Stories from the WSOP Main Event Final Tables
Although there are two WSOP events running simultaneously today, including the final three tables of the 2006 Main Event, the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino has the feel of a deserted warehouse. There is a throng of spectators surrounding the ESPN televised poker stage, but gone are the lucrative cash game and satellite table players that have been a staple in the Amazon Room since the WSOP began in June. Still, there's a buzz about the place even if there isn't a crowd. Monitors line the entire conference room with pockets of people rushing to the screen whenever it's announced that another Main Event competitor is all-in. By far the fan favorite in this year's final grouping is consummate professional Allen Cunningham, who is looking to add to his already stellar poker reputation by grabbing a fifth gold bracelet and the coveted World Champion title. As on fan in the bleachers put it to his wife, "That's Gary Cullingham.I mean Al, or Allen Cunningham. He's really good."
So far, Day Six is moving day for Cunningham, who started near the middle of the pack early in the day, but has vaulted to second place, close to Jamie Gold's monster stack of $18 million chips. Continuing his big-stack bullying, Gold continues to accumulate chips and is still the leader after days as the front runner.
WSOP officials continue to say that play will continue tonight (Aug. 8) until the final table is set. Because the tournament is ahead of schedule, there will be a day off tomorrow. Events 44 and 45, both $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Tournaments will play to completion on Thursday.
The Main Event final table play will begin at 12 p.m. PST on Thursday. Because of contractual agreements with ESPN and pay-per-view telecasts, WSOP officials are forced to have tomorrow become a day off.
Nadia I was walking down the corridor to the Amazon Room on my way to cover some more final table action when a member of the opposite sex caught my attention. I did the obligatory double take and thought to myself "not bad." Of course it wasn't bad. It was Shannon Elizabeth of American Pie fame. I immediately felt like an idiot for not recognizing one of the most famous faces in the 2006 WSOP. She's still play well in Event #44 by the way, making her way towards her third cash this year.
Battle of the Coolest 2006 WSOP Names ESPN couldn't have scripted it any better. Rob Rose went all in against Leif Force in the "should be in a WWE pay-per-view telecast hand." The affable Rose had A-J versus the Force's A-A and didn't improve. If force wins this thing, how many endorsement deals is he going to get? And speaking of names, are you kidding me with Rhett Butler?
Phil and Barry I don't know what's more interesting to watch at the Event #44 tables, Phil Hellmuth's insistence to leave after every hand for prolonged periods of time, or the look of "Please God will this WSOP End" on Barry Greenstein's face. Both players are doing well as of 4 p.m. PST, but there is still plenty of play left in this event that won't end until tomorrow evening. Of course, when he's actually in his seat, Hellmuth looks pretty determined to grab that 11th bracelet.
The Agony of Poker While searching out things of interest at the less crowded Event #44 tables, I witnessed two bad-beats that would make me quit poker.
1.) The first bad-beat was a gentleman who flopped a set of Tens on an A-K-10 flop, only to watch his opponent flip over A-K and catch the case ace on the river. To make matter's worse, a player at the table told him it was obvious from the start that the opponent had A-K. The distraught player, who was now eliminated, said "no kidding, which is why I bet the set ass."
2.) The second bad-beat was an all-diamond flop that came A-7-3. Three players went all-in on a turn and a river that produced an Ace. Of course, two gentlemen flopped a flush and the winner believed his A-3 two-pair was still good after several re-raises. Nonetheless his miracle full-house was rewarded handsomely.