2012 WSOP Follies and Feats
There seem to be a record number of complaints and tales of incompetency being reported at the 2012 WSOP. It seems poker players are either more boisterous than usual in airing their grievances or that Caesars Entertainment, in their ninth year running the WSOP, have regressed to new levels of mismanagement.
One thing's for certain, it's been an exciting WSOP from an online railbird's standpoint.
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Between controversies gone viral, eloquent rants from emerging players, and eye-opening scandals there have been a number of players putting up great performances as millions of dollars change hands each day at Rio in Las Vegas.
Here are a few follies, feats and other storylines from the 2012 WSOP worth taking note of:
$50,000 Stolen in Broad Daylight
Poker pro Ray Henson recently reported on Twitter a highly disconcerting observation. Henson stated that he was playing in a live cash game at the WSOP and that, "some guy walks up to a seat that a player is away from and says 'my friend wants me to cash him out' and makes off with like 50k! Obv by the time the guy comes back to table the culprit was long gone!"
Rio security is in the process of taking reports from players who witnessed the robbery and checking security cameras to help identify the assailant. Henson jokingly suggested that maybe he was going to register for the Player's Championship which has a $50,000 buy-in.
This incident illustrates how vulnerable players and their money are at the WSOP. For someone to be able to effortlessly walk away with $50,000 of someone else's money should concern everyone.
The assailant in this incident was able to pick up and walk away with $50,000 without the dealer or any of the other players at the table doing or saying anything to stop him. If you've been to the Rio, it's not terribly surprising. We've commented in the past about how susceptible players are to theft on the property.
While one's reaction in this situation might be to blame the player for leaving his money on the table, it must be remembered that cash games have always permitted this option. It keeps action running smoothly when players are able to leave the table to run to the bathroom or grab a quick meal without having to risk losing their seat or hassle with converting their chips to cash only to convert them right back an hour later.
It's the job of the dealers, floor staff, and to a certain extent, the other players at the table to ensure a player's money is safe when he takes a brief absence from a game. Several people dropped the ball on this incident including, perhaps, Henson who judging from his tweet appeared to have witnessed the incident take place first-hand. (However, to be fair it could also be the case that he was reporting about the incident after having learned of it happening a few tables away).
William Reynolds Rant Goes Viral
2010 PCA High Roller Event Champion William Reynolds recently sat down with QuadJacks at the WSOP and went on an eloquent and sharp rant covering a number of topics.
Reynolds fiercely criticized Epic Poker League founder Annie Duke whose failed company currently owes an outstanding $1.4 million in guaranteed prize pools to the poker community. As he pointed out, the largest score of Duke's poker career came from winning a freeroll (2004 WSOP Tournament of Champions) and now she has made a guarantee for a freeroll but failed to deliver.
Phil Ivey also met the wrath of Reynolds who referred to him as a "baby back bitch" in expressing how he pretended to be a hero to the poker world by sitting out the 2011 WSOP and has since decided to reinsert himself back into the poker picture while Full Tilt's repayment woes remain unresolved.
Also having their cage rattled by Reynolds was poker pro Carter Phillips who recently won his second career WSOP bracelet in Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em. Phillips' poker achievements have a cloud hanging over them as he once disappeared from the poker community entirely in order to duck a $25,000 sum he agreed to pay his former backer, Tom Marchese, in order to exit the backing deal.
Reynolds also expressed collective disappointment at the whole poker world for its failure in holding other players accountable for misdeeds.
22 Year Old Ukrainian Wins Second Bracelet
Partially because of all of the other noise at the WSOP, and partially because his name is Okeksii Kovalchuk, Okeksii Kovalchuk's achievement for having won his second WSOP bracelet in as many years of being eligible to play at the series has gone largely unnoticed.
The 22 year old Ukrainian won Event #42: $2,500 Omaha Hi Lo/Stud Hi Lo for $228,000. Last year, Kovalchuk won a $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em Six Handed event worth nearly $700,000.
He stayed busy during the year winning an Italian Poker Tour event and finishing 3rd in the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event for a combined $730,000 in winnings. Clearly, this kid can play.
Incidentally, ESPN commentator Norman Chad narrowly missed what would have been the story of the series this year by finishing 6th in Event #42.
Phil Ivey's 5 Final Tables in 12 Days
Phil Ivey is doing what he can to make the poker world feel like there should be an asterisk next to 2011 WSOP results. After sitting out all of last year, he has returned with a vengeance this year reaching five final tables in 12 days.
While he has appeared to cool off for a moment, all eyes will be on Ivey in the $1,000,000 buy-in 'Big One for One Drop' which begins July 1st.
Complaints About Dealers
A recurring complaint voiced at the 2012 WSOP has been in connection to the quality of the dealers. If the numerous complaints are an indicator that the dealers could stand to improve on average, there is only one entity to blame here: Caesars Entertainment.
With poker dealers, you get what you pay for. Many players are reporting dealers struggling with mixed games or anything that isn't hold'em. This is largely because the WSOP recruits dealers from casinos where only hold'em is played and offers little to nothing in the way of comprehensive training for other poker variants.
It must be remembered that Caesars is a corporation concerned primarily with its bottom line. Their inclination is to skimp by with the minimum offerings and pocket as much player rake as possible. Part of WSOP Tournament Director Jack Eiffel's job is managing player expectations. He needs to put on a show that the WSOP is the premier tournament series in the world while simultaneously dealing with budget constraints that leave much to be desired in terms of player treatment. It's not an easy job.
An important thing for any player to understand regarding dealer quality at the WSOP is that it's not the dealers' fault. They are all, for the most part, probably doing the best job they can. Any shortcomings on their part fall on the shoulders of Caesars Entertainment who could have paid dealers for an extra couple of weeks of training in different variants prior to the start of the WSOP.
Caesars, however, is not inclined to invest in creating the best WSOP experience for players possible. They assess, perhaps accurately, that whether they create a five-star experience for players or throw together a mediocre operation that it won't make much of an impact on player attendance. It is unfortunate that one has a hard time formulating an argument with which to blame this approach.