WSOP 2012: Ten minutes in the main event
A seat opens in the Amazon Room as a huge cheer goes up. The crowd on the main stage, hyped up on heroics and some television cameras, cheer their man who is moments away from winning the National Championship. Some of them start a song but quickly think twice.
In the purple section, Fabrice Soulier, sitting next to Tobias Reinkemeier, wins a pot. He's dressed for a cold day in Paris; his jacket wrapped tightly around him and a scarf partly obscuring his face. His hair is longer and he broods, stacking his chips with loud bangs as if to get the blood to his fingers.
A young player in a cowboy hat and facial hair tips head back, laughing at something. He has bad teeth. When he gets his breath he uses his hands to describe the shape of a woman. Some his table mates pretend not to have heard.
There's an all-in on the feature table and the crowd erupts once more.
The feature table earlier this week
Two players discuss what's going on over there under the lights. "Some foreign guy, I think" says one of them, trying to make sense of the noise. Someone in the crowd calls for a deuce. They get either the deuce or something just as good. They're on their feet screaming again.
As they do so a glass box on stage rises from the floor, a secret code cracked to reveal a new bracelet. It's taken by presenter Kara Scott who walks on stage for the winner's presentation.
Back in the orange section a man, sounding a lot like Jackie Mason, tells another player about a hand. "How sick can this be?" he says, going on to explain how, by rights, he should be the chip leader.
The Amazon Room
A few tables along Kenny Nguyen, wearing more jewellery than Elizabeth Taylor, laughs and talks his way into and out of a pot.
Down the hall in the Brasilia Room nearly half of the tables are now empty.
A dealer at one table is accused of flirting with one of the players. She laughs. The flirtee stands for a moment. "Hey come back," says the dealer, "I'm not done with you." He comes back.
Doyle Brunson is among the field, wearing a cowboy hat and a sensible cardigan. Across the gang way someone has on a t-shirt and a crocodile cap. Another wears a Spiderman outfit. Ari Engel has a pair of red sunglasses balanced on the bill of his baseball cap. He grins as he faces a raise. He smiles, then frowns, then passes, still on around 200,000.
Two players go to showdown. "I got a straight" says one. The other says nothing but looks like a straight is about four hands stronger than his own. Between them sits a veteran of the China-Burma-India campaign who types something into an iPhone.
In the corridor, players from the Brasilia are relocating to the Amazon, walking in single file, escorted by a floor person. When they reach the door to the Amazon Room Steve Frezer provides directions...
"To the left, to the left, to the right, to the right, to the left, you're going to the left, you're going to the right."
On the main stage, photographers take group shot of National Championship winner Ryan Eriquezzo, a name which card caller Robbie Thompson growls into the microphone. There are more cheers.
A player runs past on his way out to the bathroom. On the rail a man in a luminous green t-shirt glows under the ultra-violet lights. Two girls in short dresses humour an older man in denim shorts swigging a bottle of beer.
The player runs back from the bathroom and another seat opens in the Amazon Room.
TWEET OF THE HOUR
@FabSoul: "Running soo bad in the Main Event! The only reasons why I am still in: some players are making big mistakes and structure is great! 25k #fb"
ANNOYANCE OF THE HOUR
Courtesy of Jason Mercier: "Some hot girl on the rail 5 feet away from me is yammering about her whole life story to some old lady she just met. #headphoneson #songza"
DIAGNOSIS OF THE HOUR
"It was a mild one." --Floor man's description of a heart attack suffered during Main Event play this week.
COOLER OF THE HOUR
Christophe de Meulder's aces versus pocket kings. The Team Pro now has 190,000