal. Phil Hellmuth Jr. started the day with a healthy chip stack in the $1,500 No Limit Holdem Event #8. With 18 left to go, Hellmuth had both an impressive chip stack and an impressive amount of people railing him in the Amazon room. Hellmuth, already the all-time leader with 11 WSOP bracelets, would have taken a two bracelet lead over Johnny Chan with a win, but alas, it wasn’t to be.
Hellmuth began ranting in his usual manner not too long after the final two tables began when Max Steinberg won a hand with , against Hellmuth. The Hellmuth volcanic eruption began with Hellmuth telling Max how bad he played the hand and how it was stupid for him to be playing it at this point in the tournament as Max stacked a lot of Phil’s chips. Phil eventually said something to the effect that he was still lucky to be in the tournament. After the hand Hellmuth was well below chip average, so not long after that he pushed all in with only to be called by Scott Vener’s dominate . The board was no help to Hellmuth and he was eliminated in 15th place.
Over on the strip Phil Laak is “just” 26 hours away from breaking the record for World’s Longest Poker Session. Laak has had some interesting moments of late, questioning his brother taking bets on when he is going to start hallucinating. Also, he has more than a few times written about his new love of sweet potatoes via his Twitter account. He wrote, “I wonder, how much is my new love of sweet potatoes correlated to the fact that I am healthier now than when I did not like them.” While Laak has been entertaining in person, his Tweets are worth a read, especially as he gets further and further along.
Yesterday’s days Sights and Sounds mentioned how Laak said he was on his second wind. Seven hours ago he was happy as he had “found his 3rd wind.” Also helping him along is his best bud in the poker world, Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, who sat down at his table a couple of hours ago.
Interestingly enough, Laak is taking an approach that many see as the opposite of what he should be doing. As the hours have gone by, he is playing for higher stakes instead of dropping down. So far his plan hasn’t backfired as he is up $1,725 for the session, but with the $100,000 stacks on the table he is playing against, that could go up or down in a big way, and fast. Assuming Laak can beat the record, he will do it at about 7:00 pm on Saturday.