WSOP 2012: What becomes of the broken hearted?
If there's any guarantee in tournament poker, it's that you're going to bust out. There's an even bigger chance, unless you've walked past the promotional t-shirt booth, that you'll go home empty handed, and on day one, and possibly just after dinner. That brings indigestion into the equation and now you're having a really bad day.
Such is the fate of hundreds of players currently making their excuses and leaving.
It's a difficult moment all round. The player now out doesn't quite know how to behave, while those remaining have a different problem. Rarely do we consider the feelings of those players remaining, some of whom consider elimination to be contagious. Having someone hang around, shaking hands and trying to talk things over, even someone they'd been friendly with a few minutes earlier, just makes them uncomfortable.
Most departees understand this and leave the tournament area as quickly as they can, dragging their grief, or their wife, with them to the corridor outside where they can vent properly. Relatives who've been watching tend to offer sympathy, while at the same time coming to terms with their own loss - no room upgrade for a start and nothing from the lobster tank. Those without family support reach for telephones and give the news long distance.
The primary escape route
"I'm out!" said a man in short trousers walking the corridor. He was giggling for some reason but seemed fine about it, although it was less clear what the person at the end of the phone made of it all. They may well have been livid, the ten grand he'd promised to turn into millions now gone for good.
Another place to wallow is outside, where players gather as if in remembrance of something very dear to them but which has now gone. Of course to do so is to open the door on oven-cooked bad beat stories. Out there you can usually find someone who will listen to you over a cigarette, provided you can tell your story before your clothes burst into flames.
The sun has a useful calming effect, shortening stories by sucking the strength from the person telling them. It's difficult to be animated, or mad, while your shoes are melting and your contact lenses have turned to dust. Best get back indoors, where the blast of cold air makes you cry instead, relieving you of all that pent up tension.
Then it's back to the real world, and real life, just beyond the hotel doors. Go on, it will be okay. Head towards the light, past the three bars, the check in desk and the poker room. The what? Ah yes, the poker room, the Alamo of the defeated poker player. And there's always next year.
GOOD DOUBLE UP OF THE HOUR
Barry Greenstein's pocket aces holding against Big Slick and moving him up to 58,000
BAD DOUBLE UP OF THE HOUR
Mickey Petersen calling a four-bet all-in with ace-queen and not getting there versus pocket tens.
TOP TEAM PRO OF THE HOUR
Daniel Neagreanu, who is closing in on 100,000 in chips. Which brings us to...
TWEET OF THE HOUR
Daniel Negreanu: "Whitney Houston voice to Main Event "I been savin all my luck, been savin all my luck, been savin all my luck for yoooouuuu""
LOST AND FOUND OF THE HOUR
Now searching for Matthias de Meulder's iPad. Paging, Mr. iPad.
PRELIMINARY EVENT BRACELET-WINNER OF THE HOUR
Vanessa Selbst, up to 74,000 and climbing.