Last Call: Day 47, Outside the Ropes

by , Jul 25, 2007 | 9:38 am

LAS VEGAS–This post woulda been much more timely and sensible had it appeared a week ago, but hey, sometimes what happens in Vegas takes a little while before it becomes public. Anyhow, the last day of the World Series is the point where all unofficial media outlets have to take a back seat in terms of coverage. Understandable considering that, for the first time in nearly seven weeks, all eyes are focussed on a single table … and it just won’t be possible for all interested parties to sit ringside until Brobdingnagian dominance forces Harrah’s to make structural changes to the TV stage.

So that left most of us doing what you were doing … following some rather exciting coverage of a relatively unexciting, straightforward final table on PokerNews while listening to play-by-play on Bluff Radio (which was being piped into the media room) while watching live-camera coverage on a flat-screen monitor.

The media room, anytime there was an all-in and a call. CardPlayer decides not to run with the hedline: ESPN blogger violates Rio chair-standing policy

Actually, large-scale LCD screens were sprinkled throughout the hallways and the Amazon itself, so we could watch the overhead cam pretty much anywhere we went. We just couldn’t camp out for more than a few minutes near the real action. But that was fine by me, because we’ll all get to see The Jerry Yang Show soon enough on TV, and the World Series really is about so much more than just poker. As it turned out, there was lots of fun stuff going on away from the table that provided a little insight into how the poker industry really works …

Removal of non-final tables and chairs, for example. Operational logistics can be a hefty load.

And the dismantling of the controversial “poker superstructure.”

I stumbled into these guys while wandering through a back hallway. Oops, sorry about that. Didn’t realize you were filming. Hey, no guns this year?!? Interesting. OK, right, shush, “Take 2!”

The WSOP gift shop was bumpin’ … Lots of merch to get rid of and a clearance sale to boot!

wsop store
To help facilitate consumer demand, an extra storefront was set up inside the Amazon room. As seems to be WSOP tradition, it feels multiple degrees colder inside on the final day, and sales of hoodies go way up!

Oliver Tse was hard at work throughout the main event. Tom Schneider may have been the 2007 WSOP Player of the Year, but Oliver was clearly the 2007 WSOP Playa of the Year. In his first year as an agent, he had three clients at the final table. Here, two of them are heads-up: [Imagine Oliver voice] “Jerry Yang raises under the gun and Alexander Kravchenko moves all-in from the big blind with pocket threes. Yang calls with KING-QUEEN OFF-SUIT. Flop is eight-clubs, three-hearts, two-spades. Kravchenko flops a set with no straight or flush threats. Yang is drawing dead. Kravchenko doubles up through Yang to eighteen million four hundred thousand tournament chips.”

(recorded Dec. 2006)

Too bad he didn’t make it to the live webcast stage with Phil Gordon, Ali Nejad, and I’m not sure who the other guy is.

The action was down to four handed on dinner break ….

There was a special VIP shindig inside the Rio’s super-fancy Palazzo Suites.

Sitting around the coffee table with (left to right) Jamie Gold, Chris Ferguson, Devilfish date, Devilfish, and Marcel Luske.

Tom Schneider took advantage of the open bar (stocked with top-shelf liquors) and started pounding Milwaukee’s Best Light. “It’s really not bad,” he tells me. “I can drink this. I’d even say I like it.”

Ahh, so much more relaxed. Here Tom chats it up with Knych Keller, the communications director for Corum watches. “Do you like the bracelets,” she asks.

“I love them,” Tom says.

“How come you aren’t wearing them?”

“Uh, well, you know, I’m not really a jewelry kind of guy.”


Soon Jeffrey Pollack would join the conversation, at which point Tom, perhaps showing off his skills honed on Beyond the Table (?) would offer a rambly monologue about the greatness of the WSOP compared to the WPT.

The Commish then invites him to serve on the Players Advisory Committee.

“I’d be interested in that,” Tom says.

“Done!” says Pollack. “You’re going to make a fine Player of the Year.”

Then veteran sportscaster Howard David (left, with his wife, Phyllis) would invite Tom to sit in with Robert Williamson providing color commentary on the Bluff Radio broadcast of the final table.

“Done!” says Tom.

Gee, this poker business is easy, he thinks.

Important WSOP ladies Laura Hill, Angele Marshall, and Karen Williamson share a collective gasp: “Hey, who let that Pokerati guy in here?”

Meanwhile, around an outdoor bathtub, Michelle Lau discusses her and Marcel Luske’s new website endeavor with the man behind 3PiggsPoker, an online poker room exclusively for South Africans.

Raymond Rahme is still alive and trying to stay focussed on the task at hand as his friends wander around the private Palazzo Suite pool while draped in a South African flags.

After dinner, all head back to the table, where there is a special ceremony for Tom …

Robert Williamson and somebody really important from Miller Brewing (sorry, didn’t catch his name/title) presenting Tom with a cardboard representation of the $40,000 that goes with being the Milwaukee’s Best Light Player of the Year.

Cards get back in the air, and Donkey Bomber gets prepped for an interview for the live final table video webcast.

Um, Tom … eyes front. Too much glare when you’re looking down.

Apparently once you are on TV people want your autograph.

And Tom (wearing his Corum bracelets now) would begin hearing little voices in his head telling him to win more.

But as the night wore on and action heated up, spectators outside the “arena” were getting cold and tired.

Eventually the table would get to heads-up, featuring Tuan Lam, a short-stacked pro vs. Jerry Yang, chip-dominant amateur for $8.25 million.

