(SPOILER ALERT!!! If you don’t want to know what happened in the WSOP Main Event, don’t read on. Also, sorry for the length, but that’s what happens when you keep a running diary from 4:30pm to 6:50am)
Well, a few of my friends from home talked me into firing off the final table for twenty bucks. Sure, it is going to be grueling; sure, it’s going to hurt, but it must be done. I’ll try to make as many unoriginal poker jokes as possible along the way.
4:25pm- We have our first elimination of the night. Jerry Yang just took out Philip Hilm (the chip-leader before the final table started—“from penthouse to outhouse” a la Olof Thorson). It was a shocking play to move in after the turn with a pair and a flush draw. Yang called with his top pair-top kick AK. No river babe for Hilm, and the tourney is moving a grueling pace. Sixteen hands played in one hour and seven minutes. Jesus Christ.
(Note: Johnny Chan is tableside with Phil Gordon and the other announcer (I don’t know his name), talking about Asians and the game of poker. Entertaining)
4:43pm- Hevad Khan is annoying as hell. Think Mattias Anderson, but after every single pot rake. Not as loud, though.
4:57pm- Lots of action—and we can’t figure out who made the worse play here. Lee Watkinson pushed his 9.7 million into a 1.2 million dollar pot with A7off. Yang asked for a chip count and thought about it for about 10-15 minutes… and he called with A9off!!! (he had 48 mill at the time) It’s shocking, it’s appalling, it’s the World Series of Poker Main Event. Yang was chanting something absurd after the low, unhelpful flop, “With the money I make I will glorify the name. With the money I will make I will glorify your name, Lord.” What the hell are you talking about, Jerry? First he tells Christ he is going to glorify his name, but then mentions he needs the money to do so. I don’t know how much longer this blog can go on, because Watkinson just got eliminated in 8th. Who made the worse play? Watkinson pushing his A7 into a loose cannon with blinds at 120k-240k, or Yang calling down a guy that you would think is only going in with the best with A9.
The chip counts: Yang 55, Lam 20.5,
5:20pm- A Chris ‘Jesus’
5:28pm- After a flop of 4-4-6, Yang spikes that turn 8. Childs needs a King or any club to rake the pot… and whiff. Terrifying play by Yang, but it pays off. (Channeling a bad poker cliché) “That’s poker!” This guy refuses to see a flop, and he actually has enough chips to have it his way, bullying everyone around and hitting beats. He is sitting with 62M right now, and second place is Tuan Lam with 20M.
5:40pm- (Special Guest Coop entry on the diary) We're being shown the replay of Johnny Chans first title…. Little do people know Johnny Chan needed a river ace or 9 to win this title he spiked the river and the rest is history. They must have shown this in appreciation of Jerry Yangs fabulous outdraws thus far.
6:02pm- I’m back from the pizza run-- hope you enjoyed the Coop appearance, and one of the guys had to stop at the ATM. The old guy in front of us in line took 7 to 8 minutes at the thing. How many transactions must have went down? 10? 20? It was absurd. Anyway, Yang looks to be donking—I’ll keep you posted.
6:13pm- Khan is flipping out about something—who the hell knows what. “Please send a Pepcid-AC out there” says the guy that’s announcing with Phil Gordon. Good one.
6:22pm- Watkinson is on with Gordon and the other guy. Paraphrased: "There's no way I could live with myself if I got blinded down. I felt like I had to play to win. I feel like there was a good chance he would call me with a worse hand." Whatever man. Not that much money invested and you push with A7. Shocking.
6:28pm- A couple of things:
-These guys I'm watching it with have played $16 turbo tournaments on Pokerstars with Khan before. Apparently, Stars thought he was a bot, so they kicked him off. He sent them a video of him playing 29 tournaments at one time all by himself, so they let him back on. Impressive.
-Watkinson is rambling about saving chimpanzees. I guess it's nice of him and there's a lot of time to kill on this broadcast, but I didn't expect to be let into the world of chimps when I fired off twenty bigs for this thing.
