WSOP Main Event 1D: Superbowl Shuffle up and deal

wsop2010_thn.jpgIt's an undecorated hallway with exposed pipes, catering trays, and folded tables against the walls. The floor is concrete and the rafters overhead are uncovered. It's a labyrinth that can get one nearly anywhere he wants in the Rio convention center. If you know which doors to enter, you have your own personal path to your destination.

It's this hallway that's frequented by the elite of the elite poker players who can't eat a sandwich without being asked to sign an autograph on their napkin. It's this hallway that's utilized by select members of the media who need quick ingress and egress to the bathroom. It's this hallway where we saw a wide-shouldered man walking this morning.

He was flanked by two security guards and a serious entourage. We recognized the man immediately. Why wouldn't we? The dude has won three Super Bowls, several MVP honors, and...er...Dancing with the Stars.

"That is Emmitt Smith!" we exclaimed. And so it was.

Rock stars use such back hallways to get around before they head onto stage to play the same songs night after night. Mick Jagger may not want to sing "Satisfaction" every show. Steven Tyler would probably be happy if he never heard "Dream On" again. Nevertheless, it's their job to bring it every night. Otherwise, why bother?

That same charge is on one Jack Effel, the tournament director of the WSOP. For the fourth straight day, Effel gave his prepared speech to the crowd, and for the fourth straight day, he brought it. The huge round of applause was a clear indication he'd done his job well. With that, Effel turned the mic over to one of his heroes.

Smith had just been ushered through the rock star hallways and onto the podium overlooking the Amazon Room.

"How about them Cowboys?" he asked the crowd. Then, perhaps just as eager to take his own seat, Smith assumed his keynote role of the day. "Let's shuffle and play, baby!"

Hey, sure he was supposed to say "Shuffle up and deal," but, come on, he's Emmitt freakin' Smith. He can say whatever he wants. If you don't like it, you win three Super Bowl rings and get a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Then we'll talk.

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With that, the biggest Day 1 flight of the 2010 WSOP began. Within a few ours, we'll know exactly how big this year's Series is. Based on the size of the crowd today, we're going to suggest one word to describe the bigness: "VERY."

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JOE GIRON PHOTO OF THE HOUR

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Newly-minted Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst playing in her first WSOP as a Team Pro

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TEAM PRO LOOKALIKE OF THE HOUR

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for Tom McEvoy:

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Tom McEvoy and Ernest Hemingway

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BANTER OF THE HOUR

There's no surer way to detect nerves than by listening to players chortle away to the same jokes over and over again. On the very first hand, a player in the orange section raised and everyone folded.

"Aces," he said.
Chortle, chortle, nervous chortle from around the table.
The same player raised the next hand too.
"You got them again?"
Chortle, chortle, nervous chortle.
"Two for two!"
Chortle, chortle, chortle, chortle, chortle, groan.

This is what passes for poker humour in the first level of the World Series. But don't worry, they'll be at each other's throats within the hour.

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VIDEO OF THE HOUR

Welcome to day 1D. In video:

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HAND OF THE HOUR

Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer is the chip leader, or was after about seven minutes of play.

Wearing a full beard and his trade mark silk scarf, the German, in early position, took an early pot from American Richard Melton in the big blind.

On a flop of K♦5♣9♣ Melton bet 350 which Danzer raised to 1,300. Melton called for a 8♠ turn card which he then bet 2,200 at. Danzer called for a river card J♥. With the action checked to Danzer he threw in 5,175. Melton called but Danzer's K♥5♥ was too much.

Danzer up to around 40,000 out of the gate.

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OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR

"The WSOP wants you to collude!"

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CONTEXT OF THE HOUR FOR THE OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR

Jack Effel, suggesting players work together to raise money for the Bad Beat on Cancer charity.

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CORRECTION OF THE HOUR

Woman screaming into her cell phone: "Hey! They just called Frank to go to the MAIN TABLE!!! THE MAIN TABLE!!!!"

Man next to her: "The secondary main table."

Woman, still screaming into her phone: "The SECONDARY MAIN TABLE!!!!!"!