The World Series of Poker is truly a wonderful thing. Each year poker playing representatives from approximately 120 countries, (more than the Olympics), embark on their poker journey to the Rio with their hopes and dreams of making it big in the poker world. This is the only place in the world that you will ever see this many poker players come together, which also gives these players a chance to catch up with friends they may not have seen for an entire year. However, when that many people get together, specifically in such a tight knit area for the better part of two months, all the cold and flu germs of the world arrive with them.
About two weeks ago members of media row began feeling the effects of a cold. Since then it’s been making its run down media row and out into the tournament area, where a number of poker players are also feeling ill as of late. Luckily it’s nothing serious, dare I say, like the dreaded swine flu, but it is knocking people on their butts for a few days.
That is the reason why there’s been a lapse for a few days in the “Sights and Sounds” pieces. However, I am feeling much better, and I’m ready to take us home the rest of the way.
The big news over the last couple of days is Phil Ivey winning his 8th WSOP bracelet. Ivey won his bracelet in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E event. For the victory he earned over $320,000, which would be a great day for most of the world’s poker players, but for Ivey he was more concerned about how much he had won in side-bets. In fact, Ivey had no clue what first place even paid in the event. While posing for pictures with bracelet number eight he asked, “What did first place pay, anyway?” What that particular event paid has been discussed, but what Ivey earned is most likely a much larger number.
Ivey’s prop-bets are well known with Tom Dwan, so for this one the particulars have been identified. It’s believed Ivey won 1.5 million from Dwan for winning this bracelet, but Dwan can earn it back if he is able to win a bracelet himself at either the remainder of the WSOP, or the World Series of Poker Europe. Even if Ivey wins 10 bracelets this year and Dwan only wins one, the bet would be considered a push.
The other rumored bet was that Howard Lederer was so convinced Ivey wouldn’t win gold this summer that he bet $5,000,000. Either way, Lederer all but confirmed there was some sort of bet between the two. Shortly after winning the event Lederer posted a one word Tweet: “Gulp…”
In his wonderful event recaps, WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla pointed out that Ivey thinks he can get 30 bracelets in his career if he stays healthy. At first that number seems shockingly out of reach. After all, the all-time leader is Phil Hellmuth at 11. However, in the very next sentence Dalla explained how possible that number really is. At his current pace Ivey will reach 30 WSOP bracelets when he is just 48 years old. He is 34 now.
Phil Hellmuth is showing that he’s not quite ready to give up that top spot as the all-time leader in WSOP bracelets. Hellmuth is currently at the final table of the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better event (betcha can’t say that five times fast). If Hellmuth is able to capture his 12th career WSOP bracelet in this event it would definitely stand out like a game of “One of These Things is Not Like the Other.” All of Hellmuth’s bracelets have come playing holdem. For years Hellmuth has held the stigma of being a “one-trick pony” because of his inability to secure a bracelet outside of holdem.
Hellmuth is in sixth place of nine remaining. The final table has already been good to him. When he made the final table he was the second shortest stack, but was able to double up in short order to put him into serious contention.
Hellmuth, who has been one of the more prolific Tweeters of the World Series of Poker, has told his followers not to expect anything else from him as long as he remains at the final table, tweeting: “Down to nine in PLO 8/b, at final table. Need to keep my head down and play great poker until it is over...”
At 5:00 am on day Day 28 of the WSOP Frank Kassela became the first person to win multiple bracelets this year. His win was even more remarkable because when he entered play for day 2 of the tournament he was in last place with 105 remaining. Kassela laughed in the face of the short stack and earn his second bracelet. That was certainly an electrifying moment in the life of Kassela, but a moment of no electricity at the final table earned Kassela a new nickname.
Shortly after the remaining nine players made their way to the final table the lights at the Rio went out. Not only did they go out at the Rio, but they went out on the entire strip, and much of the surrounding area. The players sat in the pitch black doing their best to cover their chips, while waiting a full 20 minutes for the lights to come back on. When the generators kicked in, the action resumed, and Kassela was a new man. The 20 minute break seemed to do him some good, as he quickly became chip leader. While Kassela was posing for pictures someone from the rail called him “Lights Out.” Kassela has officially made it in the poker world. Not only has he earned his second bracelet, he has also earned a nickname.