WSOP 2012: When nature calls


The World Series of Poker main event is a marathon, not a sprint. That is until the first break, when it becomes a sprint, not a marathon.

As the clock struck at the end of level two, players had 20 minutes to cram in all their bodily requirements (this did not include haircuts or shaving). The most urgent of these was in the bathroom, which is fine, only several hundred other men are headed there at the same time.

Not that that stopped any of them from trying to get there first. What the dash lacked in dignity it made up for in drama; nature taking its course with men of all ages, races and creeds standing side by side outside the men's bathroom. Within a minute the line was 20 strong. Some then remembered there are bathrooms further along the corridor, but that didn't stop ten more, presumably unsure whether they could make it any further, join the line. Then ten more. Sure, there were no eight year olds, but suddenly the World Series of Poker had become the line for Space Mountain.

Bathrooms were a hot issue earlier in the Series, before anyone had actually won anything and reporters were looking for something to type. Aware that players were spending the bulk of their break standing in line for the bathroom organisers threw open the doors of the ladies bathroom (evacuating it first) for the men, asking the women, who are much fewer in number to use additional facilities provided outside. Actually going outside helps. Walking just a few feet drains your body of any liquids thus removing the need to urinate.

That was remedied without violence but with the main event this big it was always going to take more than a couple of cubicles to take the strain.

The other pressing issue at break time is the need to smoke, which can turn ordinary men into zombies, clawing at each door they find hoping that one will lead to the great outdoors. Few do. One man, holding up a cigarette at eye level, asked for directions to the smoking area. I did the best I could but he looked too far gone to help. I can only imagine he simply ate the cigarette.

There are always innocent victims in these moments, in this case two men who looked like they'd accidentally walked into Pamplona and seen several hundred bulls running toward them.

"Do you know how we get back to the casino?" they asked. They'd seen enough and wanted out. I pointed them back in the direction they'd come and suggested they keep walking until they see slot machines, or a policeman.

Soon the great hubbub died down and order was restored. Relieved men now looked, well, relieved, and walked back towards their seats with a contented look on their faces. It's an expression that will last no longer than two hours.



Price of the portable oxygen cylinder being towed by man in the Rio corridor - $145.
Approximate street value if sold by the minute at the oxygen bar - $50,000


Progress made by "Big One" winner Antonio Esfandiari, in a crowd of well-wishers, in space of 15 minutes: 20 feet


Scattered around the Rio are two other preliminary events that are still requiring the attention of some Team PokerStars Pros. Eugene Katchalov is still alive in the $10,000 WSOP National Championship. He currently is in the top ten with 24 players remaining. Meanwhile, George Danzer is at the final table of the $10,000 2-7 event.

George Danzer going strong


Team PokerStars Pro David Williams is down to 10,000, a third of his starting stack, after turning second nuts with queen-eight versus king-queen on a JT59 board. It's the second time today he's lost with second nuts. He's considering himself lucky to still be in.


Daniel Negreanu is considering showing up tomorrow to play Day 1B. To get ready, he's watching all the Rocky reverse chronological order.


"Day 1a of the main event... Ya I'll be drinking by the pool! Playing day 1c on Monday #crunchwrap" --@JasonMercier