WSOP 2013: The main event rest stop
To look at the main event from a neutral perspective there's not exactly a lot going on. Nothing reflects this more than the feature table. Far from being the pinnacle of WSOP drama that it will become, the main stage is currently a rest stop for those who want to eat sitting down or read something on their telephones. Here you can do either activity in relative comfort and obscurity.
That goes for the players too. The thumbs of German pro Dominick Nitsche work manically at the screen of the phone he cradles in his hands. Occasionally he looks up, but only to pay for the drink a waiter brought him. The world on the screen is far more interesting than anything taking place on the felt in front of him. At the other end of the table Tatiana Barausova sits alongside Joe Cada. Nobody talks.
It's hard to argue otherwise for there's not much going on, such is the nature of the game. The players look tired and disinterested, resigned to maintaining this state for at least another six hours. Passers-by stop on the rail and watch for a few seconds. Then they realise that, for all the lights and cameras, there's less to see here than there is anywhere else, where the view is also dreadful. You see, poker is not a natural spectator sport, and it takes visitors to the Amazon Room only a few seconds to realise this.
Others are resigned to this and subconsciously decide not to let the poker distract them from more engaging pursuits. Three girls on the back row giggle among themselves while passing a bottle of beer to each other. Four people on the front row opposite eat takeaway food.
A man carrying a four gallon carton of water got up to leave, looking disappointed. The brochure had promised the biggest and richest poker tournament in the world. And it is. It's just that in level three of the opening day it doesn't necessarily look like it is. As he left another railbird arrived to take his place, eager to see what all the lack of fuss is about.
Two ladies on the opposite side seemed to size up the problem. Too polite to put any talk of monotony into words, they agreed that things would be much better if they could see the hole cards. They both laughed, startled temporarily into silence when noise came from the feature table. Action? An elimination perhaps? No, just a player moving his seat.
They soon got up and left.
Pictures courtesy of Poker Photo Archive.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.