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World Series Of Poker
 Jesse May Reports
April 23rd - May 28th, 2004

Jesse May Reports : Champ D6 - Champ D5 - Champ D3 - Champ D2 - Champ D1 - T - 1 - T - 2 - T - 3 (II) - T - 3 (I) - T - 4 - T - 7 - Day 13 - D 12 - D 11 - D 10 - Return (9) - D 4 - D 3 - D 2 - Carborundum
Championship : The First 6 Days - The Final - Places & Prizes
Picture Series : Winners - Ted Forest - $5000 Holdem - John Hennigan - 2 to 7 Draw - A-Z Player List - The Final
Jesse May in
Las Vegas
Championship Day 2

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 it’s worth talking them first. In a roomful of pain, the bright spots shine out, faces who weren’t 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 he’d 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. I’d like to thank the Academy.” Day 2 chip leader Teddy Tuil was on Padraig’s 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. “Can’t you see we’re trying to play? This is ridiculous!” Parkinson calls the floormen, security, and a whole load of bother, acting the man who’s 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 that’s a long way to go to double your chips, but Parkinson now has over $49,000. Padraig’s sitting to the left of Tuil for the second day in a row. And Teddy is super aggressive. You wouldn’t 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 Wolverhampton’s Mad Marty Wilson. Marty looks great, ironed grey logo shirt and reading glasses down low, he’s 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. Marty’s 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 I’m 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. “I’m tired and I don’t want to mess it up!” That’s 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 he’s happy to end the day. If you’re tired take a break. A marathon, not a sprint.

By now it’s early morning Day 3 and players are falling like flies. They’ll lose two hundred before the first break, as short stacks with no sleep decide double up or else I’ll just get some rest. But that’s 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 Championship page
Jesse May Reports : Champ D6 - Champ D5 - Champ D3 - Champ D2 - Champ D1 - T - 1 - T - 2 - T - 3 (II) - T - 3 (I) - T - 4 - T - 7 - Day 13 - D 12 - D 11 - D 10 - Return (9) - D 4 - D 3 - D 2 - Carborundum
Championship : The First 6 Days - The Final - Places & Prizes
Picture Series : Winners - Ted Forest - $5000 Holdem - John Hennigan - 2 to 7 Draw - A-Z Player List - The Final
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