WSOP Main Event Day 2A: Close shave
Major League Baseball player Wade Boggs might have been the most superstitious athlete of all time. He ate poultry before every game, took no more and no less than 150 ground balls during infield practice. Before going to the plate, he wrote the word "Chai" (life) in the batter's box dirt. All of that was just the tip of the iceberg.
There are countless other stories like Boggs'--dirty ball caps, stinky socks, playoff beards, they are all part of the superstition of sport.
I thought of this phenomenon when I first spied a brand new Chris Moneymaker on Day 2A. After finishing Day 1 with more than 100,000 chips and what has become an almost trademark goatee, Moneymaker arrived today with clean-shaven face.
What was the guy thinking? He has a stellar Day 1 and changes one of the most recognizable things about himself in mid-game? It was tantamount to taking a pair of lucky boxer socks and washing them in the bottom of the 4th. I immediately launched an investigation. As politely as possible, I asked Moneymaker...what the hell, man?
Moneymaker leaned back in his spot in seat one and stroked his bare chin.
"I didn't have a trimmer. It was getting long and started to bother me," he explained.
As a man who wore a goatee for four years or so, I know what it feels like when the beard gets a little long. You start to look a bit like a real billy goat. You do all you can to keep it trimmed. When the beard trimmer goes missing, you're willing to try just about anything: fingernail clippers, travel scissors, open flames. Whatever it takes.
In the time since Moneymaker walked out of here with a more than double-average stack, he tried to trim his beard with a double blade razor.
"I nicked it a little too much," he said, pointing to a place on the right side of his chin. The damage was irreversible. Moneymaker had no choice but to do the unthinkable. He shaved his entire face.
The shock on my face must have been evident, and Moneymaker feel compelled to assure me, "It wasn't in the plan."
I frantically searched my mental morgue for the last time I saw Moneymaker without facial hair. I honestly couldn't remember. I needed to know.
"What was the last time you were clean-shaven?" I asked carefully.
A small smile crept onto Moneymaker's face. There was an almost mischievous glint in his eye.
Now leaning back in his chair, he said, "Must have been 2003."
I don't think I need to tell you why that answer is the most important, startling, and intriguing I'll receive all day.
REQUEST OF THE HOUR
"Every time I play a hand, they slap my wrist," Chris Moneymaker said. "Write on the blog that Chris doesn't play any hands. Might change my image."
SELECTED CHIP COUNTS OF THE HOUR
Juan Naranjo 150,000
Carter Gill 130,000
David Williams 128,000
Angel Guillen 82,000
Pat Pezzin 68,000
Chris Moneymaker 67,000
Alex Wise 66,000
Pierre Neuville 65,999
Fatima Moreira de Melo 54,000
Pieter de Korver 53,000
Theirry van der Berg 50,000
Anton Allemann 43,000
Thor Hansen 38,000
Gulater Salles 33,000
Ruben Visser 28,000
Greg Debora 25,000
Tom McEvoy 12,000
Andre Akkari 11,000
ELIMINATIONS OF THE HOUR
NAME THOSE HANDS OF THE HOUR
It wasn't immediately apparent from the media room this afternoon which star player had been selected to appear on the ESPN feature table. We have a television feed in here but see only the overhead angle of the table and not the players' faces. We see the cards, the chips and about 16 hands and arms.
Some limbs are more distinctive than others, however, and based only of the way the hands in seat four riffled and stacked chips and squeezed cards, we knew this was the Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu.
OMINOUS QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"Here are my chips. And here is the alcohol. I gave them a head start." - Peter Hedlund, about to unleash the Hedlund on a table of unsuspecting players.
SECURITY GUARD OF THE HOUR
The pit-bull dog being held on the end of a chain by a lady here to support her man from the rail. No need for her to use the "my boyfriend" defence.