Why do I watch Celebrity Apprentice when I know it’s just gonna tilt me!?
It’s the 10th anniversary of Chris Moneymaker, and the big poker events are here — starting with the WPT World Championship, where the final table looks to be a lesson in makeup and collections. But hey, even at only $1.1 million for first, a televised $25k buy-in is still enough to make Bellagio the busiest room in Vegas again. Meanwhile, Dave finds the new lowest stakes action on the Strip in a $.50/$1 NL game at the Quad (which ain’t a bad way to chase the Megabeat) … and does yours truly find his poker passion re-ignited by a missed connection at Red Rock, where a self-professed high-stakes online pro says he’s really impressed by my $1-3 play. (Argh, why didn’t I get his name!?!) Meanwhile, Andrew is keeping it real and chill poolside, with the opening of a new dayclub flavored by the Light Group and Cirque du Soleil. And in our version of “What Would You Do?” the VG crew breaks down an ethical quandry about dealer error and cards speaking when the table won’t … which begs the question: is there a difference between angle shooting another player and pocketing cash from a casino slip?
We’ve got two One Drop events … the Little One for One Drop — for players thirsty for charity action in a small four-figure range … and the Medium One for One Drop, aka the High Rollers event for a $111,111 buy-in.
Other than that, on quick scan it seems to be a lot more big-field no-limit hold’em … maybe with a few gimmick Savage Tournament knock-off events (ante-only, re-entry, etc.) thrown in for good measure. But lest you accuse Caesars Interactive of not being able to jump on a trend du’jour … there’s also an Open Face Chinese Poker exhibition event.
62 bracelets (I can’t remember, is that a lot or a little?) over 48 days, May 29-June 15. Final nine resuming in November.
You can expect at least 50,000 poker players to end up with broken dreams … and probably a few dozen shattered marriages to boot! But hey, so long as Caesers keeps it fun, players keep coming back for more … and it’s like every year you have a whole new crop of 21-year-olds coming of age!
(Of course there the battle is with Zynga, which has a unique advantage of being able to market their soon-to-be gambling Texas Hold’em social poker game — and slot machines — to 13-year-olds. Seriously, give it 5 more years …? NGCB stamp of approval pending.)
You probably can also expect continued Cold War with PokerStars. Because for all the positive spin that goes along with an official tournament schedule announcement, and for all the hype of rags-to-riches jackpot dreams — they’re calling one $1,500 event “The Millionaire Maker” … the press release makes 0 (zero) mention of Chris Moneymaker on the 10th anniversary of his historic WSOP run. But hey, with or without the marketing power of PokerStars’ World Champion Everyday Joe Pro, the WSOP has done a good job over the years of keeping their brand at center of the poker universe burning bright — almost like a supernova! — particularly during the dead heat of Las Vegas summers.
I got a message on Facebook smack in the middle of the WSOP — June 23rd — from someone I had been buddies with since grade school, but had lost touch with since moving away from Michigan almost 10 years ago. The message started off with him, Dave, saying congrats on my poker career and that he liked reading this blog, which was cool to hear because I usually have no idea who reads this thing, mom and dad excluded. (Hi Mom and Dad!) Dave went on to say sorry for emailing out of the blue but he was really hoping for a bit of advice.
His father had really taken to poker over the past decade, he explained, often playing with friends and family as well as in charity card rooms around their home in Michigan. He wrote that his dad “has long since dreamed” of making the trek cross country and playing in a WSOP event, and that with a rare vacation timed perfectly at the end of the month, he was wondering whether it would be a good idea or silly pursuit. He phrased it in a way that might make you think of a lot of fans of the game dreaming of taking their shot in Vegas, only better, because he made sure to say that win or lose, he thought it would make for a great experience for his dad, who was last in Las Vegas 40 years ago.
For those who weren’t up at 6am pacific last Thursday watching news, Chris Moneymaker appeared on Morning Joe (MSNBC’s start to the mainstream news day) with Doug Tirola, director of ALL IN: The Poker Movie … the documentary you’ve been hearing about for years (it won an award at the Cinevegas Film Festival three years ago!) that really has been finished thanks to Black Friday providing an ending, and is finally showing for the non-poker public:
While poker people may think this film is a fine representation of the past nine years of our lives … the virtual parade of poker personalities telling the tale (including yours truly, ahem) in the most hyped poker movie since Lucky Yougot panned byhad the New York Times rolling its eyes, saying, “in the interest of accuracy. It ought to be ‘All In: The Poker Propaganda Movie.'”
