Friday, July 10, 2009

The Main Event Rolls On

I have to admit, I have had a fun time tuning in when I can to ESPN's coverage of the 2008 WSOP Main Event this week. They've smartly been running it every evening this week, I imagine to capitalize on whatever interest there is out there right now while the 2009 Main Event is happening live at the Rio, and I think it's been working. I've spoken with at least two other blonkeys who have been enjoying watching this week as well, culminating last night in the annual elimination of Phil Hellmuth. After having to watch him just generally be a pompous ass and pimp hard for the cameras over the past few days, Thursday night brought Phil's eventual elimination from the event when his AQ -- pushed allin preflop from early position for his last 10 big blinds -- failed to catch against a late position opponent's JJ.

Last year's Hellmuth elimination was different from most of his recent big tournament bustouts. Instead of flipping out and going crazy on the guy for his call or his play in general that led to Phil's elimination, this time there was simply nothing he could do or say to attack his opponent's play. Phil was short, he pushed from EP and the guy woke up with pocket Jacks. Moreover, Phil hadn't spent the past two days bitching and moaning about how everyone else at his table sucks balls at poker (unlike previous years), so he couldn't even go off for an hour about how horrible everyone else had been playing. Instead, all the way down to I think 45th place, we literally got to watch Phil's emotions get the best of him. When he fails to make that Ace or Queen on the river, we can see for the first time how surely Phil believed he was going to win the ME in 2008. Tears literally welled up in his eyes, and he for a few minutes looked like he was going to bawl right there on camera for all to see. He even managed to get in the utterly ludicrous statement "I get so unlucky in this god damn tournament" as we got to watch him try to cope with losing after a long day of getting outplayed by amateurs over and over again. Yeah, the guy with the most cashes -- by far -- in World Series of Poker history, the guy who 20 years ago became the youngest player then ever to win the WSOP Main Event, that guy is unlucky in the WSOP. Right.

Then the camera panned away, and before we knew it, it was all gone. The next shot we see of the Poker Brat is him walking away down the back hallway behind the Amazon Room at the Rio, explaining to the camera that he plays 10,000 times better poker than every single other person at his table. Now that's the guy we all know and are disgusted by.

Anyways, will today be the day that Phil Hellmuth busts from the 2009 Main Event? It could be -- the action will begin with Day 3 at noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern time, and Hellmuth joins another 1700+ remaining of the nearly 6500 who started last week, with all 1700 playing together today for the first time since the Main Event began. After four Day 1s and two Day 2s, today is the first time that the Rio has the resources to seat everyone in the big ballroom and play. And with Hellmuth sitting at about a third more than average, he's got enough chips to wait for the good hands, but at the same time Day 3 will definitely be a day where you have to make some moves and climb up the leaderboard. Assuming that roughly half the field is eliminated during today's action, that means the average chips will double again today to somewhere around 240k. If Hellmuth folds for 10 hours and doesn't do much to accumulate further here, he'll be at a quarter of average or less by nighttime, so you can bet he will be looking for spots to make some moves and take some big hands deep into some pots.

Otherwise, thanks to Astin for some of the information I was seeking. It sounds like Lucko busted somewhere on Day 2B, leaving just sprstoner -- easily the best performing member of our crew in this year's WSOP -- among bloggers remaining to play Day 3. Stoner's blog indicates that he dropped from 70k to 43k over the last hour of play on Day 2B, but if anybody can find a way to nab a quick double and start building from there, it's stoner. That said, 43k is quite a hole to be starting in at this point, down close to a third of the average stack, so stoner will begin Day 3 quite short on chips and in need of something good to happen fast.

One other question I have, which occurred to me after watching the 2008 WSOP on Thursday evening: where is Tiffany Michelle this year? Her website indicates an appearance at the Playboy Mansion this coming Saturday, but do you mean to tell me that after last year's performance, Michelle never even came out to play in the Main Event this year? That can't be, can it? Just from watching her last year, it was obvious that she truly believed she was the best player in the room, so how could she pass up another shot at 8 mill? If that is the case I will be utterly flabbergasted.

OK so that's a wrap on the WSOP Main Event preview for this weekend. Action picks up at 3pm ET today with Day 3, and I believe the cash should be hit somewhere probably on Saturday as the Day 4 crowd inches down to the 648 players who will receive payouts for their ME performances this year. By the end of the weekend we should be down to a very small number of players. Will Phil Hellmuth be among them? Will Phil Ivey keep accumulating chips and for a deep run in 2009? Will Greg Raymer double early and continue his push to a third deep WSOP run in the past five years? And will Dan Harrington continue his run to an amazing fourth WSOP Main Event final table? Only one way to find out: follow along with the action, whether it's with Pauly like me, or at pokernews, or otherwise.

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Blogger HighOnPoker said...

I think Tiffany Michelle released a statement that she could not play this year because she had too many other commitments. Translation: no one would buy her in. I don't think she got more than 1/3 of the 300k she won, and after taxes, that's got to be like 65k at most, so she's probably not exactly rolling in the dough right now.

3:28 AM  
Blogger sunsetmirage said...

She actually won her seat to the WSOP 2009 shortly after last year's WSOP by winning a charity tourney. She had to pass it up due to another obligation which will be revealed soon. Funny how much speculation goes on!

2:09 AM  

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