WSOP 2011: Inside the mother ship with Daniel Negreanu
I can now predict, with almost crystal certainty, what is going to take place on the screen in front of me, showing the ESPN coverage of the World Series Main Event.
"Daniel Negreanu will now get up, walk to the side of the stage and use his phone. Then, when he gets back, Jean-Robert Bellande will do the same. Then Negreanu will join him, unaware that Bellande looks like he wants to chat."
Sure enough, all of this just happened, thanks to a half hour spent watching the table live from the rail in the Amazon Room, then returning from the mother ship to watch it on a 30 minute delay on television.
It's easier to watch how the players behave than how they actually play. As we hinted earlier in the main event, there's little opportunity to see anything on the feature table, save for the community cards shown on overhead screens, leaving little else on which to focus.
But while the bleachers were relatively empty a few days ago they're now largely full, with additional railbirds standing at the back. Even the seats directly behind the TV cameras, big things draped in black cloth, like something you might see at science fiction convention, are taken, the heads of those sitting directly behind occasionally spotted on screen peering from around the back.
Those prepared to watch though are enjoying quite a line-up. Allen Cunningham, Daniel Negreanu, Rupert Elder, Carter King and Jean-Robert Bellande all play in the belly of the main stage, some of the most recognisable faces in the game.
Cunningham had his best main event in 2006 when he was the establishment's pick to take on eventual winner Jamie Gold. Cunningham eventually finished fourth. That year Negreanu went as far as 229th place, a point which he just bettered a few minutes ago. For his best main event performance you have to go back a few years prior to that when he finished 11th in 2001, the year Carlos Mortensen became the first Spaniard to be named World Champion.
Back in 2012 though and play continues with Negreanu down to around 200,000. The crowd keeps quiet with the only noise coming from the announcer and the audible instructions from the producer, heard through the headphones of a nearby camera man, disturbing the peace.
The feature table of the main event
At the table the players laugh occasionally, but the audience can't hear why. Cunningham breaks into a big grin, a touch of the John Malkovich to his appearance, big hair and a big forehead, while Negreanu, still KidPoker after all these years, is forever grinning and blinking.
The audience may as well be behind glass in an aquarium for all they appear to notice and the departure of Carter King, knocked out with Aces, only brought minimal applause, nothing to that of any action resulting in a Negreanu win. But they continue to watch as the biggest tournament in the world lumbers on. There may not be much to see in the bleachers, but you sure wouldn't want to miss it.
STATISTIC OF THE HOUR
Number of women remaining in the field: 4
QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"Take me out with the garbage, too!"--Dealer to the heavy-lifting crew breaking down the table around her
LIE OF THE HOUR?
Tony Hachem was looking at a king-king-ten board and facing a bet. He motioned as if mucking twice before finally sliding his cards forward.
"Were you bluffing me?" he asked. When his opponent shook his head, Hachem said, "Will you show it."
The man shrugged and turned over 9♣9♠.
TURNING DOZENS OF HEADS OF THE HOUR
The shapely lady walking down the hallway near the Amazon Room wearing a bikini and high-heeled shoes. She was heading in the same direction as PokerStars blogger Simon Young, who unluckily had to follow her for a few minutes.
NOT THIS TIME OF THE HOUR
Team PokerStars Online's Andrew Brokos got his fingers burnt on this one. Erika Moutinho had raised from under the gun to 24,000 and Brokos raised to 80,000. Call. On the [10c]K♣8♥ flop, Moutinho check-raised all-in when Brokos put out another 85,000. Brokos is on around 1.1 million, while Moutinho is up to 600,000.
VIDEO OF THE HOUR
MISPLACED ENTHUSIASM OF THE HOUR
"This is great. What time will they get down to a winner tonight?" - Soon-to-be-disappointed gentleman on the rail.