Fair-ish point by the NYT, but really, watch the clip above and you see a filmmaker who, after 5+ years shooting this film, is not so much a political activist as he is a religious convert.
From the heartlands to New England, Darvin Moon has spent the latter part of 2010 running the tournament hosting circuit.Â Hosting the Mega Stack Challenge XVII with Chris Moneymaker in August, and making two stops along the Heartland Poker Tour in Iowa/Michigan in the past month, Darvin will be hosting and playing in Foxwoods Mega Stack Challenge XVIII $375,000 Guarantee kicking off Saturday in Mashantucket, CT – not too far from Darvin’s homebase in Maryland.
Not that it means anything, nor that we’re gonna horserace this … but just a little indication how Pokerati’s early adopters see things. Results from the first batch of votes we’ve gotten in Pokerati’s Mock Hall of Fame selection process:
Of the 33 ballots tabulated, two had to be thrown out, which should be a bummer for Scotty Nguyen, since he had the most among the illegitimate points, and I don’t mean that in any sorta racist way.
You know, when Scotty does get in, you can imagine much will be made of his whole “Baby” shtick. That right there tells me something, as it would be much more “adorable” coming from a withering inductee in his 70s than an active player apparently getting paid in product for his sponsorship deal with Jheri curl.
With age always relevant in the Hall of Fame selection process, naturally, @BJNemeth and I couldn’t resist a Socratic dialogue competitively pissing in the wind about the meaning of the emphasized phrase this year:
On this day nine years ago — September 11, 2001 — cards got in the air for a new online poker site called PokerStars.
The best multitable tournaments, player loyalty rewards, stats, and seeing your own picture at the table were the vision unleashed on the world on September 11th. Click to look back at the site as it was then.
It was just for play money at first, but the timing would prove fortuitous. People seemed to enjoy the software and were telling their friends … as online poker seemed to provide a much-needed escape from the ever-more-difficult to swallow news of the day.
Surely it’s got to be, right? And maybe not just for main events … I wouldn’t be surprised if this represents the youngest final table ever — for any WSOP event in history! One of the youngest five, for sure, I’ll virtually guarantee.
Eight 20somethings and one Gen-Xer (who happens to be the second shortest stack):
FILIPPO CANDIO – 26
JOSEPH CHEONG – 24
JOHN DOLAN – 24
JONATHAN DUHAMEL – 22
MATTHEW JARVIS – 25
MICHAEL MIZRACHI – 29
CUONG â€œSOIâ€ NGUYEN – 37
JOHN RACENER – 24
JASON SENTI – 25
It seems the most prescient pre-game analysis might have come from a non-poker media source … specifically Time Magazine’s Dan Kadlec, whose article (“World Series of Poker: Attack of the Math Brats“, 28 June 2010) is now up online for those of you who didn’t get to read it in full when it first came out.
The November Nine Class of ’10 includes only two players who were 21 or older when Chris Moneymaker did his thing at age 27.
You’ve all seen it before … but it had been several years since I watched it in full (with no other distractions). If you haven’t seen it for a while either, enjoy a clip from back when poker was just poker …
Seven years ago today, the 2003 Main Event got underway …
After wading through a massive field of 839, Chris Moneymaker would end up facing off against Sam Farha, the quintessential Vegas gambler, and making the bluff that created an industry:
(Check out his hat. Think PokerStars got good ROI on their swag?)
Not many details at the moment, but Mark Seif noted on his blog tonight on the passing of veteran pro Amir Vahedi. Most people may recognize him for his 6th place finish at the 2003 WSOP final table, he earned over $3,000,000 in tournament action. More details as they become available.
Another down day for today’s Main Event as only 873 registered for day 1b, the lowest day 1 figure since the poker boom began. Reports indicate that over 2,700 players combined have already registered for days 1c and 1d, combined with the 1,989 who have already registered means the 5,000 figure should easily be reached. Another rumor, this one reported by ESPN’s Andrew Feldman, says that Days 1c and 1d will play 5 two-hour levels, followed by 4 two-hour levels for Day 2b. The Day 1a and 1b survivors will then play 5 two-hour levels on Day 2a so everyone has played nine levels when the field combines for day 3.
On to what’s known, and that is the Day 1b field is on their fourth and final level of today’s play, with about 720 players remaining. Notables who have already been eliminated: Chris Moneymaker, Doyle Brunson, Vicky Coren, David Pham, boxer Winky Wright, and Marlon Shirley, who will definitely get some airtime during ESPN’s Day 1b coverage.
