WSOP Main Event: Kremenliev provides Garrett swansong
In contrast to Kremenliev's carefully navigated course, Garrett's navigation was more that of a man blindfolded and being the wheel of a truck with a flat tire. But what he lacked in poker finesse he made up for in comedic swagger, rousing a tired table into high spirits.
He started by insisting everyone at the table play the next hand standing up. "Let's all stand for one hand" he began, "you too dealer... GET UP! Now everyone close your eyes..."
This was too much for Berry Johnson who remained laughing in his seat - World Champions have earned that right.
"Okay, you can sit down if you fold... or raise."
The table were loving it, so were the audience which now consisted of a couple of ESPN cameras, countless other press outlets and as many players, skipping their own action back at their own tables, to peer through any gaps to watch what was going on.
There was still action to deal with. Through this Garrett had got to the flop with Kremenliev, the flop showing 9♦A♣Q♠. Garrett had checked and the action swung to Kremenliev who started counting out chips...
"Don't do it Potter!" said Garrett, referring to Kremenliev's assumed resemblance to Harry Potter owing to his black horn rimmed glasses beneath shoulder length hair and a PokerStars cap a size too small. "Don't start counting. It's because we stood... look at the action!"
Garrett was in full swing now, the microphones getting nearer and cameras turned on, he was ready for his close up and ready to call it a day. "I don't have a pair" he proclaimed, "but I have a gutshot pair!"
The action was still on him, 4,000 to call...
"That's almost all I have" he said, before turning to Berry Johnson. "Am I pot committed? Can I ask for help?"
Garrett went back into the tank, serious for a second, he turned to Kremenliev.
"If I go all in and I lose... I want you to stay in school." He went on "If I go all in would you call?" Kremenliev said he might. "You might? But if I do I do have the option of hitting you."
Ten minutes had passed no but nobody seemed to mind. It was turning into one of those memorable hands at a time in the tournament that didn't affect things enough for anyone to call the clock (although Garrett admitted to having called the clock on himself once "I hear voices") and with everyone increasingly aware that the only stack at risk was Garrett's. He called. It was time for a turn...
Garrett thought of a card but the turn came 3♦. "That's not it!" he said, checking. Garrett's poker problems were working against him but the audience was all his. Then Berry Johnson piped in...
"We should all stand up..."
Johnson was now Garrett's hero. Everyone at the table stood, the railbirds tiptoed above their heads and Kremenliev bet 10,000. Garrett had the decision again...
"I have close to a pair, with an average kicker. My friend has a knife. What should I do?"
Finally, the fanfare exhausted, Garrett called. Kremenliev showed Q♣9♣ to Garrett's Q♦J♥. There were handshakes al round before Kremenliev stacked up his chips.
Garrett departed with a good luck to everyone. "I had the kicker" he said as consolation "I had the kicker..."
Kremenliev came out of it the better, the first PokerStars qualifier to 200,000 and likely, after a period of solid aggressive play to be the first to 300,000. A touch of luck helped him along the way as did the last hand with Garrett.
"I was pretty sure I was good" he said. "He kept things funny so I didn't fall asleep".
Kremenliev up some more as we head into the last level of the day.
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STATISTIC OF THE HOUR BRAD GARRETT SPECIAL
Number of rule violations during Brad Garrett's last hand: 9
Number of people who cared: 0
Headcount of reporters, cameramen and other players around Brad Garrett's table: 53
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TOURNAMENT STAT OF THE HOUR
The average chip stack is 80,600
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QUOTE OF THE HOUR
Swedish pro Ramzi Jelassi: "Om det var WSOP varje vecka skulle jag vinna minst en per år. Nej jag är nog bättre än så jag skulle nog vinna en och en halv gång." (Translation: If the World Series was played every week, I'd win it at least once a year. No, I'm better than that. I'd win it one and a half times."
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HAND OF THE HOUR
Juan Manuel Pastor versus Amarillo Slim Preston. Slim limps under the gun and five other do the same. Pastor, in the big blind, says: "Well, you know what I'm going to do now," and raises to 3,000. Slim is the lone caller. The flop is all small cards, two diamonds, and Pastor checks. Slim moves all in for about 30,000 and Pastor calls for all his stack. Pastor has pocket jacks, Slim has A♦9♦ but misses the flush draw. Pastor fights on with 90,000-odd, while Slim moved all in on the next hand for his last 5,000 and is eliminated.
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JOE GIRON'S PHOTO HOUR