WSOP 2011: Free beer! still works as an attention-getter

wsop2011-thumb-blog.png"You're welcome to come over to the Thunder Dome!"

Those are the kinds of messages you hear over the World Series of Poker public address system. The Thunder Dome, better known to the media as the Mother Ship, better known to the general public as the WSOP main stage, was apparently in need of spectators to fill in the seats for the live television audience. It happens everywhere in poker.

"We're giving away free Miller Lite if you wanna cop a buzz!"

That was probably off-script. Even in a world full of degenerates, there is a certain modicum of class the WSOP likes to maintain. Nonetheless, a beer is cheaper than the $20 an hour some poker audiences we have seen before.

"Nobody who works here!"

Obviously the announcement had not reached the target audience. The people who have been working at the WSOP for the past seven weeks need a drink more than anybody else. It's natural that they'd flock toward the free drinks.

"Only spectators!"

Back on message. It didn't take long. I didn't even make it to the Mother Ship steps before I'd turned back to check on the PokerStars folks still in the field. Good thing. I'm not sure I could've stomached seeing what happened. Up there, David Bach check-raised Vanessa Rousso all-in on a 6♣[t]9♠ flop. To her credit, Rousso took some time to think before calling with 6♥6♦. To her peril, Bach heldQ♥J♥. To make it worse, Joe Serock had folded a ten and nine and an eight fell on the turn. Rousso was crippled. Minutes later, she flopped top pair to Bach's overpair of aces, didn't improve, and was gone. She followed fellow Team PokerStars Pros Dennis Phillips and Martin Hruby out the door, in the money, but none the happier.


That all happened as I wandered across the rest of the Amazon Room looking for the Team PokerStars Pros or Main Event Passport winners still left in the field. Here's what I saw.

  • Julian Stuer: On 420,000 in chips. Earlier in the day he'd shrugged it off when his dealer asked him if he was famous. He didn't mention he'd won a PokerStars Main Event Passport and was here on a $33 qualifier.
  • Daniel Negreanu: Up to 146,000 and declaring "7000 started. Less than 500 left, and at least one of those 500 will never quit on this tournament."
  • Nikolai Senninger: He started his day on the feature table with former World Champion Phil Hellmuth. Hellmuth is gone. Senninger remains. He's sitting on 182,000 and getting a massage.
  • Sandra Naujoks: She has somewhere in the neighborhood of 120,000, or roughly what she started with at the beginning of the day. She's sitting in exactly the same seat on almost exactly the same stack.
  • Per Linde: Quiet, unassuming, rocking a thin gold chain, and protecting 750,000 in chips after starting the day below 200,000.
  • Phillip Gruissem: He has 600,000 sitting in front of him. He was quiet when the day began, but is now chatting up Anthony Lellouche about who is the best French tournament player. Lellouche's first answer: "Not me."
  • Sebastian Ruthenberg: Began the day sixth in chips and is now sitting quietly with 1.1 million. He's pulled up his hood for the final level of the day.
  • JP Kelly: Was excited as he could possibly be for the past two days, but now enters the last level with a below average 389,000. He looks miserable.
  • Tony Hachem: As I walked up, he doubled to more than 600,000 with K♦K♣ versus ace-king. Though we have never even said hello to each other, I was the closest person with whom he could celebrate his win. He bumped my fist as we passed and wished the guy who doubled him up good luck.
  • Marc Le Campion: The Main Event Passport winner has 240,000 and a Moleskine notebook sitting in front of him.
  • Andrew Brokos: I walked up on him as he helped somebody else at his table defend his hand. The guy had snap-called with the ace-high flush on a paired board. No word what his opponent had, but apparently the quick call was no controversy. Brokos said, "There was no reason you should do anything but snap-call."
  • Hernan Crespin: Sitting on 236,000, according to PokerNews. I never saw him, but it's still sort of busy out there.
  • That's how it stands with two hours left to go in the night.

    * * *

    Robert Varkonyi, the last former world champion in the field, is out.

    Sam Simon, executive producer of The Simpsons, is out.

    @RealKidPoker: "Grinding grinding grinding my way up to 146k guy just raised AT I shoved KK he folded and I'm kinda ok with that. 4k-8k last level of night."
    Followed by: "7000 started less than 500 left and at least one of those 500 will never quit on this tournament."

    Brad Willis
    @BradWillis in World Series of Poker