WSOP Diary Day 27: PokerStars party goes Dogg style; Phillips hits the rink

wsop2010_thn.jpgBack in the old days, if you wanted to get the news out, you hired a fat man with a bell to stand on a street corner and shout about it. We moved from there through carrier pigeons, newspapers, radio, television and then the internet. And then Twitter didn't just revolutionise news reporting, it made it a participation sport for anyone with at least one finger, one mobile phone and one idea in their head. (On second thoughts, all of those criteria are also optional. Especially the last one.)

Anyhow, the fingers of the Twittering classes were a-blur yesterday with news of a party. Not just any old party, but the PokerStars World Series party which has, in a very short space of time, become the must-attend event of this seven-week jamboree.

Dita Von Teese titillated partygoers in 2008 from the inside of a champagne glass, Nelly convinced even the most frigid that it was getting hot in here in 2009. And the big news this year is that Cordozar Calvin Broadus will be stepping on the stage of Rain at the Palms to entertain the masses.

Who? Ah, I suppose you might know him by his other name: Snoop Dogg.


Snoop Dogg performing in Bucharest. The rapper will play the PokerStars party

Yep, the man variously known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, Uncle Snoop and Tha Boss Dogg - or simply as one of the biggest acts in music - will be entertaining all PokerStars qualifiers (plus a guest each) at this year's massive party, held on the day off from the Main Event. It is invariably the hottest ticket in town, and the best news for PokerStars players is that you've already got one.

Full details will be posted here - and no doubt across blogs, news sites and Twitter - as and when it's all confirmed. But yeah, it's the kind of freebie FPPs can't buy - but you're all invited.



The news of Snoop Dogg's impending arrival wasn't quite enough to stop the action at the WSOP, which is just as well for the Team PokerStars Pros duo of Sandra Naujoks and Noah Boeken, who both went deep enough into the $10,000 pot limit hold 'em championship to trouble the cashiers.


Sandra Naujoks

Boeken bust in 21st for $21,665, when his A♠Q♦ couldn't beat Peter Jetten's A♣K♥ all in pre-flop. Naujoks managed to climb the ladder a little further and earned $34,639 for her 15th spot. Her demise came with pocket fives against Clement Thumy's pocket nines.



It was day two in the razz, and that meant poker's great and good returned to the felt for another long day of trying to make the worst hand possible. Poker players have ample opportunity to go chasing royal flushes with all the hold 'em they play, so they must relish the chance to hit the skids and get paid every now and again.

Still, the best poker players are always the best poker players, whether they're heading for the top or the bottom. And that means that this table, which assembled midway through the day, is one of the best/worst/best-at-being-worst ever assembled:

Seat one - Jen Harman
Seat three - Daniel Negreanu
Seat six - Matt Glantz
Seat seven - Isaac Haxton
Seat eight - Greg Raymer



A Raymer's eye view of Daniel Negreanu


Negreanu's eye view of Raymer

When the day ended, Raymer and Negreanu had both made the money, but had also both busted. Raymer took $4,500 for 37th; Negreanu earned $5,423 for 29th. They were followed out the door by their Team PokerStars Pro team-mates Joe Hachem and Dario Minieri, who bust in 22nd and 19th respectively.

There was no cash for Katja Thater, who had kept us entertained with the razz-based tweets over the past couple of days, but couldn't round them off with an "I'm in the money" shout.


Katja Thater

That opening razz table narrowly edges out Jason Mercier's starting table in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split, which also featured the EPT London season one champion John Shipley, the Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown (fresh from a final table in the $3,000 HORSE) and JJ Liu. The table broke fairly quickly, but not before Liu had perished at the hands of Brown.

All the money went in on the turn with the following four cards out: K♠5♥A♣3♠. Brown had 2♥4♦4♥3♣ and when the 6♠ rivered, his wheel scooped and sent Liu out the door.

By day's close in that tournament, 171 players remained from the 847 starting field. Mercier and Brown were gone, but there was a welcome appearance near the top of the leaderboard from Barry Greenstein, who bagged up 83,000 and is in third place going into day two.



On Wednesday night, the Palms Hotel (across Flamingo Road from the Rio) will host the NHL Awards. That ceremony explains the sudden emergence in the hotel lobby of a half-tonne of silver, including the Stanley Cup itself and a wide array of other precious fancies.

As the puck-heads gather in the Palms, some of hockey's brightest stars headed over to the Rio to play in NHL Charity Shootout Presented by Hockey's leading lights, including Sheldon Souray (the Edmonton Oilers defenseman), Wayne Simmonds and Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings were joined by Nashville coach Barry Trotz and a smattering of former players.

They contested a three-table tournament with the Team PokerStars Pro trio of Dennis Phillips, Vanessa Rousso, and the defending WSOP champion Joe Cada.


Dennis Phillips poses with the Stanley Cup

The result it being closely guarded as the event will be broadcast on television. But plenty of money was raised for charity, Phillips got to meet some of his hockey heros, and there was a terrific atmosphere on a table made out to replicate a hockey rink.



Ylon Schwartz and Jeff Sarwer don't know one another that well, but they do know of each other's reputation. Before he hit it big in poker (and by big, I mean $4m big as a member of the inaugural November Nine) Schwartz was one of the most respected chess hustlers (if that's not a contradiction in terms) in New York's Washington Square Park.

