#4 Day One
|Jesse May in
As Padraig Parkinson pointed out,
its quite simple. Either you win the World Series before you die, or you
die before you win the World Series. If you die before you win the World
Series, then youve got other things to worry about. So instead you might
as well try and win the World Series before you die. At least thats how
Padraig was figuring it.
Gentleman start your engines, is
nothing. At 1:15 p.m. yesterday Poker Hall of Fame inductee Lyle Berman yelled
out over the din, Shuffle up and deal! to 630 players, 70 dealers,
and as many well wishers and hangers on that could be packed into Binions
Horseshoe Casino, upstairs and down, and the excitement was thick as a royal
flush draw. Because the 2002 World Series Of Poker kicked off yesterday, and
thats what everybody has been waiting for for at least one year and more
likely an entire lifetime. Its the dream, baby.
Simon Trumper says
that on the first day of the World Series, you must have two goals. Goal number
one is to make it to the second day. And goal number two is to double your
chips. Well, over one hundred people achieved those modest goals on the first
day of the World Series of Poker, but as 630 of them were in there trying their
guts out it was a little bit harder than you might think. In the end 357
players survived four levels of Day 1 no limit Holdem agony, and about
half of that number are in what you would call a reasonable shape.
have a look whos gone, and youll see that trying to increase your
stack over eight hours of no limit poker against the toughest competition in
the world is no piece of cake. TJ Cloutier, gone. Daniel Negreanu, out. Doyle
Brunson, finished. Huck Seed, flattened. Losing is no fun, and the important
thing is to take it like a man. Because it happens. Its not so
incredible. Mike Matusow got all his chips in before the flop with pocket aces
against an opponents pocket kings, and when a king spiked the flop,
Matusow found himself riding the rail. Fair enough. Things happen. But did
every single one of the 700 people inside of the tournament area need to know
about it? Matusow started bellowing at the top of his lungs like a wounded
buffalo. Thirty people were dragged aside to be told of the details on
Matusows stagger out of the tournament area. The horror! The injustice of
it all! Cmon man, its poker! Things happen. Its unfortunate,
but not all that incredible. Now compare that to the exit of Kathy Liebert, one
of the top women players on the planet and someone I had been keeping my eye on
all day . She was playing well, she was focused. And she got all her chips in
on the flop when she had pocket fours and the board read eight, four, deuce,
with two clubs. The pot was nearly 30,000 as the cards were flipped up and her
opponent, a completely spun out gambler in seat one trying to bust himself to
no avail showed the ace-eight, with the ace of clubs. The turn and the river
came club, club, and Kathy Liebert found herself chipless, the victim of an
unlikely back door flush. Now had I not been there watching the hand, its
likely no one would ever know about it. Because Kathy didnt say one word,
she didnt let out one peep of emotion. She merely looked at the hand,
picked up her bag, and walked her way out of the tournament area. Some people
can lose and still show the trappings of a champion.
poker. The best hand doesnt always win. And sometimes, when you start
crumbling, you dont care what you get it in there with. Padraig Parkinson
says hes been knocked out of this tournament ten times, and hes the
only guy in history whos been knocked out every time with the worst hand.
Id hate to be in front, he said, then Id be
shocked if I got sucked out on. Its a much better thing to go in with the
worst of it. Some people are trying to go out and just cant. One
long-haired Hawaiian, friendly enough but lacking a whole lot of no limit
talent, got all his chips in on the flop with an ace-nine against an ace-jack
with the board reading ace-jack-five. When the turn and river came ace-jack,
the dealer had to look six times before realizing that it was a split pot. The
very next hand the Hawaiian gets himself all in on the flop again. This time he
had the ace-jack on a board that read king-jack-five. His opponent held an
ace-king, but the Hawaiian thrived on his deathbed again, because when a jack
came spitting off on the turn, the Hawaiian had pulled off a double through.
Its poker. Some guys cant go out in spite of themselves, and some
people cant stay out of their own way. And someones gonna win two
You gotta love the prospects of Julian Gardner. The
Europeans have been talking about him for years, and I think the world is about
to see that theres a whole load of substance behind the hype. In his
first WSOP two years ago at the age of 21, Julian built his stack up to over
50,000 in the first three hours and didnt even survive day one. Last year
he came to Vegas for too long, and found he had no energy when the Big One
started. But his third time could be a charm. Julian jetted into Las Vegas on
Friday night, got a good drunk, a good nights sleep, and showed up
yesterday five minutes before tournament time with wet hair, sunglasses, and
steady hands. And he showed those boys a bit of what no limit poker is all
about, building his stack up to 64,000 while staying out of trouble. A shot?
Julian Gardner is in there with a loaded gun and deadly aim.
Vaswani. It was six p.m. yesterday and Vaswani was shorter than a stack of
pancakes. His head was down, his shades were on, and I thought I was witnessing
the demise of a Hendon Mobster. Ye of little faith. Ram found another gear.
They moved him to a new table, he cranked into overdrive, and within two hours
had built his stack from 8,000 to the commanding 50,000 he now holds.
Dont look for Ram to be sitting back on Day 2. You can feel his focus.
That other Hendon Mobster doesnt refer to Barny Boatman this time, but
rather his brother Ross, who ended the day with 29,000 in chips and plenty of
time for a wave and a wink.
Surindar Sunar was looking great early in
the day. He had built his chips up to thirty thousand and was in total control
of the table. Chris the Greek, who had the unfortunate position of being down
river from Surindar the entire day, said to me, No wonder theres no
games left in Europe. Surindars busted them all! Unfortunately,
Surindar took three steps back after the dinner break, and crawled into bed
with only about 13,000. Hes got his work cut out for him now, but
theres 273 guys who would give anything just to still be in. Even John
Juanda, nearly dead last with only 3000 in chips, aint going nowhere
without a fight.
Who are the big time Americans still in? Layne Flack
easily has to be considered the tournament favorite right now. Already the
winner of both no limit Holdem preliminary tournaments, Layne looked
nothing except for comfortable yesterday, as he moved and grooved his stack up
to an impressive 47,000. Can anyone beat Flack? Well hes not gonna trip
over his own feet. The aura of the zone is all around him, calm, cool, and a
blue eyed steely stare. Phil Hellmuth is right up there with 46,000, and
hes too good to count anywhere but up front.
Four more levels
today, and 200 more players to likely fall by the wayside. Ill be there
with bells on.