6:51pm- Alex Kravchenko just pushed his 2.7M, and Khan pushes back over him for a total of 9.4M. Kravchenko flips over KJ; Khan is sitting with 33. Kravchenko spikes his K on the flop and doubles. Lee Childs is on with Gordon and company, and he is hinting around that he isn't too fond of Khan. Gordon is trying to get him to say something bad about him, but Childs just said that his act grows a little old. No shit.
7:01pm- Gordon and company set an over/under regarding Phil Hellmuth's appearance tableside with them. They set the line at 45 seconds for "how long it takes him to mention his 11 WSOP bracelets." Gordon took the under for 100 bucks.
7:05pm- They have a clock ticking in the bottom right of the 45 seconds. After a couple of moments of awkward silence, Gordon's partner (I've gotta figure out this guy's name soon) did himself in, asking Hellmuth how his World Series is going. Hellmuth mentioned his 11 bracelets with about 11 ticks on the clock. Congrats to Phil Gordon on the $100 rake.
7:15pm- Very weird moment just now. Khan re-raised Yang's 1.5M raise to 6M. Yang sat there forever and finally decided to call, and he about flipped his cards over! The dealer had to stop him, telling him that Khan was not all-in. Then, Khan tells Yang that he is all-in blind. Yang quickly calls, and the guys try to turn their cards over again. The dealer makes them wait until afer the flop. It is like these guys are allergic to post-flop play. It is an embarrassment. Anyway, Yang won the pot and Khan is out. (His JJ held up against AQ-- Hellmuth adds, "I hate getting busted with AQ.")
(Note: I just told Daris about that exchange, and heres what he had to say: "Sounds like a really bad home game. They should just put chips and pretzels in the middle of the table.")
The chip counts: Yang 73, Lam 19, Rahme 16,
7:23pm- Hellmuth chimes in, "This thing could last another 12 hours, and thats the great thing about it." Really? Watching these donks play for another 12 hours would be great? What are you talking about Phil. That car crash must have been more damaging than I thought.
7:58pm- Kravchenko pushed in his 4.8M into Yang. This ass hole is calling with any two, right? Yep-- he called him down with J10. You serious, Clark? At best you're at a coin flip if Kravchenko is crazy enough to push with a low pocket pair-- and we're talking about the best player left at the table in Kravchenko. He flips over his A10 and it miraculously holds up.
8:10pm- Rahme makes a raise and
8:26pm- The chip counts: Yang 70, Rahme 30, Lam 18, Kravchenko 9.6
It seems like Yang is running away with this thing, but he is simply not that good. A loose cannon like him could definitely piss this thing away-- hell, if Rahme doubles up on him he is suddenly in control, not to mention a much better player.
8:45pm- They just showed Scotty Nguyen's triumphant victory in the 1998 WSOP Main Event. "If you call it's gonna be all over baby" goes down with some of the great poker quotes of all-time. I guess it's not that long of a list though. Kevin McBride calls the 88998 board, saying "I call-- I play the board" like the biggest nerd in the history of poker-- hilarious. Scotty had the 9, and the tourney was his. Too bad he pissed away all of his chips with 11 remaining this year, or we might actually be entertained right now by something besides shameless donking.
8:56pm- Rahme's supporters are being interviewed. Two of them have South African flags on their backs like capes, and his wife is surprisingly young. Looks like old Ray is robbin that cradle. Nice work.
9:14pm- Kravchenko moves it in with 33 and the Donk Yang calls him down with KQ. The flop yielded a 3. Thank God we don't have to sweat that one out. Gordon is ripping Yang for the call, and rightfully so. But then again, if you're Yang and you're getting a coin flip for someone's money that is for sure better than you, you really can't complain. The new chip counts: Yang 65, Rahme 27, Kravchenko 18, Lam 15.
