| World Series Of Poker
2005 Editor's Reports
June 2, 2005 July 15, 2005
T plus 1 - Blast off
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 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.
qualifyers were out the door as if they had never previously metamorphosised
themselves into physical beings before.
Tournament 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.
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
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
|Next days report Day 1A