WSOP Main Event Day 1C: How a champion starts his day
Late yesterday, the media co-ordinator at the World Series of Poker updated the news board in the press room with the following information: "Shuffle up & deal: Joe Cada."
It's a tradition as old as the hills that all eyes focus on the returning champion as they start their title defence, and Cada duly arrived to the Amazon Room in plenty of time this morning before following the Tournament Director Jack Effel onto the stage to prepare to get the action started.
It provided one of those neat World Series sights. As Effel made sure all important parties were prepared -- "Joe are you ready? Rob (ESPN producer) are you ready?" -- and then primed the day 1C field with the crucial rules and regulations, Cada sat slightly out of the spotlight, chewing on gum, peering this way and that. He could have been the naughty kid outside the headmaster's office: impatient, agitated and eyes darting furtively around.
"Let the gold rush begin," said Effel, and Cada folded his chewing gum into an empty wrapper, looked around for somewhere to put it, then stowed it in his pocket. He stood up as Effel began his formal introduction of the World Champion.
"He is the youngest World Champion in the 41-year history of the World Series of Poker," Effel said. He then added a fact about Cada I hadn't heard before: "For the first time in 20 years, the end of day one chip leader last year went on to win the title. If you're on his day one table, watch out."
Eventually, the microphone found its way to Cada's mitts and he stood in front of the expectant crowd with his now-familiar grin. "Well there's not much left to say except for 'Good luck everyone. Shuffle up and deal.'" It was short and perfectly formed.
Duty done, the crowd dispersed and Cada pattered down the stairs and into the tournament field. That, at least, was the idea. Instead he had to sign a couple of autographs and make his way to the ESPN feature table, where he will begin his day.
One of the definite downsides of being honoured with "Shuffle up and deal" duties is that you'll almost certainly miss the first hand. So it was for Cada. He had to be wired up with a microphone and sign a release before he could sit at the table. The game was already under way.
However it wasn't much of a game in the early stages. "There are seats available at the ESPN feature table," said a tournament official, ostensibly to the railbirds still crowding the corridors. But he possibly didn't know how accurate that was: only three seats around the felt itself were actually occupied at that stage.
Cada made four, and then another player joined in seat six. That still left seats five, seven, eight and nine vacant as latecomers streamed into the Rio. When those (un)lucky four arrive, they'll be television stars and they'll have the chance to cross swords with a champion.
For Cada, it will be just another day.
TWEET OF THE HOUR
@WSOP: It's likely WSOP Main Event will have very close to 5,000 entrants through the first 3 start days. This does not include Day 1D. #WSOP
IN CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"It takes nine million dollars to make me happy."
STATISTIC OF THE HOUR
Presumed number of glass eyes in Day 1C: 1 (Belonging to Keith Lehr, not surprisingly)
OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"I'll feed him his face." -- Player on his way to Day 1C seat
"COME ON, BE NICE" OF THE HOUR
"Who gives a s*** if Tom Dwan won 400 f****** chips?"
"IT'S TOO LATE NOW" QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"Oh God..." - player busting out in the first half hour of play.
T-SHIRT SLOGAN OF THE HOUR
"I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left."
WORST HOMEMADE T-SHIRT OF THE HOUR
White t-shirt featuring screen printed reproduction of Norman Chad's face, around which has been stenciled the words "Hey, Norm how do you like your J-L Beef Jerky?" Wearer of said shirt saw Chad walking across the room and screamed "Norm!" in an attempt to show of his handiwork. Chad did not turn around.
KARMA WINNER OF THE HOUR
Matt Savage, who brought sandwiches for the hard-working WSOP media today.