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

Sights and Sounds WSOP Main Event: Railbirds Play a Bigger Role on Day 5

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Now is when it gets interesting.

Day 4 of the 2010 World Series of Poker $10K NLHE World Championship took the players past the tension of the money bubble, the heartbreak of just missing a payout, and into the minimum amount of money that could make players happy in the Main Event. Needless to say, it was a stressful day full of a mix of emotions.

Day 5, however, took everything to a new level. With the Pavilion Room closed to the public, all action was reserved for the Amazon Room. Even with that, half of the Amazon Room was empty, cleared of all tables, chairs, and even light. The parts of the room that were no longer being used were dark, leaving only the half with tables lighted and bustling. The part of the room with tables was ever decreasing in size as well, as the starting field of 574 was quickly thinning and allowing the maintenance operators to remove more tables, several per hour.

And by contrast of the size of the tournament area decreasing, the amount of money available to players was increasing. Those who departed at the beginning of the day were guaranteed a minimum payout of $24,079, but numbers went up fairly significantly with every level and slew of bustouts. Not only were some of the players getting excited, but the rail was as well.

The rail was filled with friends and family members of the players, those cozied up to the ropes in the hopes of seeing a hand, watching their player win a big hand and scoop chips, or even be there for support if that person happened to bust out of the tournament. But the railbirds, as they’re affectionately called, were a tough bunch to handle. The ESPN camera crews had little space between the tables in which to move, and when a player busted, they generally liked to follow them for their reactions, but friends and family weren’t always cooperative in giving the crews enough space to do just that. The media also struggled with the crowd, as getting in and out of the tournament area became a chore with as many “excuse me” phrases uttered as possible.

It all became a bit more complicated when the tables were consolidated to a fraction of the Amazon Room. Most of the media, with the exception of ESPN staff and the official live reporting team, were ejected from the tournament area into a small corral between the railbirds and the tables. Not only did it make reporting for much of the media quite difficult, as they could see few players and no hands, but standing in the corralled media area blocked the view of the railbirds. Countless requests were heard from family and friends of players for the media to move out of the way so they could see the action. Needless to say, it provided quite the quandary for everyone involved.

The hope was for Day 6 to provide more room between the tables for all of the media to move around comfortably while continuing to give the rail an opportunity to see the progress of their friends and family.

Random occurrences during Day 5 of the WSOP Main Event

During the first level of play, a player hopped up from the table after eliminating an opponent, pushing the excessive celebration rule to the limit with sound very loud “Woo hoo!” yelling of sorts. Regardless of the other person’s bustout, the winner of the hand continued to yell as he jumped toward his friends on the rail. “I’m gonna win this thing, boys!” he boomed.

Ummm, no, sir, you are not going to win the Main Event. Volatility - or karma - of that sort doesn’t win poker tournaments.

Scotty Nguyen tried to escape out of the tournament area during the first break of the day a few minutes before the break actually started, but he can’t seem to resist the fans. He passed a couple on the rail, possibly in their 60’s, and Nguyen grabbed the woman’s hand and said, “Hi, baby, thanks for coming.” Several young men saw Nguyen and asked him to stop for a picture, and they proceeded to ask him about his tournament. Nguyen obliged, as he always does, and gave the men a few fist bumps before finally exiting the area a few minutes after the break began.

“Wow,” said one of the fans. “He’s the best!”


In the hallway leading to the smoking area and outdoor bathrooms in the rear of the Rio Convention Center, a man was walking with two friends (or acquaintances) toward the door. “You should see me in the strip clubs dude,” he boasted. “The girls can’t stay off me!”

Yes, sir, women cannot resist someone with that attitude and self-confidence. Your friends likely believed you, too.

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