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World Series Of Poker
 Editor's Reports
June 2, 2005 – July 15, 2005

The Editor in
Las Vegas
T plus 1 - Blast off
7th July 2005

The World Championship event began today in the convention center, Rio Suites Hotel, Las Vegas. Around 5660 (to be finalised later) have entered the tournament and the field has been split into 3, all playing as they will their first days play on consecutive days 7th, 8th and 9th July. The event cost $10000 to enter and the prize fund is in the region of $56 million, first prize around the $8 million mark.
The Rio Suits Hotel sign

The first tranche of the 5660 players,comprising nearly 200 tables with 10 players to a table, saw the cards begin to fly at 11:00 a.m. on thursday morning in an unbelievably packed playing hall with every roped-off walkway full to capacity with spectators. They, as I, were wondering how such a leviathon as this could possibly manage to distil itself down to one person, one who could call themselves World Champion, by the 15th July.

The plan at the beginning of the day was to reduce the field to 66 tables or less after playing at least seven rounds (a round denotes a period of time at a set limit of antes and blinds) of 100 minutes duration, 10 minute breaks and one hour long dinner break. If this was to be the case then it would be close to 2 a.m. friday before the last card would be dealt. Well it was hard gruelling stuff, particularly as the air conditioning seemed unable to cope with 2500 people in one room with an outside temperature of 105 degrees fahrenheit, in the shade. Cocktail waitresses trying to supply the minions with enough water to stay alive vied with camera men from ESPN and paparazzi from rags like the New York Times. It was a half decent rugby scrum in sticky humid conditions just ripe enough to nail the unsuspecting newcomer to the World Series. And indeed it did.

Internet qualifyers were out the door as if they had never previously metamorphosised themselves into physical beings before. Stephen HendryTournament director Ken Lambert quiped, "the raise button is on the right hand side of your chair". One of the early fallers was Stephen Hendry, 5 times world snooker champion. He at least was used to playing on green felt but somehow the cards he had weren't as controllable as his balls. He left the room an hour an one half into the proceedings. As did I.

On my return later in the evening there were still more than one hundred tables, the reducing count concentrating the spectators into a thicker throng as they began to recognise players they had seen on TV. Greg Raymer, defending champion, was unlucky enough to be over in one corner and thus was surrounded by admirers and camera crews. His pain was relieved after a few hours as the table broke up and he found himself on the poker table high on stage, one prepared for the dedicated camera crews to work on. There he stayed all day and made into the next round. I left again for a drink on the roof (below).

Back in the hall at 1:45 a.m. and the end of the seventh round. There were 68 tables left playing and they were determioned to get down to just 65. All the players in the room could see the event progress on a giant screen, twenty foot square, illuminated by projector with the ever decreasing table count. This had the effect of having all the low stack people hanging on for dear life just so they could say they made it into day two, as was the case with Anthony Holden (of Big Deal fame) who was back to the original 10000 chips he started with.

Shortly after 2 a.m. there were 65 tables and 650 people left from the first section of people to complete Day One. More than 15 hours of poker had passed with more than one person being knocked out every minute! The torture was over. Until tomorrow.

A quick break from the punishing atmosphere of the tournament room meant a rag-bag bunch of journalists walking the half mile journey to the other side of the casino to the foot of the Rio tower. Up fifty floors in a lift and you find yourself at the Voodoo Cafe. Walk up one flight and you are in the Bar with an open air balcony from which you can gaze romantically at vista of Las Vegas.

At about eighty degrees it was perfect. Maybe $9 for a Margarita is steep but where I come from that would be average. You can lean on the rail for a long time without tiring and take in the fresh air. Behind you there will be people dancing and doing some other stuff, this is Vegas after all. It makes for a worthy atmosphere to investigate. Take some money with you.

A warning though. It will cost you $20 to get in.

Pictures from today T plus 1.

Next days report  Day 1A results
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Ed's Reports
T-7 T-6
T-5 T-4
T-3 T-2
T-1 Day 1A
Day 1B Day 1C
Day 2 Day 3
Day 4 Day 5
Day 6 Final
T-7 T-6
T-5i T-5ii
T-4 T-3
T-2 T-1
Day 1A Day 1B
Day 1C Day 2
Day 3 Day 4
Day 5 Day 6
#11 #12 #13
#14 #15 #16
#17 #18 #19
#20 #21 #22
#23 #24 #25
#26 #27 #28
#29 #30 #31
#32 #33 #34
#35 #36 #37