WSOP Main Event: Changing faces of the Amazon Room

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On 27 May this year the Amazon Room became the World Series hub when the first event of the World Series began that day in this room. From here the biggest live tournament series anywhere was co-ordinated, becoming like a command bunker where generals and field marshals co-ordinated mass movements of people; sending them to Brasilia, to Miranda, to Buzios, or bringing them back to the Amazon.

These men and women had power over a staff of hundreds and over playing fields of thousands. But now, as the number of tables in their control rests at less than 12, much of that power is now gone and the room has nearly completed its transformation from an incredible poker coliseum into a conference venue with tea and coffee included.

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Gone is the poker kitchen that sold everything from 'Bobbie' sandwiches to beef jerky. Gone are the advertisement boards advertising 'Bobbie' sandwiches and beef jerky. Gone is Poker Palooza, an Amazon sized trade show that also had gladiators fighting. Gone are the stalls outside the Amazon Room selling player portraits and upmarket booze. Gone are the player lounges, and the celebrities they once comforted. Gone are half the light fittings that once hung over the tables, tables that have also gone. Gone are the keys to the door closest to the smoking area.

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The Amazon Room has become just a shadow of its former glory, nothing more than the process of reaching the final nine; washed, scrubbed and with its make-up removed this place is revealed as an ordinary looking hall with rented accommodation beige carpeting. As if someone suspected that such changes would take the World Series spirit out of the Rio too soon, the makeshift bar has been left open.

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There's a human cost too. A total 6,393 players have disappeared, most of them for free. All but 26 of the hundreds of PokerStars qualifiers who arrived in Las Vegas with a Moneymaker dream are among them as are all but two Team PokerStars Pros. Hundreds of dealers have moved on the card rooms new and old and missing are the 200-people-long lines for the bathrooms. The time has flown by.

In their place are a couple of thousand poker purists watching 101 survivors from the rail, just a cash desk and a crowd between each of them and a trip home. Their playing area will gradually disappear entirely for a little over three months only to re-appear in its finest form just a short walk here. Each of the 99 men and two women intend to be there.


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DINNER LOCATION OF THE HOUR

TGI Friday in the Gold Coast - dining establishment favoured by Nichoel Peppe and husband

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STATISTIC OF THE HOUR

One hundred players remain in the Main Event.

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TEACH YOURSELF SWEDISH OF THE HOUR

When one more player is eliminated, and the number of runners can be written with only two digits, our friends in Sweden will be describing that as "tvåsiffrigt".

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TOURNAMENT HOUSEKEEPING OF THE HOUR

Players have returned from the dinner break to play level 24. Blinds and antes are 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante). Yep, we've reached the time when a big blind represents a player's starting stack.

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ONES TO FOLLOW OF THE HOUR

With Thierry van den Berg, ElkY and Joe Hachem all out, our sights turn to Noah Boeken, Peter Eastgate and Dennis Phillips, as well as a populous sea of PokerStars qualifiers.

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OF THE HOUR UPDATE OF THE HOUR

We've just lost a player, so we're now down to 99, all in the time it took us to write up all these "OF THE HOURS"

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ELIMINATION OF THE HOUR

PokerStars sponsored player Bernhard Perner started the day third in chips. By the time he got back from the dinner break he was down to his final 295,000. He got it all-in pre-flop with ace-king versus ace-jack. And, of course, the board ran out with an ace, two nines, a five, and...a jack. He went out in 100th place.

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JOE GIRON PHOTO HOUR

Main Event_Day 6_IJ3_1199_IMPDI.jpgDennis Phillips at the feature table