WSOP 2014: The best of men

There was something about the first tweet from Mickey Petersen today that forecast an uneventful, slightly painful day for the Team Online pro, on what is his fourth Main Event.

If Petersen wasn't exactly optimistic about his prospects in the Main Event, the arrival of the opposition did little to change his mind, as Phil Ivey took his seat two places to his right.

But then, the world can change in a second, and Petersen hadn't counted on running into an old friend during the first break in play.

And so Petersen went from contemplating his exit, and the end of his Las Vegas summer, to being on call upon for the unlikely role of best man, as he explained at the second break in play.

"I ran into a good friend that I haven't seen in a long time," began Petersen. "In the first break we were catching up and he was like 'Oh, so I think I'm going to get married', and I said 'Oh, wow', because I hadn't seen on Facebook that he had a girlfriend.

"He said 'Nah I met her two days ago, at a 4th July party. We partied for like 30 hours and then I proposed to her and she said yes.' I was alike 'Oh wow, so you're going to get married while you're out here?' He said 'Yes' and that he was leaving in four days, or something like that.

Micky Petersen_Event 65_Day 1C_2014 WSOP_Giron.jpgMickey Petersen (Photo: Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive)

"He asked if I wanted to be the best man. I said yes for now. I'm not sure if it's going to happen or not, but I'm pretty sure he's going to get married."

There it is. True loves only takes about 30 hours. When you know, you know. Either way it leaves Petersen with arguably a more important role to play in the coming few days than that of poker player. Had he ever been a best man before?

"No, never," he said, although he didn't seem overly concerned by the prospect of speeches, toasts and all that responsibility. "I would expect the expectations for a best man in Vegas are a lot lower than anywhere else in the world, thankfully. I feel like it'll be a lot easier to pull off here than anywhere else."

He might be right. What's more his recent experience in a nearby casino may have given him ample preparation for how it all works.

"I was playing a poker tournament in another casino yesterday for the first time, and my table was right next to a chapel, I kid you not," he said. "I was not even measuring in terms of how many levels I was in, it was how many weddings. I busted around wedding 15."

So does he have a suit ready? Did he pack a tie?

"No, I barely have any pants," he replied. "I guess I'll have to get that sorted."

So now, at the very least, Petersen might want to hang around for Day 2, or long enough to perform his matrimonial duties. And all that talk of elimination was merely pragmatism on his part.

"Obviously for the main event, I feel like everyone is very excited for it and I am to," he said. "But I probably have lower expectations than everyone else. I've played it three times and made Day 2 once, never cashed, and everyone always makes it sound like you can cash it every year."

Is it because it's the last event of a long summer?

"Another 10 K to burn off before I get home..? Yeah I think there's something to that," he joked. "Obviously I've been playing live poker for six or seven weeks straight now, so it's a lot. I'm not quite as excited. I'm more excited for it to be over and to go home and be able to play online in my own place.

"But it's still a great tournament, and I'd still love to do well in it. I just feel like I have more realistic expectations than those people who flew in yesterday."

So had he managed to talk to Phil yet?

"No, he's wearing his headphones all the time."

I pointed out that he was too.

"Yeah, that's true."

Perhaps Ivey was waiting for him to say something first?

"The only thing he said was "oh, that's all I win?" and he gave me a disapproving look," said Petersen, referring to a hand in which Ivey flopped a straight against Petersen's set of jacks, but only won four grand.

Phil Ivey_Event 65_Day 1C_2014 WSOP_Giron.jpg"That's all I won?" Phil Ivey two seats along (Photo: Joe Giron/Poker Photo Archive)

Did he think Ivey knew who he was?

"No, but that's another funny story. I tweeted about that earlier. Phil Ivey's twitter account - people don't really know when it's Phil tweeting, when it's not, if it is Phil tweeting or not. I don't know either. But he was following every single poker person, and then he cleared it up last week. So he's not following me anymore."

I was also one of those followed; quietly taking part in what was at the time a worldwide ego trip for half the world's poker population.

"Yeah, you need to check," said Petersen, bringing me back down to earth. "He's cut out almost everyone. So I tweeted that my goal today was to get him to refollow me. But he's not engaging in much conversation so I don't know if that's going to happen."

Still, if all else goes wrong Petersen can at least look forward to a wedding, and best man duties that will involve little more than showing up on time and tipping the officiant/Elvis before flying back to the real world.

For now though it's back to work, and to Phil Ivey, real or otherwise.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.