Championship Day 2
|Jesse May in
Day 2 of the World Series of Poker
was supposed to be exactly like the first. There was the same number of
players, the same number of levels, tables, everything. But it was different.
There was a different feel. First of all, it was more hardcore. Day 1 now seems
like it was a celebration of poker. There was laughing, joking, and friendly
words for your neighbor. On Day 2, however, I saw people do weird things,
desperation was in the air. Players who normally crack up on Day 3 lost it by
the second level. Others looked at their stacks of eleven thousand late in the
day and told themselves they were short stacked. Tight faces, hard scowls, and
crack ups. Day 2 was a day when people felt under pressure and nothing had even
happened. Nothing yet. Someone had said playing on Day 2 was an advantage
because you knew what to expect. But knowing brought out the worst in people.
It brought out the hounds of hell.
There were some nice stories and
its worth talking them first. In a roomful of pain, the bright spots
shine out, faces who werent bothered at all by the melee around them and
just got to business. Because imagining what you had to do, making a plan too
far in advance, and panicking early, those are the hallmarks of what makes this
tournament special. This tournament is like none other in the world. The field
is so big and the trip is so long, that you have to keep your head down and
just keep to business.
Irishman Padraig Parkinson hung in there. I saw
Padraig on the way in the room at the beginning of the day, and the plan had
worked. Everything hed done since January had been geared towards showing
up to the first play of the WSOP as prepared and relaxed as humanly possible.
And the glow on his cheeks with the freshly pressed shirt and the funny asides
said it all. Deal the cards. Padraig was balancing along on ten thousand even
for the first four levels. Sometimes towards midnight he glided up to about
nineteen thousand, and then at one, with eleven minutes to go, as Padraig put
it, Nominations are closed. Id like to thank the Academy. Day
2 chip leader Teddy Tuil was on Padraigs right, so as the action slowed
down towards the end of the evening, the ESPN cameras came over with their big
boom mikes and surrounded the table, zooming in on the French Israeli and his
mountain of chips, with production assistants, wires, lights, and the like.
Padraig looks down at his hand and sees two black aces. Now he starts the show.
Get these cameras out of here! Padraig shouts. Cant you
see were trying to play? This is ridiculous! Parkinson calls the
floormen, security, and a whole load of bother, acting the man whos tired
and out, angry at the impudence of the cameras that are clouding his play.
After three long minutes, the cameras move on, Padraig throwing after them with
a string of one liners. He looks at his hand again, still has the black aces.
Moves all in with disgust. And got some man to call him with not nearly a hand.
Now thats a long way to go to double your chips, but Parkinson now has
over $49,000. Padraigs sitting to the left of Tuil for the second day in
a row. And Teddy is super aggressive. You wouldnt know it to look at him;
Tuil always wears tasseled loafers, and has small feet and groomed hair,
manicured fingernails and an unassuming manner. He raises before the flop with
a regular drumbeat, a little tickling drum roll that pokes and prods. If
reraised he can get away from hands as easy as coming back over the top. Both
times with nothing.
Hasan Habib at a table with Russell Rosenblum. These
are two players with different games but mutual respect. I can tell you what
Hasan has been doing with the million dollars he won at the Bellagio last
month. He bought the most expensive pair of tinted glasses he could find. I
think he likes his table. Three guys at the end just found out who Hasan is. In
between Russell and Hasan sits Wolverhamptons Mad Marty Wilson. Marty
looks great, ironed grey logo shirt and reading glasses down low, hes on
38,000 and is unaware of anything around him. Later on, the end of the fifth
level, and Hasan is gone. Marty Wilson busted him. Martys got his chips
in eight piles all around. He peeks at his cards quickly before splashing the
pot. Man on a roll. Mad Marty on a rush.
Eighteen minutes before the end
of the day Im walking to go into the main tournament area when I pass
Chris Tsipralidis near the room with a cigarette. What are you doing,
Chris? He motions to the smoke. Are you out? Chris shakes his
head. Im tired and I dont want to mess it up!
Thats a sign of experience. Chris has played in this big event ten times
or more, and he know what can happen with only one mistake. Greek Chris has
40,000, which is fine, and hes happy to end the day. If youre tired
take a break. A marathon, not a sprint.
By now its early morning
Day 3 and players are falling like flies. Theyll lose two hundred before
the first break, as short stacks with no sleep decide double up or else
Ill just get some rest. But thats not the right plan. The plan, of
course, is to just sit and wait. Wait until they tighten up and then come in
for attack. Day 3 will be separation day. Five levels of two hours each, and
the leaders will start to come on. Someone will have 300,000 in chips before
this day is over. But nothings guaranteed, only that the survivors are one step
closer to five million dollars.
Further Championship details on the