(Distributed August 8, 2006)
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS DEFINITELY ISN’T STAYING THERE
LAS VEGAS — This town’s going to need a new slogan.
Thanks to 593 credentialed World Series of Poker media (as of Sunday), and spectators using cell phones constantly on the Rio’s crowded Amazon Room floor to spread hand-by-hand results, “what happens in Vegas” most definitely isn’t staying in Vegas.
The word getting out is that this main event set records both for total number of players — 8,773 compared with 5,619 last year — and lightning-fast eliminations. At the start of Day 5 action Sunday, only 135 players remained, far fewer than the expected 300. By the first break Sunday, only 104 were left.
At that rate, the field could be whittled to the final nine sometime Tuesday, which would mean a day off Wednesday. The final table remained set for Thursday, regardless.
The fast-and-furious action had media and spectators spinning. Virtually all of the big-name pros you see on TV busted out by the weekend.
One of the longest-lasting big-name players was Joe Hachem, last year’s world champ. He was eliminated in 238th place just before dinner Saturday night despite holding pocket aces — poker’s best starting hand. Another was poker’s most popular player, Daniel Negreanu. His roller-coaster ride finally ended just a few minutes later in 229th place.
Which meant that the media and the spectators mostly were tracking the fortunes of largely unknown players such as Jamie Gold of Malibu, Calif., who blistered opponents in a two-hour stretch Saturday night to push his chip stack to $3.7 million. That was the best as Sunday’s play began.
After practically every hand, someone watching from the aisle would grab their phone and call a friend or family member to give them the good or bad news. With the field down to just 100-200 players, it was possible to get a decent look at every table from outside the ropes.
Reporters had about the same visibility, except that for five minutes at a time, two reporters were being allowed inside the ropes to get a close-up look. It’s a strange feeling, standing beside a table watching players you don’t know make critical decisions for millions of dollars.
I tried to stay unnoticed, but it was hard to hide when there were only a few folks walking around in a confined area while everyone else was sitting, intensely involved in the action. I was glad when the five minutes were over.
Two media centers for reporters stayed busy virtually around the clock. Some copy was headed for print publication, but most of it was being posted immediately on poker-connected Web sites and on blogs.
One of those blogs, of course, was at luckydogpoker.com. Check it out!
DEALERS KNOW THE BIG TIPPERS
It’s not just the players logging long hours at the tables during a marathon event such as the World Series. So do dealers. It’s not easy work: They’re busy every hand, most of the players aren’t.
About 600 dealers from across the nation were brought in for this year’s series of tournaments and cash games. All were looking for one thing — tips!
So which tournament pros tip the best? I asked a group of dealers that question. Most often mentioned as good tippers were Daniel Negreanu, Allen Cunningham, and Barry Greenstein.
Only Cunningham remained alive in the main event as of Sunday, so I’m pretty sure I know who the dealers will be rooting for if he makes the final table.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to email@example.com for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2006 RUSS SCOTT
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