I’m starting to get the feeling that either a) that should be the name of this blog or b) every installment I write up until July 14th should start that way.
Despite my not being full-time on any one gig and having some freedom to enjoy for the first time in a few years, I seem to always be at the Rio and doing five things at once.
For the second day in a row, it was a fairly news-less day due to a remarkably well-run WSOP ship thus far, but I was following a couple of stories closely, namely the absolutely superb final table taking shape in event #1 – $10,000 pot limit world championship and the absolute dismantling of the record for most players in a live non-WSOP main event.
As I write this, it’s 4:48 and the final ten players in the pot-limit are still going. The final nine will be at ESPN’s televised final table, and that means big bucks for everyone but the last man to go.
Prospective player agents have been looming for hours and a rep of one site told me they’d have two players at the final table regardless of who makes it, but with chip leader Andy Bloch firmly entrenched at FTP, second-running Mike Sexton a PartyPoker man and Mike Sowers, Chris Bell and Nenad Medic all having their own deals, you have to think there’s going to be some competition for those last few names.
The big sponsorship prizes left on the board are Phil Laak, Kathy Liebert and Patrik Antonius…
Oh man; 4:56AM and John Kabbaj was just eliminated.
Back to that thought, Phil Laak is a likable and familiar figure, though ‘zany’ and ‘player rep’ aren’t always synonymous in the eyes of industry types.
Kathy Liebert is a likable lady to talk to, but she’s burned through two sponsorships and some bridges. The real prize here is Antonius, the supermodel-genius with poker balls the size of watermelons. Stars and FTP must be salivating. There’s another game of poker going on here.
Quick story about Patrik; you know those posters on his website with the nickname ‘The Black Lotus’? Last year in the press room, I was hanging out with then-Bluff magazine staffers Chris Vaughn and Matt Brown and then-PokerNews.com video producer Justin Shronk when the subject of my having played on the professional Magic: the Gathering tour back in the day came up. Yeah, I’m a nerd. Go to hell.
Anyways, the three stooges got around to mocking me a little bit and googling at the same time and discovered that the most valuable card in the game was called the Black Lotus.
I think it was Shronk who asked “Is the Black Lotus like the Patrik Antonius of Magic?” They thought the question was so hilarious that they agreed to all start referring to Patrik as the Black Lotus in their assorted coverage. Patrik Antonius, this chiseled god who makes women swoon, who is so cool that internet fan boys profess homosexual love for him despite heterosexual leanings, named himself after a Magic card.
That’s the kind of stupid shit that goes on in the media room.
The second story I was watching was the size of event #2, $1,500 no-limit hold’em. Divided into two days, this thing is going to max out at –get this—4,098. The old record for live non-main event tournaments was 3,151, set a year ago. How often does a record in any established competition get bettered by 25%? TV poker may not be in the best shape at the moment, but tournament poker is better than ever.