It was an interesting eight hours of Day 2 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship. There were still players buying into the event as late as Level 8, which was about halfway through the day. Players like Phil Hellmuth, Freddy Deeb, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, and Howard Lederer all showed up late to the party. Overall, we saw some disappointing eliminations from the event, but came away with several great stories to share.
There seemed to be two schools of thought when it came to the liberal buy-in policy of the WPT Championship. The first was that a player would show up as soon as possible, register right away, and starting playing as soon as the tournament began on Day 1. This way, players could play mega-deep at 500 big blinds and take their time. The second idea was that you should register at the very last second and then jump in with 125 big blinds on Day 2.
A big name eliminated yesterday that was cause for disappointment was Team PokerStars Pro front man Daniel Negreanu. He was seated at a table with Full Tilt Poker pro Phil Ivey and the two kept up a conversation through their entire stay. It was hard to ignore Negreanu’s distinct voice rising above the rest at the Fontana Lounge, as he was much chattier in this event than he was at the NAPT Venetian Main Event.
When we caught up to Negreanu during a break, he looked fatigued and a little frustrated at how the tournament had gone. Just before we were going to get an interview from him outside, the Bellagio’s water show blasted the “Steak – It’s What’s For Dinner” theme. So long to filming that interview. Sadly, Negreanu busted just after the break and took off in search of a cash game.
One player we managed to catch up with was Tom “durrrr” Dwan. He was confident and definitely “one of the boys,” as he was organizing dinner after he was busted at the hands of Faraz “The-Toilet” Jaka. For those of you who have never met Dwan in person, he comes across as being very good for the game. He’s young, comfortable in front of a camera, and one of the most skilled poker players in the world. When I asked him what his approach was to handling talented newcomers to high-stakes action online, he simply said, “I wait for them to post,” meaning he doesn’t care what they do; he’s going to dictate the action. Impressive.
Hellmuth didn’t make a huge entrance, but arrived late and registered in the last possible moments. He was seated and started chatting, sporting new glasses and appearing in happy spirits. It’s way too early to say that he’s found a new Zen center, but he seemed to be a lot happier than the last time we saw him, which was during the 2009 WSOP Main Event. He remains alive heading into Day 3.
We also got a quick interview with LeRon Washington, who only a few months ago was playing in a ClubWPT freeroll. From there, he won an entry into the WPT Celebrity Invitational and bested the entire field of celebrities and decorated pros for the win. As part of that win, Washington won a free entry into the $25,000 WPT Championship. Living the everyman’s dream, he hasn’t let any of this success go to his head. Unfortunately for Washington, David “Devilfish” Ulliott cracked his pocket aces and he hit the rail.
Day 3 begins with more than 100 players left in the field and we’ll be there all day continuing to capture interviews and updates. Stay tuned for more live from the Bellagio!