A few years earlier than Schwartz's era there, Sarwer was all the rage in exactly the same spot. As an 8-year-old, Sarwer won the World Youth Chess Championships in Puerto Rico, and used to practice in Washington Square Park. There's ample archive video of the cheeky prodigy playing against the grizzled street chess players.

The fact that Schwartz and Sarwer spent much of yesterday sitting about a foot away from one another might make people think that they had their long-awaited chess showdown. But no. Rather, the random table draw on day two of the $1,500 no limit shootout event put the two of them side by side.

Schwartz was the very early table chip leader, then Sarwer stole the mantle with four of the ten players eliminated. He clung onto a big stack as Schwartz and also the Team PokerStars Pro from Hungary, Richard Toth, departed.


Richard Toth, left, and Ylon Schwartz. Jeff Sarwer is out of shot, right

But when Sarwer was heads up with Heinz Kamutzki he had a two-to-one chip deficit and this game we love is one of imperfect information, where luck can play a factor. Sarwer got his chips in with pocket sevens; Kamutzki had A♥K♦ and an ace on the flop decided it. Both chess players were out.


The table draw is always random, even when it's for the second day of a shootout event. However, even a meticulously hand-designed draw couldn't have asked for better than the Schwartz/Sarwer match up - and it was a similar story on table 373 where Annette Obrestad sat beside the Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo.


Fatima Moreira de Melo

The press pack has been trailing Obrestad across Vegas on her first visit to play at the World Series. But they might also have been focusing their gaze on De Melo. She has developed one of the most violently aggressive no limit games over the past couple of years, so much so that her friend and mentor Lex Velduis once reportedly told her to tone it down. This is the same Lex Veldhuis who has seen off rampaging bulls with his raising.

The battle of two of poker's premiere women was a win this time for Obrestad, who progressed to the final 14.



There are hundreds of options for food and drink at the Rio. In the first of a selfless series, PokerStars Blog samples some of the delights and brings you a daily snack review from the shelves of the poker kitchen and beyond.

Day #2 - Chicken Caesar Wrap
Poker Kitchen
Price: $9

"You eat with your eyes", or so the saying goes, which is why there's a fortune to be made in food photography - and explains the inevitable depression each time you open up a Big Mac box. ("But in the picture it looks...oh, forget it.")

The Poker Kitchen proprietors are not so shallow, however, and know that $9 for a Chicken Caesar wrap on a plastic plate will be snapped up by hungry WSOP competitors, whether it looks like an anaemic silicon-enhanced day old pot sticker or not. (And it does.) It's served with a splinter of pickle, a knarled green chile and a small sprig of red grapes, the latter flourish presumably harking back to the days when Caesar himself would feast on such a delicacy and have the grapes fed to him by a bevvy of beauties.

Not so the 2010 renewal of the Chicken Caesar wrap, although on purchasing mine I was informed by a charming cashier that I got free chips with it. (She refused point blank to feed them to me, though. Or to fan me with a big feather. She then also took my money, bringing a new definition to the word "free".)

But enough. Onto the food. After peeling back the plastic lid and handling the wrap, the first thing you notice is its weight. It's a brick of a wrap and no mistake. The chicken component appears to have been deep fried in batter at some point, then fused with a mayonnaise-like substance, flecked with the green of some spring onions. The entire feast coheres suspiciously well; I got through an entire half (the wrap is flamboyantly bisected with a single, jaunty 45 degree) without so much as a single spillage of contents.

The taste might not necessarily have appealed to the rich tastes of Caeser himself - it's a touch bland and the onion overpowers the delicate chicken - but it's not too offensive, which is is itself is a small miracle. Two hours later, however, my stomach felt as though it was two months pregnant. I will call the child Caesar.



@KatjaThater (who I think might be doing this deliberately to get into the Tweets of the Day segment) on her razz progress: "2nd Day RAZZ? Wait...phon of my psychiatrist, Advil, Cocktails and sunblocker for the roaster."

@FossilMan on the mixed emotions of razz (a three-part series):

Tweet 1: "27K and on the bubble, 41 left, 40 paid."
Tweet 2: "Oh wait, somebody busted before hand-for-hand play could begin. Finally cashed at 2010 WSOP!"
Tweet 3: "No miracle comeback, out in 37th, but at least my first WSOP razz cash."

Dennis Phillips on his day mixing with the hockey stars and earning money for charity: "Had a blast. Get to send a check to the Puhols foundation for $16,000. Sweet!!"


Previous WSOP Diary entries

WSOP Diary Day 26: Bill Chen: Poker player, wedding planner, bridesmaid
WSOP Diary Day 25: Cutting through the throngs
WSOP Diary Day 24: Last chance to join us in Las Vegas
WSOP Diary Day 23: Anh Van Nguyen, remember the name
WSOP Diary Day 22: Love to hate Phil Hellmuth? You gotta see this
WSOP Diary Day 21: Classic rub down for Daniel Negreanu
WSOP Diary Day 20: Maria Mayrinck, something in the water
WSOP Diary Day 19: Who needs a rest anyway?
WSOP Diary Day 18: An apology
WSOP Diary Day 17: George Danzer just misses first bracelet for PokerStars
WSOP Diary Day 16: Negreanu, Danzer eye $10K Lowball bracelet

Read all WSOP diary entries here.


Snoop Dogg picture is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.