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

WSOP Sights and Sounds Day 30: The Player’s View

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On Saturday I decided to put down the pen and paper for the day in favor of playing in the $1,000 no limit holdem event.  Playing in a World Series of Poker event was a first for me, and something I had been thinking about for a couple of years.  Even though I had thought about it for a while, I don’t think it caused any added pressure because as a long time poker player I was perfectly aware that I could bust in the very first hand, and that’s completely standard.  I obviously didn’t want to do that because the $1,000 buy-in was about $850 higher than I had ever played before, but still, I knew what was possible.

On Friday I went to sign up for the event.  While I was standing in line I was talking to a man who was also playing in the event.  While we were talking he told me that he had just seen Chris “Jesus” Ferguson at the payout cage, and how cool he thought that was.  Then we saw Men “The Master” Nguyen go to the payout cage, and once again my new found friend spoke in awe.  Because I am used to seeing the big named pros everyday as part of my job, I am not in awe of seeing these players around the casino.  But, I didn’t want to seem like a jerk, so I faked a little bit of awe myself, because I knew the person I was talking to was really enjoying seeing his favorite poker stars in person.  I have been covering these superstars of poker every day for a month now and was lucky enough to meet a lot of sports stars as a kid thanks to my father’s job in the media, so I am not easily flustered by the upper echelon of the poker world, and I was hoping they would help me should I see one of them at my poker table.

On Saturday I arrived about 10 minutes before the tournament started.  I sat down between the two people already seated at the table.  On my immediate left was one of the largest men I have ever seen.  On top of being hefty, he had shoes that could have easily been used as boats if the Rio suddenly experienced flashed flooding.  I would end up knocking into his shoes about 312 times in the time we shared a table.  On my immediate right was a woman in her 20’s that was wearing a very strong perfume.  When you combined the smell of the perfume with the smell of the beef jerky my big footed friend was eating, it made for a perfect storm of smells that combined right in front of my nose.  It was like no other smell I had experienced before, nor would I wish it on anyone.
For the first two hours I only had one hand worth playing, A-10 offsuit, which I ended up folding to a raise pre-flop.  After the first two hours of play there was the first 20 minute break, then I noticed my aunt and uncle by the rail.  They were a wonderful good luck charm, as I was able to double up within 5 hands of seeing them.  Most of the double up came when I held on with pocket queens against a short stack that was holding A-K offsuit.  More importantly, the woman wearing the strong perfume was knocked out, which may have been the best luck of all.  She was replaced by another woman, but with a much less pungent smell.
After another two hours we reached our second 20 minute break.  When we returned, our dealer, Brian, began talking about some of the unrest the WSOP dealers have been experiencing.  Apparently, on Thursday a handful of dealers walked out, due to long hours and lack of pay.  Most of the dealers’ complaints seem to stem from the $200 daily tournament the WSOP started about three weeks ago.  It is a deep stack tournament that starts at 1 p.m., and has been going as late as 7 a.m.  Brian told us that the dealers didn’t expect to have to be at the Rio every morning until 7 a.m., and that the people who have been cashing in the event aren’t tipping well, so they weren’t making very much money.  Brian was also surprised to see that he would be getting a break today.  He said for the last couple days they didn’t even have enough dealers to take the amount of breaks that they were promised when they signed on.  The thought here is hopefully the dealers can hang on for another couple of weeks, and hopefully things will change enough by the time next year’s WSOP rolls around so that both sides are happy.  Brian explained though, “I don’t think dealers are ever perfectly happy.”  Tough spot.

Five hours in my table broke, and I said goodbye to Big Foot and headed to the next table.  I wasn’t there long.  About five hands after I sat, I looked down to see pocket queens in middle position.  I made the standard raise, and the button called.  The flop came 8-5-2 rainbow, and I made a raise.  The button mini-raised.  I thought for a minute, thinking he may have re-raised thinking I was just making a continuation bet.  I also thought (hoped, prayed) that he had something like pocket 9’s – pocket J’s.  I opted to be aggressive, and raised all-in.  When he snap-called, I knew I was in trouble.  Sure enough he turned over pocket deuces, giving him three-of-a-kind.  The turn and river were jacks, and just like that it was over.  Additionally, my aunt and uncle (a.k.a. Lucky Charms) were at dinner at the time, so this was clearly all their fault.

Today I replace my poker player hat with my writing hat, and wonder why I have so many hats and why I have to wear a different one every time I do something different.  I had a friend ask me if my experience was worth $1,000.  It was an interesting question.  A grand is a lot of money for me, but playing in a WSOP bracelet event was a goal of mine for a long time.  I got to experience something I had never done before.  I learned that I can play poker with people who have much more live experience than me.  So yeah, I guess it was worth $1,000.  At least.  

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