WSOP 2011: Time to Grind as cards shuffled up for Day 1B
"Please, check your ticket to make sure you have the correct tournament date..."
And with that tournament director Jack Effel spoke the first official words of Day 1B at the World Series of Poker main event. As players streamed in the scenes were not unlike those of yesterday. All this marks the highlight of the poker calendar for several hundred more poker players, professionals and amateurs alike, travelling from around the globe for another shot at immortality.
Within the crowds, (too early to say whether they're bigger or smaller than yesterday) were the usual scenes. Old friends greeting each other once more, familiar trailing loved ones a little too preoccupied to explain that they may have a long day of waiting around, and plenty of loose fitting clothing, leaving anyone in a shirt and tie susceptible to questions, normally from first timers asking where the tan section is, others confirming that they were in fact in the Amazon Room.
Tournament director Jack Effel in action
You'd be hard pressed to find anything else that looked like a World Series main event today, the mother ship stage alight in all its glory (waiting for Richard Dreyfus to walk towards it in a red jump suit), and the lights shining on the feature table.
Who would be sitting there? Familiar faces are all about today; Allen Cunningham, Andre Akkari, Gualter Salles and others like singer and former bracelet winner Patrick Bruel, a man who cannot walk along a street in France without being mobbed but who in Las Vegas has the freedom to walk about as a free man, enjoying his anonymity.
There was applause for Effel as he took the mike, launching into the days formalities - the riles about chips, cell phones and penalties; emphasising the transparency of the rules that are available to all, and reminding players that survival today means a return on Tuesday and that the receipt they have with them entitles them to a pair of Dearfoam Slippers.
Step forward today's honorary host, and target of the TV cameras on the main stage.
As a player Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi is a towering figure, in more ways than one. First, and most obvious, is his physical stature. Mizrachi is a big man, dressed and built like the guy who follows someone like Nelly onstage and occasionally says a one-syllable word into a microphone.
Then there's his weighty tournament record, one boasting more than $11 million in tournament winnings, including the 2010 Player's Championship title.
Mizrachi spoke eloquently to the attentive crowd waiting for the word go. He was greeted with warm applause has he took the microphone, telling the assembling crowds that it was "Time to Grind", as the player who now knew Mizrachi was to sit on their left began to shake and feel unwell.
And with that we're under way. The button is in seat ten and it's a beautiful air conditioned day to play poker. Shuffle up and deal.
BLAST FROM THE PAST OF THE HOUR
Spotting John Gale, 2005 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion, in the Day 1B field
RECENT MILLIONAIRES OF THE HOUR
2011 PCA winner Galen Hall and EPT Season 7 London champ Aaron Gustavson, both in action today
OTHER BIG NAMES OF THE HOUR
Nacho Barbero, Dario Minieri, and Andre Akkari all seated in the Tan section of the Amazon Room
FITNESS AWARD OF THE HOUR
Brandon Schaefer, EPT Season 1 Deauville champ and Grand Final runner-up, looking as fit as he's ever been. We put our money on P90X.
MOST OBVIOS BLING OF THE HOUR
The player wearing a gold medallion the size of an iPad with the words "Bling Bling" stamped on it.
CHEEKY REMARK OF THE HOUR
"Please don't hack my phone." - Roland de Wolfe to PokerStars Blog's Simon Young, a former journalist on the UK national tabloid press.
DRINK CONFUSION OF THE HOUR
"What's that? Mud?" - Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliot to a player who arrived at his table with a sickly, thick drink.
PREDICTABLE STACK OF THE HOUR
Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri is down to 15,000 already. That's standard - as is the fact he'll be on 70,000 within ten minutes.