WSOP 2011: Spaced out in the Mothership

wsop2011-thumb-blog.pngThe old man had a long, white bushy beard that covered his chest. As he nodded off, head bowed, the facial hair seemed to rest as low as his navel, rising slowly up and down as he breathed deeply in a world far, far away. Further along, a middle-aged man in a baseball cap fiddled with his mobile phone as his wife looked a little bored, a magazine resting on her lap, opened at the puzzles page. Two pretty young ladies, both clutching an alcoholic concoction of some kind, then tottered in on high heels, took one brief look, and left again, shoes clackety-clacking on the stairway.

This was the scene in the cavernous main stage area of the Amazon Room, otherwise known as the Mothership for its uncanny resemblance to something ET would use for an interplanetary trip. Above the table, a huge circular construction generating light beams, with two smaller but still substantial circles of steel on either side. Around the table, a curved area that rises up with three levels of seating and completes most of a circle. Embedded in the panels behind are sponsors' messages: beer, playing cards, beef jerky and an online hosting site. All the ingredients you might need for the perfect night in.

And throughout the whole set, red lights that almost seem to pulsate hypnotically. They do not, of course, but I'm tired.

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The Mothership

In all, there must be room for 300 people to pack into the bleachers. I counted just 29 sitting there right now, 27 once the two young ladies turned on their heels and left.

The object of the small crowd's curiosity (except for beardie who was asleep) was presumably Mike Matusow, sat in seat seven. Also there was Nicolas Levi with his trademark trilby hat perched on his head. I know which one I would rather watch, and he's a Frenchman with an interesting fashion sense.

No matter, you can't really see what's going on anyway. Small screens in the large circular object above the table show an overhead shot of the flop, turn and river, should a hand reach that far. Floorman Robbie Thompson called the action for those with strained eyesight.

It's probably fair to say this setting was made for an occasion bigger than level five of Day 1B of the Main Event. By all accounts, the place has been rocking for some of the prelim event final tables, filmed live over the internet. Take, for example, the night when Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari won his bracelet in the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event. It was as if every Brazilian in Las Vegas showed up to watch, as this video taken from the WSOP Twitter feed shows...


It seems, then, that unless you know someone personally who is battling it out on the table in the centre, there can't be much fun to be had from watching the feature table within the Mothership. The man with the beard seemed to agree. He woke up with a start, looked around in an apparent state of confusion, and left.

I wasn't far behind.

* * * *

OVERHEARD QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"I'm not tired and I don't want to gamble. Let's go bowling."

OUT OF CONTEXT FACT OF THE HOUR
In some parts of Japan, children wear helmets when walking to school.

MAN ALWAYS GOING TO GET CAUGHT OF THE HOUR
The guy smoking a cigar in the purple section of the Amazon Room.

TWEET OF THE HOUR
Eugene Katchalov: "Had 50k right before break then doubled a short stack with my aj vs his kq ...back down to 36k"

SURPRISE FACT OF THE DAY
The Sheets Energy Strips being hawked in the hallways of the WSOP had a $10 million marketing budget and are backed by the efforts of LeBron James.

BAD TRANSLATION OF THE DAY
This is how TweetDeck translates the latest words from Brazilian Team PokerStars Pro Gualter Salles: "Try to hold me and wait a bit windy or will have to be in pressure with ugliness and hope to pass."