One of the sounds heard multiple times a day while wandering through the halls and poker rooms at the 2010 World Series of Poker is the question: Where is Darvin Moon? Of all the sights you’ll see at the WSOP, Moon is not one of them. When the Oakland, Maryland, native finished in second place to Joe Cada in the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event he said his life wouldn’t change much. Moon said he may put a new roof on his trailer, would keep his job as a logger and keep playing the local poker game at the Elks Club with his buddies. For the most part, that’s exactly what he’s done.
The only appearance Moon has made in a poker related environment since his Main Event final table appearance was at the NBC Heads-Up National Championship, which took place at Caesars. Moon advanced to the second round, before being eliminated by eventual winner Annie Duke. Since then, hardly a peep has come from Moon.
It’s expected that Moon will play in the Main Event this year, but he’s not expected to make an appearance before then. However, during his final table last year he said he may never go through “all this again” meaning it shouldn’t be surprising if he doesn’t show up this year. In short, to the fans out there asking where Moon is and when he will make his WSOP appearance, the answer is simple. Who knows?
Today the World Series of Poker released the top-20 vote earners for the Tournament of Champions. The Tournament of Champions is the equivalent of an all-star game for poker. The only way to be invited to the event was to win one of two sponsor exemptions, win an automatic entry by either winning a past TOC tournament or by winning last year’s WSOP Main Events - Joe Cada WSOP Main Event and WSOP Europe Main Event Barry Shulman - or being one of the top 20 voted on by the public.
The voting process, as most voting processes are, was little more than a popularity contest, so the names that were near the top should be no surprise. The top vote getter was Phil Ivey with 16,267 votes, narrowly beating out Daniel Negreanu who tallied 16,239 votes. On the other end of the spectrum, it was Antonio Esfandiari who snuck in at 20th place with 5,129 votes. Additionally, the only other woman in the event besides Annie Duke (Duke qualified for winning the 2004 TOC) is Jennifer Harman who earned 8,206 votes, which was good for 12th place. The entire list of entrants can be viewed here.
In past “Sights and Sounds” we have heard both Robert Mizrachi and Annie Duke question the process in which players are picked for the event. Mizrachi went as far as saying he thinks the whole process, particularly the voting process, is “rigged.” Duke questioned the sponsorship exemption tournament. That particular tournament was a nine man sit-n-go where the winner would be given a spot in the Tournament of Champions event. However, the sit-n-go was predominately filled with people who had never won a WSOP bracelet before. Duke’s question was simple, “Shouldn’t people in the ‘Tournament of Champions’ at least be past champions?” Apparently not. Winning that sit-n-go was the well respected but non-WSOP bracelet winner Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier.
Additionally, the man who has arguably done more for poker than any other person in the history of the game, Chris Moneymaker, did not earn a spot. That, ladies and gentleman, is why controversy exists around this event.
The Tournament of Champions is scheduled for June 27 at the Rio.
Yesterday there were no final tables but they are certainly making up for that today with three. The $1,000 No Limit Holdem event is down to seven, with Kiet Tran leading the way. Tran has already made a final table this year, finishing 7th in the $1,500 No Limit Event. Additionally, there are no previous WSOP bracelet winners at this final table, meaning a new star will be born today.
The second final table taking place today is the $2,500 No Limit Holdem/Six Handed event. Currently there are two tables left. The most recognizable name still in the field is Justin “J Boosted” Smith. Many of Smith’s friends from the online world are here cheering him on, and if he makes the final table it should make for a lively scene. Smith is best known for his online scores, but that’s only because he is only 22 years old and hasn’t had many years to make his mark at the WSOP—yet.
The third bracelet winner that will be determined by the end of Day 20 of the WSOP will be in the Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8 or better $1,500 event. The elimination of Tom Dwan from this event yesterday ensured that many high stakes poker pros would hold on to their bankrolls (at least for another day), but that’s not the only storyline in this event. Karina Jett is currently in 6th place of 14 remaining. So far, two women have made a final table, but none have been able to walk away with a bracelet. Many people, including those who run the WSOP, have wondered if this is “The Year of the Woman.” Jett could take a major step towards declaring that proclamation with a victory in this event.
Because Stud hi-low games are generally hard for the public to follow there isn’t much of a rail, but as more people get eliminated, more people come by to see if Jett can conquer the field.
On top of the three final tables, there are four other events taking place, making for a very crowded Rio. The media got a bit of a break yesterday, or at least as close as they are going to get to a break in the six weeks that make up the WSOP, but they will certainly be making up on day 20 of the WSOP. It’s of course hard to predict when final tables will end, but if they are anything like the first three weeks, it’s liable to be as the sun rises.
One of the hot topics in poker news lately has been the use of energy shots and drinks by poker players. However, it seems that media row has taken a page from the people they’ve been watching for nearly three weeks—coffee cups and energy drinks are scattered about in the media section. With nights as long as these, it’s hard to blame them.