WSOP Main Event: Coming up on Sunday

wsop2009_thn.gifIn the past hour, we have not only witnessed vast and irresponsible consumption of Jack's Links beef jerky and several people looking at their watches and checking to see if they had time for a nap, but we have also seen the the richest action of the tournament so far.

In all pursuits, numbers can lie. But in poker they tend to have a tell a fuller story than in other areas, and here's the stark reality: Antoine Saout began the hour with about 25 million in chips. At the end of it, he had a chip-leading 53 million. That's his reward for putting his chips to use, putting his chips at risk, but emerging as the winner of the biggest pot of the 2009 Main Event to date. Here's what happened.

Steven Begleiter, at that point the chip leader, opened in late position to 1,500,000. Antoine Saout, in the small blind, re-raised to 4,500,000. Everyone else left them to it and Begleiter called to see a flop of 8♥3♣9♥. And then it all went off. Saout checked; Begleiter bet 6,300,000 and Saout moved all in. Begleiter didn't seem too happy about that, but made the call nonetheless, and he was actually pumping his fist when he flipped 8♣7♣ to learn that he was "ahead" against Saout's A♥K♥.

The word "ahead" is in inverted commas, though, because with a flush draw and two overcards, Saout was a 51-49 favourite. ("Behind but ahead" is how it was explained to this mathematical cretin.) And when the [10h] turned, that was that: Begleiter was drawing dead and Saout was heading to the chip lead.

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Antoine Saout

He started second bottom in chips, but this final table has belonged to the Frenchman so far.

Up to that point, Joe Cada had been prominent. He's another one happy to put his chips to work, despite a yo-yoing stack, and his frequent pre-flop raising picked up a lot of blinds and antes. They're becoming increasingly valuable: we have now entered level 37, where the blinds are 300,000-600,000 (50,000 ante). Yowsers.

Oh, we mentioned people looking at their watches. That's because, although we've all been at this since about 10am today and still feel strong (like bull), we're coming up on midnight with no end in sight. There will be no stopping until we are down to two players.

So, now is about the time of night that we start thinking about how we're going to miss the early NFL games in the morning, about how our Sunday breakfast will probably be something like a prime rib or after dinner drink, and about how we're glad the WSOP scheduled a day off tomorrow.

See, the predicitons were all over the map on how long we'd go today. The smart money was just over the 2:00am mark. Now, though, as we edge up on midnight, we've re-set the line at 4:04am, and most veterans are taking the over.

We once again turn to the young lady who is not working for us this week, but drives our LAPT and WCOOP coverage, Change100. Moments ago she reminded us that the longest WSOP final table ever was last year's Main Event, coming in at 22 hours and 484 hands. She again reminded us, the 2008 final table was six-handed by hand #53. With more than 160 hands in the books so far today, we are still seven-handed.

All of this means very little to the players sitting at the table. All they want to do is make it until Monday night at 10pm when the heads-up battle is schedule to start. That said, there are more than 1,500 other people in the Penn and Teller theater who are looking for some serious action to explode.

Pray for us.

Or pray for a video blog. Here, your prayers have been answered:


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Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker