WSOP 2011: Come in London, this is Las Vegas, are you reading?
To those lucky enough to be in Las Vegas, being able to watch live poker on the ESPN feature table is something of a treat. If you can get to the Rio you have free access to the Amazon Room, a chair and a spot overlooking the table which we've already written about at length. And while it often attracts people looking for nothing more than a sit down and a rest before taking the half-mile walk back towards the Casino floor, there are plenty more enjoying every second.
Like one man sitting alone on the back row. He looks like he doesn't want to miss a single hand. Wearing running shoes, shorts, grey socks that used to be white, a loose t-shirt and a WSOP cap, today he represents the dedicated older poker geek, their emissary from the real world. Perhaps his hair needs a trim and he could lose a few pounds, but his pale skin is a sign of commitment, to watching the game he loves, usually in a dark room with no natural sunlight.
From his spot he'll hear things like the grumbles of the security guard posted to keep order, he'll see things like the number of empty bottles next to Stephane Albertini's seat, and the colour of the Frenchman's underwear when he hitches his trousers, standing up when all-in, departing to Hilton Laborda's lucky queen on the river.
With that our man on the back row immediately started clapping, an awkward make-any-type-of-noise clap that acknowledged Albertini had played well and that while Laborda had got lucky, it was one hand in hundreds in which he'd excelled.
But if our man wasn't sitting where he was he'd no doubt be among thousands watching at home, either on ESPN or via the live broadcast on the WSOP website.
While the Amazon Room may be filled with a dedicated few, and while we bemoan the absence of atmosphere at what is a crucial stage of the event, in homes around the world, in bars and restaurants, on home computers and laptops tucked up next to the bed - the modern day equivalent of an old transistor radio under the pillow with an ear piece beaming baseball from Yankee stadium or a cricket Test Match from Lahore or Auckland). Wherever it is they're watching.
Naturally for some this can mean sheer torture, as they virtual-rail players they know are playing but cannot see on the outer tables at the Rio. This is where the morphenic effects of tweeting can help, smoothing frayed nerves as friends thousands of miles away demand news where none exists. Working your way through a bucket of peanut butter and chocolate cookies also apparently helps, as does hitting F5 and shouting at the internet when it buffers.
Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly
That includes certain friends of Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly, watching from the other side of Atlantic in London, forgoing Monday night television to log into the live stream. Back in Blighty it's already Tuesday, and the morning commute starts in about seven hours. But there's poker to be watched and dammit, how's JP doing? We tell them everything's fine, like a doctor about to remove their son's tonsils.
It helps that the news though is good on the Kelly front, as he moves beyond the 9,000,000 mark and in to fourth place. Not that that will put Kelly fans to bed.
@810ofclubs (EPT Vilamoura winner Toby Lewis):
Never wanted some1 other than myself to make november 9 more than @JPKellyStars gl buddy, me and crow are railing f hard!
For now you'll have to settle for that. As the guy in the socks on the back row will tell you, Kelly is playing the tournament of his life with 41 players remaining. Stay up if you can but if you have to go sleep we'll keep tabs on him till morning.
GOOD NEWS OF THE HOUR
The ATM outside the Pavilion is being re-stocked with cash by security, which can only mean one thing... "Another rack of blue, please." Yes, the high-stakes 2-4 limit game could be on again for Team PokerStars Blog.
BAD NEWS OF THE HOUR
The rowdy rail from last night is at the bar in the hallway stocking up on booze. Here comes the noise.
WORLD SERIES OF VIDEO POKER OF THE HOUR
The number of video poker machines lined up near the Rio casino for a video poker contest: 38
Imagine trying to blog the hands in that?
QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"Yes! I've won my first hand of this level! Applause, please!" --Tony Hachem
STATISTIC OF THE HOUR
Number of people who don't have either a hat, hoodie, or sunglasses at Phillip Gruissem's table: 1 (Phillip Gruissem)
UNRELATED TO POKER TWEET FROM A GUY WHO SHOULD BE PAYING ATTENTION TO POKER OF THE HOUR
"Anyone who texts me I've lost all numbers so don't know who anyone is, sign with name if you can please :)" --JP Kelly