2007 World Series: Manic Monday

June 19, 2007

Updated below

Monday counts as likely the oddest day I have ever spent covering tournament poker. It’s fair to say that I end most days here saying, “Well, I guess I’ve seen it all now.” And then, the next day, something else happens.

It seemed that the entire room was on tilt today. Not just the people in the room. The room itself. Early in the day, I heard one woman verbally disembowel an opponent after he told her she was taking too long to make decisions. Late in the night, I watched as another woman stood and in a voice loud enough to be heard across the room ask a chronically-stalling Men the Master, “Who do you think you are?” That was the tame stuff.

The room was a surreal circus today as one player ignored his failing health–and perhaps failing consciousness–and kept his seat in the $1,500 Razz event over the protestations of…just about everybody. Another player in the $2,500 short-handed no-limit hold’em event spent the day on a manic, coffee-spilling, around-the-room marching tirade of cinematic proportions. That was certainly not the tame stuff.

And that left the poker. The day began well as Barry Greenstein took me along for the ride on a multi-tabling adventure that became Seventeen Steps With Barry Greenstein. The room was also abuzz with word of two world champions playing together at the same short-handed table. That became Champion vs. Champion.

All that was left tonight was the after-midnight epilogue. When the short-handed event hit the money, Barry Greenstein was still alive, thanks in part to some hyper-aggressive bubble play. His day ended just before the end of the last level. Short-stacked, he pushed all-in with A9, got called by K9. His hand didn’t hold and he headed out to get ready for tomorrow’s $5,000 heads-up championship.

The story of the tournament at that point, however, was that of Terrence Chan. His life and times have been oft-chronicle on this blog. All day long, I watched him hang around looking for his spots. Just before the bubble burst, he started picking up lots of chips and looked to go deep. Right after the bubble burst, he played a hand against Joe Tehan that had most of the media scrambling to figure out what happened. After coming in for a raise with QQ, Terrence faced a small re-raise from Tehan. Terrence put in a third raise and Tehan immediately moved in. Terrence’s brain works in a way I’m not sure mine ever will. In went his call in what was likely the biggest pot of the day. Tehan had been making a move with pocket fives. As they say, nothing bad happened and Terrence found himself at the top of the leaderboard.

That joy only lasted for a few minutes. Just a while later, he got aces in against Tehan’s queens pre-flop. A queen on the flop cost Terrence a 220,000 chip pot and the spot as chip-leader.

Still, as the night ends, Terrence ha a near-average stack with around 40 players remaining.

Terrence Chan, back when his stack was…smaller

Also at work today was Team PokerStars Katja Thater. She managed to endure the oddest and most frustrating tournament of the day and cashed in the $1,500 Razz event.

At this hour (2:00am PDT) Katja is still alive in the event with 14 players remaining. There has not yet been a decision made about whether the final table will play out tonight or tomorrow.

Manic Monday is now gone. What happens on Tuesday…we’ll just have to wait and see.

Update: Katja Thater has made her second final table of the 2007 World Series. Today at 3pm she will sit down with seven other Razz masochists to fight for the bracelet. It’s only been a week since Katja took fifth in the Ladies event. Tonight, she said she plans to place higher. “One, two, or three,” she said. Good luck, Katja!


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