WSOP 2011: Post-dinner rail getting rowdy
The main playing area is now a square, sectioned off by a perimeter rail broken only by a small gap for tournament staff and media access. With every table that breaks, the furniture is removed in a flash and the square reduces in size. As it does so, basic math will tell you the crowd on the rail gets thicker and more intimate. And while that provides for a better atmosphere, there are now two rowdy groups of supporters on opposite sides of the square. Both are apparently there to cheer on a different player, and each seems intent on out-shouting the other.
The volume increased markedly after dinner, alcohol having played its inevitable part in loosening inhibitions. While some might find it amusing, you have to feel for the players who are trying desperately to concentrate on building life-changing prize money.
On one side, three men cheer on their man wildly. When he doubles up with A-K against a big-stack's A-7, they holler like he has actually won the Main Event. That's fine, but then they turn on his opponent, berating him for playing a weak ace in that situation.
One of them shouted: "Ace seven? Ace seven? Are you kidding me. My god, you play disgusting."
This was no more than five feet from the young player, who to his credit ignored the jibes.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side, the drunk section is having trouble seeing their player, who sits at a table in the middle of the square. While that makes cheering him in pots tricky, they are amusing themselves by shouting at just about everything else, including a female reporter who was just there to do a job.
Way back on Day 1C, I wrote about how poker had grown up. The players were not over-celebrating, there was little look-at-me antics for the cameras. Instead, there seemed to be a healthy respect for each other that we have not seen for a decade. Even now, with around 70 players left and the pressure high, there is no unpleasantness on show.
Pity you can't account for some of those who came to watch in the crucial latter stages.
Back to the action, and Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem is in trouble, down to his last 700,000 or so chips. What a story it would be if he could go on and win this thing, the second of the Hachem brothers to do so. That's looking unlikely now. In the big blind, he calls a raise to 90,000 from the button. The flop is 2♠J♥9♣ and Hachem leads out with a bet of 120,000, only for the button to raise it up to 325,000.
"Can you possibly have a hand every time?" he asks, obviously not expecting a reply. He thinks for a minute, exhales deeply, and lets his hand go.
"Will you show me?" Hachem asks.
"I don't want to show, man?"
"That's fine. You are playing well. Keep it up," said Hachem.
And that right there is a perfect example of how the players have grown to be respectful.
* * * *
WARNING OF THE HOUR
"If he comes under the rope one more time, bounce him. Unless he is somebody's dad, he's gotta go." --Tony, Head of WSOP Security
FURTHER EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THIS POST
"Cocktails on the rail!"
DOUBLE DATE OF THE HOUR
Guy on motorized scooter carrying his girlfriend on his lap down the Rio hallway
THROWBACK OF THE HOUR
Player wearing a 2004 WSOP hat