Early Notes and Observations from the WSOP
The WSOP has been underway for a little over one week and already there's been quite a few occurrences and changes to note. Let's get to it!
Pavilion Room is Huge!
If you've visited the WSOP in year's past, you know there's the Amazon Room which is the huge room where most of the WSOP action takes place. You would also know that there are a handful of other smaller rooms where satellites, cash games, and WSOP spillover action is held. Well, this year is quite a bit different. All of the poker action at the Rio has been condensed into two rooms: the Amazom Room as per usual and the Pavilion Room (which previously housed the Gaming and Life Expo). What makes the WSOP especially jaw-dropping this year is that the Pavilion Room is actually larger than the Amazon Room! So now all of the poker action is located in just two rooms and the new room (Pavilion) is actually larger than the "main" room (Amazon). It's quite an impressive sight to see.
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Player Banned for Life
In Event #3, a $1,000 no-limit hold'em tournament, one player figured out a pretty easy way to get banned from the WSOP for life. After the tournament went on a break, two players were still contesting a pot at one table. While the winning player was reaching out to rake in the pot, he helped himself to a few of his neighbors chips. The dealer noticed the man's attempt and alerted tournament officials who granted him a lifetime ban from the WSOP.
Mizrachi Brothers Make $50k Final Table
ESPN was not lucky enough to have an Ivey or Hellmuth or Brunson make the final table of the $50k Player's Championship, but they did get a couple of Mizrachis. Michael and Robert Mizrachi turned in the best collective finish by two siblings in a single WSOP event. The former won the whole thing to add a WSOP bracelet to his already impressive career resume. Older brother Robert was ousted by Michael in 5th place which should make for a pretty unique hand of televised poker.
Field Sizes are Down
Many predicted that around 150-225 players would come together for the $50k Player's Championship, so when just 116 players coughed up the huge buy-in, it made many in the poker world wonder if this WSOP would be meager in terms of participation. So far, those concerns seem to be valid. Field sizes have been generally smaller than they were last year in the first handful of events. This could be a case of a global recession starting to catch up to the poker economy. It is also likely that the declining value of the Euro has made the WSOP too pricey for some European players. However, not all events have experienced a dropoff in participation; the $5k Shootout in particular saw its numbers rise to 358 from 280. In general, it seems that participation in tournaments of less-popular variants is holding steady or increasing while participation in NLHE tournaments is declining.
Pollack's Next Step Revealed
When WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack announced last November that he was resigning from his position, it left many wondering what the talented organizer would do next. This week, it was announced that the sharp-dressed former commish will be taking over as the new CEO of the Professional Bull Riding circuit.
Mizrachi and Schmelev Back at It?
At the time this article was written, Vladmir Schmelev, who finished 2nd to Michael Mizrachi in the $50k event, is the chip-leader of the $10k Stud Championship with just 12 players remaining. Mizrachi himself sits 3rd in chips. One can't help but wonder if the $50k wasn't the last time these two will square off heads-up for a bracelet.
Dwan Scrambling for a Bracelet
For the first time, poker fans have noticed that online cash game superstar Tom "durrr" Dwan is participating extensively in the WSOP. Historically, Dwan has played only a couple of WSOP events while spending most of his efforts on cash games. This year, apparently because of some huge side-bets he's made on himself to win a bracelet, Dwan is playing every WSOP event he possibly can. Dwan hasn't disclosed exactly how much he stands to win, but he did say that a WSOP bracelet would bring him the most profitable day of his life.