The unofficial chip leader is Nick Maimone, with 129,000 in chips. Some notables with chips includes: Ali Eslami (85,000), Fabrice Soulier (66,000), Erik Seidel (59,500), Shaun Deeb (53,000), Joe Sebok (42,500), and Amarillo Slim (36,000). You can follow the live updates at www.wsop.com here.
See what other rumors get started or squashed at Pokerati in the evening hours and early morning and I’ll be back with more stuff in the morning.
[tab: News]All In: The Poker Movie won the jury prize for Best Documentary at the CineVegas Film Festival last week — which knowledgeable movie people tell me is known as a respected minor league version of Sundance. It supposedly won’t be announced until tomorrow afternoon, but Variety already has the results.
Chris Moneymaker is a hero again.
Even not-so-pokery people are saying this 98-minute history of the game is a sleepy sleeper hit. Indie Film Examiner says:
This film claims that poker is a “microcosm of the American dream”. After viewing it I completely agree.
But “All In” tonight really taught me something else: The poker boom is about as American as anything ever was. The variation on the game itself — Texas Hold ‘Em — is an American invention. Risk-taking is the foundation of our capitalist society. And the ingredients that turned it into what it is today include new technology (hole-card cams, Web poker) and anyone-can-succeed chutzpah (Moneymaker) that have deep roots in our national traditions.
[tab: Video from premiere]
PokerListings was at the premiere, at the Palms:
A few recaps while several tournaments are on their dinner breaks:
The 40th Annual $40,000 NL Holdem final table has 4 players remaining. Greg Raymer, Vitaly Lunkin, Isaac Haxton and Dani Stern make up the final four to take home nearly $2m and the first open gold bracelet of the WSOP. Ted Forrest, Noah Schwartz, Lex Veldhius, Alec Torelli and Justin Bonomo were eliminated earlier today from the final table.
Speaking of Raymer, the WSOP Champions Invitational got underway earlier this afternoon. 20 of the 25 surviving champions accepted their RSVPs to be filmed under the bright lights of the ESPN cameras. Within the first orbit, 2006 winner Jamie Gold was the first player eliminated, while 2003 winner Chris Moneymaker watched his 10,000 chip stack dwindle erode before he finally busted. Raymer was able to get a couple of hands in before returning to the $40k final table. Six more one-hour levels or until the final table of nine return Monday afternoon.
There’s a lot of interesting action going on tonight. The $40k NLH seems to have quite the storylines developing … Chris Moneymaker (@cmoneymaker) is still alive and strong, but the chip leader is now his new-poker-era successor, Greg Raymer. Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) is still proving to be a big threat … all these boomtime champions, yet plenty of old dogs there, too — Steven Zolotow, David Chiu, Ted Forrest, e.g. — representin’ those pre-boom big-time days.
There’s also some potential excitement brewing in the ESPN Fantasy Pool, with Matt Glantz (@MattGlantz, one of my guys) way up near the top of the chip counts; and Mathers has Neil Channing hanging on for his team of fantasy scabs.
Vanessa Rousso (@VanessaRousso) is also still alive, though barely. Wouldn’t it be something …
Earlier this morning, Andrew Cohen became the first bracelet winner of the WSOP as he took down the $500 Casino Employees event. Cohen, a bartender at the N9ne Steakhouse at the Palms, took down $83,833 and will take part in the first bracelet ceremony of the Series at approximately 2:20pm in the Amazon room. Paul Peterson, a barback at the Mandalay Bay, finished 2nd.
At 2pm, the 40th Annual $40,000 NL Event will start their day 2 with 89 players remaining. Bruno Fitoussi will start play as chip leader with 812,500 in chips. Chris Moneymaker is close behind in 2nd with 805,000, with Justin Bonomo in 3rd with 738,000. With the final table scheduled for Sunday, it’s likely they’ll play down to the money today, which will be the final three tables.
The next bracelet event on the schedule will begin at 12 noon with Event #3, $1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better. Last year, Thang Luu won $243,342 in a field of 832. This year, the WSOP Staff Guide projects a field of 916 for today’s event. Taking into account that tomorrow will be day 1a of the $1,000 NL Holdem “Stimulus Special”, taking the under on this projection looks like the logical play here. I’ll suggest that the field size will be closer to 850. You can check out the WSOP site for updates during the day to follow the action and to see how right or wrong I guessed. More stuff from the rest of the team during the day.