9:20pm- Rahme, Kravchenko, and Yang are occupying seats 1 through 3; and it looks like Lam is at seat 5 or 6. If Lam gets out next, it's gonna get a little awkward on the left side of the table. Will they let them move around? Maybe they're all superstitous? Yang might end up on Rahme's lap by the end of this thing. One of the more interesting developments at the final table.
(Note: Jamie Gold has been tableside with Gordon and the other guy. It's been, in a word, grueling.)
9:37pm- This sucks. There is actual play going on right now, post-flop and everything. Now I have to figure out what happened. The pot is at 7 mill after Rahme's river bet of 2.5m into Kravchenko. The board reads 5d2d8s4cJd. Kravchenko lays it after playing with his chips for quite some time. Actually, all of these guys are havin a little day with the chips. Sometimes I think ESPN adds some sound effects to the edited stuff, but it would be ridiculous if they did it for this. It sounds like a really long drumo solo played with only cymbals. The chip counts: Yang 67, Rahme 31, Lam 15, Kravchenko 12.
9:48pm- Lam gets check-raised by Yang on a flop of A45 all clubs. Yang takes it down. Khan joins Gordon and company, adding "I think this guy has garbage every time."
Khan: I'm a tellbox, I'm an online player.
Other guy: A tellbox! I love that! (laughs, slaps the table and looks to Gordon for approval)
(Note: Khan says that he plays robotic poker on Stars. Ironic, considering both that he sounds like a robot when he talks and the accusations against him mentioned above).
9:52pm- Great read by Khan tableside. He said whenever old man Rahme takes his glasses off and puts them back on, he gets the hell out of there. Kravchenko raised preflop, Rahme called; then Rahme check-raised his ass all in. Kravchenko folded.
Speaking of Khan again, Plott (one of the guys watching it here with me) just informed me that he transferred Khan a lucky penny on stars and sent Stars an e-mail explaining himself. Stars e-mailed Plott back, informing him that they forwarded it on over to Khan. Classy.
9:55pm- And we're at the dinner break. The chip counts: Yang 71, Rahme 33, Kravchenko 11, Lam 11.
11:00pm- Off-topic at the dinner break-- Ryan Garko just took Bob Jenks yard for a 2-run homer, tying the Indians-Sox game up at 5 a piece in the bottom of the ninth. Sorry, BigLots.
11:28pm- Indians update. Garko gets the game-winning single after a leadoff double by Jason Michaels in the bottom of the 11th. I'm sure you all earnestly care.
11:33pm- This thing should be coming back on soon-- they're easing the pain of the dinner break with the Stu Ungar movie. Thanks, ESPN PPV. As far as the tourney goes, I look for old man Rahme to come back from the dinner break looking to take a nap at the table and for Yang to be hyped up even more on coffee, donking all of his chips off to Kravchenko in the process. On a serious note, a few of us over here agree that the break should help Lam the most; you could just tell he was getting the coldest cards for the first hours of the final table. Hopefully he can make a little run. My heart is with Rahme though.
11:38pm- We're back, and they just presented some fat guy with the player of the year at the World Series. Nice job, Tom Schneider.
11:48pm- For Lam's tournament life, he pushes all in on a rainbow flop of 4J10. He holds KQ and Yang, of course, calls him down with A10. About a coin flip from here (two shots at a 13-outer). Turn: 4 (whiff). River: Q!!! Thank God. Lam is sitting pretty with 23m in chips now. The counts: Yang 60, Rahme 33, Lam 23, Kravchenko 11.
(Note: Coop just looked it up; Gordon actually got 4th in 2001. It was still a funny joke, though.)
12:44am- Kravchenko just re-raised Yang all in, and Yang, of course, called. Kravchenko flips over his KK and Yang is looking for another donk with his A10. Seriously, it's getting embarrassing. Somehow, Kravchenko holds on to double to 27.6m.
