Let’s take a look at the top five storylines developing now that the dinner break (historically a big milestone) in the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table is over.
No Amateurs Allowed!
Soi Nguyen predictably hit the rail first here at the Main Event. Many thought it would be Jason Senti, but as I accurately predicted, Nguyen didn’t do much and lost a flip for his tournament life. Although we can’t see any mistakes by the amateur, we didn’t really see much done right. There will be no Chris Moneymaker story this year. We might be seeing another new era in the history of the WSOP where the online pro reigns supreme.
Grinder – Chip Leader
Some people thought that Michael Mizrachi would either bust out quickly or chip up dramatically because he’s definitely in it to win it. Well, those people are right, as Mizrachi has managed to jump up to 53 million for the lead at the dinner break. Can Mizrachi do this year what Phil Ivey couldn’t last year? If Mizrachi manages to win the Main Event, we might start talking about his Poker Hall of Fame credentials after a “start to finish” bracelet run in 2010. His kryptonite so far has been Filippo Candio, who has bluffed Mizrachi out of a few big pots.
We’re in it for the Long Haul
Blinds started at 400,000/800,000 after the dinner break and our short stack was John Dolan at 20.5 million. Basically, nobody is really on the immediate hot seat to play push-fold, so it’d take a monumental disaster or a sick cooler to see an elimination in the next couple of hours. Although we are seeing plenty of late position 3betting from Joseph Cheong and aggressive blind play from Jonathan Duhamel, none of the players want their night to end. ESPN’s Bernard Lee predicted that we’d be out of here by 1:00am, which at this point seems like wishful thinking. We might be in for a longer night than last year’s 20-hour grind-a-thon.
Quite the Spectacle
Nobody will forget the beginning to this year’s Main Event, which saw more excitement than we’ve ever seen before. As I commented around the press box, “I came to a WWE Royal Rumble and a poker game broke out.” Each player was introduced to their own theme music, escorted by a gorgeous ring girl. Bruce Buffer announced, “It’s Time” (which by the way is a pretty lame trademark saying) and suddenly small-scale pyrotechnics blew the roof off of the Penn and Teller Theater. The house is sold out with all 1,400 seats taken and a huge line outside to get in to see the action. Maybe someone should start selling seats or get this thing in a bigger theater!
Great Hands for Television
There have been a few doozies played out for the cameras that will be among the most talked-about hands for the year. The huge shocker was Matt Jarvis and the roller coaster ride we saw him go through to get eliminated. Jarvis held 9-9 against Mizrachi’s A-Q, with Mizrachi hitting trips on the flop, Jarvis hitting a boat on the turn, and Mizrachi hitting a bigger boat on the river. Someone mentioned to Linda Johnson that they had witness a once-in-a-lifetime hand. Not so, Linda said, as it was nearly the same hand that eliminated Ivey back when Moneymaker won it all. Another amazing hand was when Senti survived with K-7 offsuit against Cheong’s A-9. Both players whiffed the flop and Cheong hit his ace on the turn, giving Senti a flush draw. With a nine-outer, Senti spiked a ten of diamonds for the winning flush to survive. Epic drama: the stuff that makes poker great for television.