WSOP Main Event Day 2A: From the rail
The crowds of spectators who make their way along the ten minute corridor from the Rio's casino floor to the Amazon Room each day is a constantly moving example of how hugely popular this World Series really is.
Men, women and even a few children in all shapes and sizes are here to provide moral support for either a friend or family member, or, simply to spot their favourite player. At the very least that guy they once saw on TV.
For that, the best seat in the house is the main stage, where right now Daniel Negreanu, dressed in white sweater and baseball cap, holds court under the lights as today's the main feature.
Deprived of his mobile phone for reasons for television purposes, his tweets have been kept to a minimum, the only news emerging at the break. This one at the first break:
Daniel Negreanu: "43,425 doubled up early and on break now. Great start."
"41,050 end of level. Had it up to 70k then bluffed off 20k but it was a good play. Pretty sure guy had flush draw and hit the river."
Then this one:
"78,200 on dinner break now. Doing the best I can."
Watching Negreanu serves as a priceless master class in tournament poker and it's not really a surprise that the crowds might flock to see him.
That point was not lost on those watching from the rail. Melissa Genetti, from Alpine, Texas, was watching there to watch Daniel Negreanu, although she admitted to an ulterior motive.
"My boyfriend is playing in the main event," said Genetti. "I'm spying for him."
For Genetti, and many like her, the seeing the World Series in the flesh is an exhilarating experience- witnessing firsthand what they previously only seen on the television, and only then months after it was filmed
"I love it, I think it's fantastic. It's anybody's game. I'd love to be playing. I don't know if I can keep up with them. But I'd try."
Overlooking the feature table
This curiosity was not lost on another railbird perched high towards the back of the stage where a standing room only area allows spectators to watch the main or secondary feature table. Most though found the lure of watching Negreanu too hard to skip.
"I've been watching poker for a couple of years," said Johanna Robinson from Utah, who's in town with her husband. "It's my first time at the World Series. It's interesting how they do all this - the tournament and the TV show."
The main stage is a dark grotto, banked with seats, with cameras and booms all over the place and four big screens hanging up above showing flops, turns and rivers, and the arms playing them.
One of those watching, perhaps more intently than others, was Jordan Hudson. Hudson, a guitar teacher from Houston, Texas, is playing the main event and finished day one with 63,000.
"I'm playing tomorrow" said Hudson, who is playing his first Main Event. "I wanted to watch Daniel Negreanu."
But what with the stage set, the lights, the cameras and the sense of being at the heart of something important is a big enough draw and good to get even the most amateur of player a little curious. Most of us may admit to a short fall in talent, but Robinson summed things up perfectly:
"It looks like it would be fun to give it a try."
SELECTED CHIP COUNTS OF THE HOUR
Carter Gill 230,000
Chris Moneymaker 144,000
Alex Wise 140,000
Pieter de Korver 136,000
Kristopher Thorsen 134,000
Juan Naranjo 130,000
Marcin Horecki 128,000
Sandra Naujoks 95,000
Joe Cada 91,000
David Williams 89,000
Pierre Neuville 78,000
Gualter Salles 77,000
Thierry van der Berg 69,000
Daniel Negreanu 65,000
Pat Pezzin 60,000
Greg Debora 55,000
Angel Guillen 55,000
John Shipley 54,000
J.P Kelly 52,000
Randy Lew 41,000
Lex Veldhuis 34,000
HAPPY BIRTHDAY OF THE HOUR
We'd like to wish new Team PokerStars Pro Vanesa Selbst a very happy birthday
VIDEO OF THE HOUR
The newly shaven Chris Moneymaker on day two:
ELIMINATIONS OF THE HOUR
QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"That's true. I read that on the internet."
DOUBLE STANDARD OF THE HOUR
Security guard to slightly overweight, male, railbird in Pavilion Room, before escorting him to the door: "There are NO spectators allowed around this side. Get out."
Same security guard to slim, attractive, female railbird, wearing a Friday night skirt, before moving on: "You know, you're not really supposed to be around here."