2007 WSOP: Truths
If we venture into the realm of things that don't involve math, pot odds, implied odds, implied tilt odds, and the price of a re-heated hamburger (all easily calculated figures here at the World Series), there are are several loose truths that occupy the time of a working poker journalist.
Stud is slow
There are people who don't know that seven card stud exists. They are people who came of age in an era when poker was no more than no-limit hold'em. It's like being born at the dawn of the Internet. It's hard for the young'uns to even conceive of having to research a term paper at the library. That is what Google is for, after all.
In large part, that same generation has a hard time conceiving of a limit seven card stud game that allows for no all-in aggression and requires the patience of Job. It's no fault of their own. After all, they were born into a world where microwaves were ancient technology and baked potatoes only took 10 minutes to cook instead of an hour. Anyone who can download "Pet Sounds" instead of standing in line for the vinyl copy (okay, even I'm young enough to have not done that) can't be expected to wait two hours to find a stud hand they can play past fourth street.
So, that's why we find a decidedly older (and perhaps wiser) crowd in the $5,000 World Series Seven Card Stud Championship. Sure, there are some young guns (most notably in my mind, Isabelle Mercier and Jay "WhoJedi" Newnum), but most of the crowd are the hardened veterans who can wait for hours for the...perfect...hand.
And that, friends, is why one can walk away from the event for two hours and come back and find it largely untouched by sickening suck-outs brought on by all-in bluffs. This is a tournament that won't be won today. In one word, Humberto Brenes summed it up for me: "Tomorrow."
Looking toward tomorrow are Team PokerStars' Barry Greenstein, Humberto Brenes, Greg Raymer, and Isabelle Mercier.
Hold'em is Big
There's no need to argue this point strongly. Today's $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em contest proved that, despite the past year's changes in the poker environment, the poker economy is still thriving and able to pull massive crowds. To wit: this year Harrah's constructed a wedding-style tent behind the Amazon Room to handle overflow crowds. Apart from an unfortunate wind storm yesterday that caused the temporary shutdown of the tent, the room has been used every day.
Among the crowd, I found Team PokerStars' Katja Thater. Her eyes keep cutting back to the $1,000 re-buy event where her sweetheart Jan has fone deep (more on that in a second), but she is more fixed on her table. She's relaxed, her shoes kicked off, and looking to go deep.
However, going deep tonight won't get her to the final table. She and ElkY and a few hundred other people are still fighting it out. They will be done in about three hours and will still have a long way to go if they are going to make the final table.
Re-buys are fun
I'm not sure whether it's the reckless, I-don't-give-a-damn nature of the tournaments' beginnings or the supreme deep stacked poker that takes place at the end. Regardless, I love watching re-buy tournaments.
As I type, the final two tables of yesterday's $1,000 no-limit hold'em re-buy event are playing down to the final nine. At this hour, Amir Vahedi has the chip lead, but the rest of the field is insanely tough and you're likely to recognize half the field. I would've included pbdrunks among those still in, but, just before I walked in to write this up, he declared, "That was the wrong time to make a move." He got his money in with 66 on a QJJx flop vs QJ.
While the bad news is that pbdrunks is on the rail, the good news is his chips went to none other than Jan Von Halle, PokerStars' German blogger.
pbdrunks in the final moment, with Jan stacking chips
Yesterday, as the 50 mph wind gusts were tearing Vegas apart and causing panic in the poker tent, I said to someone, "This is why I like the World Series. No matter how routine and same-old same-old it can be, there's always something interesting to break up the monotony."
That's the thing. While there are truths here, most of them are pretty loose. They give you something to expect--a metric to follow, sort of--but, in the end, you never really know what's going to happen. Stud is slow, hold'em is big, and re-buys are fun. But, I couldn't predict with even a modicum of certainty who is going to win any of the three events. And so, that's why I'll be back here tomorrow.
And that's why I hope you will, as well.