By 4 am, Yang had won it all. An inspiration to many — proof that you too can become the World Champion of Poker with neither big-tournament experience nor an online poker account!

And with that, all the fun that was the 2007 WSOP comes to an end.

ALT HED: How I Spent My Summer Vocation

17 Comments to “Last Call: Day 47, Outside the Ropes”

  1. Jen

    Well worth the wait for this post…

  2. Short-Stacked Shamus

    Terrific slide show, Dan. NH.

  3. Tim B.

    just to save ed the trouble:

    Brobdingnagian \brob-ding-NAG-ee-uhn\, adjective:
    Of extraordinary size; gigantic; enormous.

    (im guessing the overlap of Swift readers and pokerati readers is pretty small)

  4. Michele Lewis

    Hey, In that first photo…I never realized how tall Andrew Feldman was. I’m sending him a link!

  5. Spaceman

    Too bad he didn’t make it to the live webcast stage with Phil Gordon, Ali Nejad, and I’m not sure who the other guy is.

    Dude, that’s 5th place finisher (and from all reports very cool dude) Jon ‘Skalie’ Kalmar. I thought you said you watched the final table! Or maybe you just watched the people who watched the final table. I think we should have your credentials pulled.

    Then ESPN’s Howard David (left) would invite Tom to sit in with Robert Williamson providing color commentary on the Bluff Radio broadcast of the final table.

    I can’t remember Howard ever working for ESPN. He did, however, broadcast a good portion of the 17 final tables on the WSOP Live package that I produced this year, in addition to every final table I produced on Sirius Satellite Radio at the 2006 WSOP. The lady next to him in the photo is his wife, Phyllis, who’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever encountered at the WSOP.

  6. Mean Gene

    I’ll have to re-read this post again a bit later, as I went on beertilt when Tom said of Beast Lite, “It’s really not bad…I can drink this…I’d even say I like it.” I’m gonna go grab a nice Pale Ale and get my head screwed on straight.

  7. DanM

    There you go … right there … that’s my point, spaceman. The overhead cam didn’t really even allow us to see what Kalmar looked like. All we saw were hands and chips and flops.

    As to Howard David … hmmm … Thanks for pointing out the mistake. Will correct accordingly.

  8. donkey

    Damn, Dan, where did you get the first few pictures? From the bust at Aces?

  9. GoodChuck

    I wonder if we are seeing an interesting and thought provoking trend at the Main Event. Last year Jamie Gold says before the tournament whatever he wins will go towards making his father’s final days more comfortable and peaceful. He Wins. This years Jerry Yang pledges 10% of his winnings to Make A Wish, Feed the Children, and Ronald McDonald House. He Wins. Maybe there is something to this karma thing we should all take notice about. You would think I would be winning a boat load of money with all the philanthropy I have demonstrated. I have made donations to many strippers for rent, car payments, electricity bills, and clothes. When is my karma going to come back around.

  10. BJ Nemeth

    That Oliver Tse quote/ringtone is priceless; he is definitely unique in the poker industry. I think he is cursed like Cassandra from the Greek legend — she could accurately prophesize the future, but was cursed so that nobody would believe her. That’s Oliver Tse in a nutshell.

    Dan, I really liked this post. It might be a week late (Has it already been a week? Has it *only* been a week?), but for me, the timing was perfect. Especially since I didn’t get to see any of this because I was one of the few reporters allowed to sit at the final table and cover it live. Looking at your photos and reading your descriptions, I actually think I got the less-interesting assignment. (Pokerati should have sprung the bucks for ESPN’s live broadcast over the web, however.)

    And how the hell did I make it through the entire World Series of Poker without ever meeting Angele Marshall? (I’m assuming Dan spelled her name right.) I’m now officially pissed at every single media person at the WSOP for not introducing me to her.

    Angele and I had a few remote dealings (over the radio) while working the Bluff final tables, but I never got a chance to meet her in person. Mean Gene told me one of the lowlights of his WSOP was when he was working in the Bluff control room as the PokerNews reporter, and Angele walked up to meet him, saying something like, “Are you BJ Nemeth? I’m so excited to meet you …”

    Maybe next year?

  11. DanM

    ***That Oliver Tse quote/ringtone is priceless***

    So I shouldn’t try to sell it for 99 cents a pop?

  12. BJ Nemeth

    You’ve reminded me of a Simpsons quote. (For the record, *everything* reminds me of a Simpsons quote.)

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    In one of the episodes from around Seasons 9-12 (past the peak years, but with occasional brilliance), Bart and Lisa discover an old film canister with an alternate ending to the classic film, “Casablanca.”

    Lisa: “Bart, this is priceless!”

    Bart: “Priceless like a mother’s love, or the good kind of priceless?”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Sorry, Dan, but that ringtone is in a third category, which means, “I’m glad I got to hear it, and it’s really funny/poignant/whatever, but I wouldn’t pay a dime for it.”

  13. snake

    dan, thanks again for the ride home from the strip club. and for the shovel. still our little secret right?


  14. DanM

    of course, snake. good times. but shouldn’t we be having this conversation on MySpace?

  15. snake

    I was thinking Second Life perhaps, actually.

  16. Michele Lewis

    Dan/Snake – I was thinking gayguysrus. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

    Tom – where were the bracelets during the party? Was Julie wearing both of them? And are you at the beach right now?

    BJ – Will you make us the cute little schedule books again for next year? I’m thinking of selling mine on ebay.

  17. BJ Nemeth

    Michele — There will *definitely* be books again next year, and they’ll be new and improved.

    Let me know when you put it on eBay, and I might secretly bid up the price to improve my self esteem. 🙂