Sometimes it just isn’t your day. I couldn’t catch a cold at the NLHE event at the WSOP Wednesday.
But let me digress and share my enjoyable bus experience yesterday. I left downtown at 10:20 a.m., giving me plenty of time to make it to the noon tournament on time, right? Not. I rode one bus to the corner of Paradise and Flamingo and waited patiently for the route that would take me to the Rio. I waited, and waited and waited. Forty minutes later a bus finally arrives, immediately followed by another one. The doofus driving the first bus would not let us on because he was running late. No shit. Don’t you think the people wanting to ride the bus are also running late asshole?
To quickly end this story, I make it to the Rio with 15 minutes to spare, but by the time I walk the 26.2 miles to the convention area and complete my registration I make it to table 24 just before the tournament director says to, “Shuffle up and deal!”
Unlike the WSOP tournament I played in last year, in which at various times I sat with Phil Hellmuth, Amir Vahedi, Dewey Tomko, Blair Rodman, Charlie Shoten and David Plastik, there were no names at my table Wednesday. The table was full of rather nondescript characters – the guy in the Cubs cap, the European wearing a Knicks sweatshirt – except for one Spaniard with an exquisite moustache and goatee that conjured visions of Cortez. There was another guy immediately to my right wearing a Poker School Online cap, who was playing very tightly. Why wear a cap to the table that essentially says “I am a doofus.” Everyone at the table stole his blinds repeatedly.
They stole a few of mine as well because I couldn’t get crap. The one decent hand I had was KK and an ace flop, I was check raised and had to muck. I got a lot of trouble hands like A-10 suited that didn’t pan out on the flop.
Overall, a pretty tight table, but whenever I tried to steal with moderate hands someone woke up with a hand. It was a day in which I could do no right.
Early on there was an interesting hand where the European made a straight on the turn and another guy made three kings on the river. The European bet and the old guy raised all in. The European called, or at least he thought he did. He forgot one green 25 chip. The old guy argued that his opponent conceded the hand and wanted the European’s hand declared dead. After the floormen were brought over – it took two to make a decision – the European was awarded the pot, but was given a 10-minute penalty for exposing his hand before all the betting was completed. I hate angle shooters like that old timer. He knows the guy wasn't conceeding the hand.
After two hours and the first break, my 1,500 was dwindled down to about half. I got a chance to finally explore the tournament area at break. There are several vendors selling poker related merchandise. One buxom blonde standing behind a table wore a shirt that read, “I have a nice pair. Want to see them?” I heard her say to another woman, “They’re all staring at me” as the tournament players walked by. Is that surprising?
Most of the big names are here. The Full Tilt Poker pros are all wearing jerseys with their names on the back, except for Chris Ferguson, dressed to the nines in his black cowboy hat and suit. He attracted a pretty good crowd of autograph seekers. One had him sign a 9 of diamonds. I would think Ferguson would be worth at least a jack.
Now Mike Matusow would be more of the 9 of diamonds speed. He sat down beside me as I talked on my phone, tied his shoe and promptly laid his head against the wall as if taking a nap. He looked like a man who needed a friend. Later, I saw him wave to someone down to the hallway, to whom I could not tell. No one waved back.
When we returned to the tables, the blinds had risen to 500-100 and still there were no cards for me. About halfway through the third level I finally went all in for 550 with the A-5 of spades in the cutoff seat and was called by an A-K on the button. Sayonara Johnny.
I thought it fitting to cap the first full day here with a trip to Binion’s (no longer called the Horseshoe after its sale) for the 8 p.m. tournament there. I made it more than halfway through the field, but that’s it. Unlike earlier in the day, I caught a few hands, like KK in the first hand of the tournament and AK about seven or eight times. But AK also proved distastrous when I lost to a KQ on a river queen after a king on the flop.
Binion’s just isn’t the same. The poker room is a ghost town compared to last April. Benny’s Bullpen, once home to the main action at the WSOP is now the home of The Vinnie Favorito Comedy Show (only $29.95 plus tax, dark on Saturday.)