WSOP Main Event: The day after the Sabbath

wsop2009_thn.gifAs everyone related to the poker world surely knows by now, day 1D of the World Series Main Event is more than just a sell out, it's an over-sell. Players are squeezed into each available corner of the Rio's three tournament rooms, and still hundreds have been forced to miss out on the big dance as there simply isn't room to accommodate them.

The fairly obvious question that might be posed to many of the disappointed is: "Why didn't you play on an earlier day?" But while several would probably be forced to shrug their shoulders, look skyward, and admit that they couldn't really answer that, there are a clutch of those seated in today's field for whom playing yesterday was simply not an option. Sundays in the online poker world really is the sabbath, with the PokerStars Sunday Million and the PokerStars Warm Up the most prestigious of a string of tournaments known collectively as the Sunday Majors. The Sunday Million guarantees a $1.5m prize pool and invariably shatters it, and the Sunday Warm Up regularly gets pretty close as well. Serious poker players schedule their whole week around one night. And why not?

That was yesterday, this is today. And seemingly all of the heavyweights from the online world are seated in today's Main Event field. Andy Ward, from the United Kingdom, is known on PokerStars as GetItQuietly and only one week ago he finished first in the Sunday Warm Up, outlasting a field of more than 4,000 players to turn his $215 buy in into $131,000. Ward is a PokerStars qualifier here in Vegas, but he's no stranger to the live environment either, having finished runner up in a bracelet event at the 2007 World Series, and won a side event at the World Poker Open in Tunica in the same year. His in form and in the Brasilia Room, where he is taking it steady at the moment and remains close to his starting stack.

Main Event_Day 1D_IJG_5815_IMPDI.jpg

Andy Ward

On at least one of his online profiles, Ward admits to admiring the game of Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet, another huge hitter in the PokerStars card room, and another player in the day 1D field. Van Fleet has four World Series cashes to his name, and has also cropped up on the EPT and the LAPT over the past couple of seasons. He remains best known online, however, especially after the publication last year of "Winning Poker Tournament One Hand at a Time", which he co-authored with other online poker titans. It received universal praise and offered an invaluable insight into the thinking of the best online poker pros.

Main Event_Day 1D_IJG_5805_IMPDI.jpg

Van Fleet has come out the gate flying today, and is up to around 60,000. He's clearly still in the groove from last night's action on PokerStars, where apestyles finished 12th in the $100 rebuy on PokerStars, already his 12th cash in a major online tournament since the start of June. Wasn't he supposed to be playing the World Series at the same time?

Those two are also joined in today's field by Laurence "rivermanl" Houghton, Matt "ch0ppy" Kay, Christian "charder" Harder and Ricky "ronaldkosh" Fohrenbach, with whom we will try and catch up later. This multi-table railing in the live environment isn't all that easy, I can assure you.

* * * * *


"I got a manicure and a pedicure and I feel great!" --60-something, graying male dealer

* * * * *


Victor Ramdin shook his head.

"We've got some sick bets going on at this table," he said.

And he didn't mean with chips. A little while ago he got $2,300 to his $1,000 that he would overtake one of his opponent's chip stacks by the end of the day. At the time, Ramdin had 12,000 chips to his opponent's 54,000. Since then, Ramdin has worked his stack up to better than 40,000.

Said Ramdin of his opponent--and to his face, "He knows he's got no shot now."

* * * * *


"Lost a huge pot to Chad Brown with set over set." --Shirley Rosario

* * * * *


On a board of 6♣2♣5♠3♥8♠ Steve Garfinkel shoved all-in for more than 40,000. By this time there was only one other player in the hand, Raj Vohra, who was now faced with a call for his tournament life.

It had all started with some limping under the gun and checking on the flop before Vohra made it 2,200 on the turn. Garfinkle bumped things up to 6,200 which Vohra called. A bet and a call on the turn and an "Insta-jam on the river" by Garfinkle, as described by one eye-witness sitting in seat four. Now Vohra was in clear psychic pain.

"Every time I've had a read on you I'm right" said Vohra before time was called. The clock ticked down with Vohra running through options out loud. It was a tough one and he knew it and hadn't decided what to do even as the clock ran out. His hand was dead and Garfinkle graciously showed him pocket fives. Vohra screamed inside his head and sat back down. Garfinkle was still relaxed.

"The main reason I was so relaxed was because it was for his tournament life not mine. But after the hand went on so long I started to think what if I didn't have what I thought I had."

* * * * *


Main Event_Day 1D_IJG_5792_IMPDI.jpg

Keeping your head down: Johnny Lodden