Friday, July 15, 2011

The Main Event

I have to admit, over the past several years, these have been some of my most fun days from an internet lurking perspective. For television, those first few days of March Madness every year is the event, the one that has me glued to the tube for hours on end, just watching and taking it all in. Well, in terms of things that aren't televised live like college basketball games, that thing is the Main Event of the World Series of Poker.

The first time I remember really following along with the Main Event coverage live on the web was when Greg Raymer made his incredible back to back run so deep in the big one. I must have followed Raymer's stack and hand histories like a hawk for several days as we wound down from the early rounds, to the money, and especially as we worked our way down to just a few hundred, and then eventually under 100 runners remaining. I remember obsessively railing another incredible deep run from our very own blogfather Iggy in the Main Event a few years ago, one that had me finding a whole new set of websites where I could look up individual players' chip counts on a fairly realtime basis. In the more recent past -- mostly with the advent of the ridiculous "November Nine" schedule -- there haven't been quite as many big storylines to follow, and yet every year I'm out there lurking to get the latest on Phil Hellmuth's rantings, Darvin Moon's huge bluff, or the latest story about Dennis Phillips's fan club. And then of course last year, it was Phil Ivey and, to a lesser extent, Antonio Esfandiari who really captivated my attention and made themselves something I really cared about for a few days in the middle of June.

Well the Main Event is back again now, and I am following along, as usual. We had the usual array of bustouts early in the first four levels on Day One, but there are a number of people I have some interest in whose stacks I will be keeping an eye on for the time being, while they're still alive in the tournament anyways. Former Main Event champion and investment banker Robert Varkonyi, a guy who played right next to me at the Taj Mahal in AC a few years ago and again in the tournament I played at Foxwoods just a couple of weeks back, is alive and kicking, with 118,000 chips as of this writing. After his father's uninspired first-day bustout, Todd Brunson has basically the same stack, and another former ME winner and very dangerous player in Carlos Mortensen is also in action on Day 2b with 85k in chips at the moment. E-Dog Erick Lindgren, a guy I've always liked, is very short with under 30k but he's still alive and kicking here about halfway into Day Two, so that's another guy worth watching at least until he either doubles up or gets crippled. For those who love HSP, Patrik Antonius has a nice stack with around 220k in chips, and Steve Dannenmann, who has himself has two deep runs in the Main Event in the past few years, is looking solid with 135k in his stack as well, to go along with around 50k in chips for Darvin Moon. All of these guys are worth watching for me here on Day 2b, in addition to Thomas Fuller, whose blog I've enjoyed reading for quite some time, and who I'm following pretty actively on the twitter feed as well, and Terrence Chan, author of another blog I've enjoyed for years. Both are nursing fairly short stacks at or around the starting stacks, which as Day Two draws on are going to start looking awfully small in comparison to the size of the stakes likely being played at their respective tables. Edit: Moon won some pots in the last hour, and has now nearly doubled his previous stack to over 60k. Go Moon!
Further edit: Moon went on a great post-dinner run, made some big folds, turned a flush and flopped a set, and ended Day 2b with 145k in chips, nicely above average. Wtg Moon!!

Adding to the Day 2b action are those who survived strong from Day 2a yesterday, which list includes online pro Shaun Deeb with nearly 300k in chips, and his father Freddy who is also alive although on a much smaller stack at the moment, and there's Peter Feldman -- Nordberg from the old full tilt days whom I used to love to follow and whom I watched win a WSOP circuit event a few years ago, also sitting on over 275k in his stack. Miami John Cernuto finished Day 2a over 180k chips with still plenty of room to move, and Andrew Brokos, another very prominent longtime poker blogger, is sitting on 137,900 chips after two days of play. Former Main Event champion Tom McEvoy -- whose books on omaha I have read several of over the years -- survived Day 2a with 143k in chips, and I am also following along with Eli Elezra -- another HSP regular -- who has just over 151k in chips.

Any one of the people I mentioned above would be an interesting story that I would definitely be following along with over the coming week of increasingly higher-stakes play at the Rio. And, there are a whole bunch of other players not listed above in whom I would also take an avid interest if they start making a deep run. Despite the staggering proliferation of poker over the past decade both in this country and around the world, and in spite of the several years of mass availability of the game from a great many online sites in most counties in the world, and even with the WSOP continuously selling out by increasing the number of bracelet events year after year in a blind push to growing the gross participation in the WSOP without regard to damage being done to the overall brand, the Main Event continues to stand out as the one big poker event of the year that everyone wants to keep track of, and I am certainly no exception.

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Blogger Journey for Lily said...

Hoy, just back from a week at the WSOP and the Rio. The Rio is still a dump. To my right was Greg Raymer. The guy would just not shut up. I was glad to move to another table.
Played a tune up at Foxwoods in May and to my right was Robert Varkonyi. Doubled up through Varkonyi with a boat as he was on straight draw. Propelled me to 2nd place and $21K.

0-6 MTT events at WSOP but did well in the cash games. Tough decision was to move down to the 1-3. The 2-4 was a grind.
You haven’t discussed the luck factor. MTT is what 30% luck????

12:30 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

MTTs are probably a full 50% luck and 50% skill. Maybe even more than 50% luck, if you factor in all the different kinds of luck in a nlh tournament context. Skill still plays a big role for sure, but no doubt luck is a huge factor in any poker tournament.

I found the 2-5 games at the Rio during WSOP a couple of years ago to be tougher than I thought they would be. I had no trouble winning at the 1-3 games but 2-5 was not populated with WSOP bustout fish as I had suspected it would be.

2-5 at the Bellagio remains the easiest game I found on the Strip at that level.

1:33 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

"MTTs are probably a full 50% luck and 50% skill."

How's this for luck? I played an MTT (actually, a donkathon) two days ago at Harrah's Horseshoe Southern Indiana. The only dealer mistake at my table was when a dealer flipped over a red ace when dealing my second card. It was replaced by a three. My other hole card? The other red ace!

The hand eventually included two guys going all in. What could have been ...

8:28 PM  
Blogger Keyideas said...

I like to play poker game which is my favorite game but I love read you long post related to my favorite game. I am waiting for thing more about poker playing cards and poker play tips.

11:21 AM  

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