Numbers Game

Quantifying the spectacle of the WSOP Main Event Final Table

by , Oct 30, 2012 | 7:56 pm

A view from the cheap seats in the Penn & Teller Theater.

The last 9 players waited 103 days for the start of the 2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table and a chance at the $8.5 million top prize. Those are some figures you might be familiar with, but one amazing stat was that in the course of losing 6 players, we saw 7 all-in hands, and in all but one case the best hand held up. That’s just crazy. The best hand isn’t supposed to win the majority of the time in televised poker, is it?

Here’s a few other numbers that stood out during the festivities this week at the Penn & Teller Theater.

0: Number of offers Phil Hellmuth got to coach an October 9er.

1: Number of photo booths where you can have your picture made at a poker table with a pile of “cash” and chips, as if you won the Big One.

1: Number of T-shirt cannons firing black WSOP T-shirts into the crowd during breaks.

2: Number of ring girls operating T-shirt cannon and tossing Caesars mardi gras beads.

2: Number of Giant TVs on either side of the stage, to show the crowd what’s happening on the felt.

2: Number of screens showing info on players and tournament data to the crowd — such as flop, chip stacks, blinds, antes, pot size and the hand number.

2: Number of players to show up without any patches. (Andras Koroknai and Michael Esposito.)

2 and 2: Number of chairs and masseuses at the lone booth in the Penn and Teller lobby.

3: Number of players who wore sunglasses. Salaburu sported orange, plastic Oakleys, while Thomas and Merson wore wire-rimmed aviators.

A collection of WSOP hoodies, hats and other merch for sale with the Final Table underway.

3: Number of hoodie choices available at the lone merch booth.

4: Beer options available in the Penn & Teller theater. (Corona, Heineken, Miller Lite, Coors Light.)

3/2: Approximate ratio of ounces-to-dollars for these beers, which cost $7, or $8 for “imports”

5: Number of players who got some sort of coaching at the Final Table. (Russell Thomas talked with Jason Somerville, Greg Merson chatted with Phil Ivey, Jeremy Ausmus whispered with Joe Tehan, and Jesse Sylvia got repeated pointers from Vanessa Selbst; Jake Balsiger supposedly hired Mike “Timex” McDonald.)

5: Number of tournaments being played at the Rio today, not including the WSOP main event.

6: Number of dealers in rotation at the Final Table.

7: Approximate number of minutes Phil Ivey stuck around on Day 1 to sweat his teammate/pupil Merson.

10: Number on the Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles Jersey worn by Merson, a Maryland native.

11, 2, and 1: Number of ESPN cameras spotted, those mounted on cranes, and those “floating” in the crowd.

12: Maximum square inches a sponsorship logo can be according to WSOP rules.

More than 12: Inches of black tape used to cover parts of Andras Koroknai’s “L.A. Cocaine Business” T-shirt.

13: Number of different sponsorial patches (est.) seen at the final table.

15: Number of people in line for the Sportsbook Deli at the Rio during a WSOP TV break.

22: Number of seconds before opting instead for a bag of pretzels from the gift shop.

28: Cost in dollars of a One Drop water bottle (complete with filter) available for sale at the Rio.

1/100: Odds one of your fans on the rail might rhythmically shimmie with a Fathead version of Jake Balsiger’s face for at least 10 minutes straight, with no music playing.

105: Number of spotlights I counted before my burning retinas could no longer distinguish bright blue beams from red and yellow flashes all around me.

1,111: Cost in dollars of a single bullet in the recently announced Little One for One Drop unlimited rebuys bracelet tourney.

1,200: Day 1 crowd estimate from WSOP spokesman Seth Palansky, seeing a mostly full Penn & Teller Theater with an uppermost level that was practically empty.