The chip counts: Yang 47.725, Rahme 30.45, Kravchenko 27.6, Lam 21.7. Now it's getting good. (I'll try to keep the posts at a minimum-- the length is getting out of hand.)
1:03am- Gordon just mentioned that the WSOP introduced a new playing card for the preliminary events at the WS this year. Apparently, it didn't go well over with the players and they switched back to the old ones. It really makes me think that David Stern is an advisor for the WSOP commish. You can't make this stuff up.
1:18am- Matusow and the Shiek join the booth. Shiek gives Matusow 3-1 on Kravchenko to win it; Shiek gets everyone else for $10 thousand. Not a big deal. (Note: Matusow is feelin pretty good right now, chirpin’ about his 2nd place showing at the Bellagio WPT Main Event.)
1:32am- Gordon just mentioned that Yang is the only US based player remaining. Apparently he’s from
2:08am- Yang raises to 2.5, Lam comes over the top all-in for 11.5 and Rahme wakes up from his slumber, pushing it all-in for 28.7 big ones! Yang ponders and folds. Lam flips over A5hearts and Rahme shows his sluts (QQ). A ho-hum beat rears its ugly head when the flop comes Ace high, no queen. The turn is a brick and the river rubs salt in the wound, dealing out another Ace (we call it Stars-rubbeth around these parts). You can't really blame Lam for the play-- you can't assume that Rahme is going to get involved. He was probably thinking he was going to get a call from Yang with King-deuce or something shitty like that. The chip counts: Yang 52, Kravchenko 32, Lam 26, Rahme 17.
2:33am- Brate, half asleep for obvious reasons, chimes in with a good quote. “I just wanna give Rahme some warm milk and take him to bed with me.” It’s true. Rahme looks like he’s ready to hit the hay. Get that guy in his pajamas and call it a night.
3:03am- It’s been grueling and nothing has really happened—chip counts all about the same. It’s been 11 hours and 41 minutes of play. The record for a final table is 14 hours in 2005. I guess I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into.
3:11am- Fireworks. Rahme moves all in pre-flop for 17 mill (which makes the pot 25.725m). Shockingly, Yang makes the call and we’ve got a 36.6m dollar pot on our hands. Rahme flips over AQ and Yang is actually in the lead with QQ. Are you kidding me? Oh my! Flop Ace! Ironically enough, the king donk gets donked. The old man just showed a little fire with a fist pump, too. Maybe he’s getting a second wind. Coop chimes in, “When there’s an A, there’s a way.” How true. The chip counts: Yang 41, Rahme 36, Lam 29, Kravchenko 20.
3:50am- Coop reiterates my point from earlier—these guys are allergic to flops. It’s actually starting to hurt me physically.
3:55am- Yang comes over the top of Krav with pocket eights; Krav calls him quickly with AK-off. The pot is 40m with Krav’s tourney on the line. Yang spikes an 8 to put an end to Kravchenko’s tourney run. Alex Kravchenko is drawing dead going into the river, but he played a great tourney from what I’ve seen (the four of us all agree that Kravchenko was the best player remaining in the tourney). Alex takes homes $1.85 million for his efforts. The chip counts: Yang 67, Rahme 36, Lam 24.
4:14am- It’s another twenty minute break, and they’re showing us highlights of a Bluff Magazine Party. Probably the biggest meatfest any of us have ever laid eyes on. Brate painted a little picture for us: “Shana Hiatt is sitting in the corner, getting creeped on mercilessly by every guy there. Raymer and Moneymaker flash their bracelets looking for some play and Scotty spits some game but no one really knows what he’s talking about.” Sounds about right to me.
4:26am- Getting back from the break, I’ve been dwelling on the fact that Yang really hasn’t played all that bad the past few hours. He has been stealing a lot of pots, which funds his donk ways—and when you’re Yang, you gotta think that’s your best chance of winning. Steal a bunch of small pots, try to deliver some beats, and see what happens. Hell, you might walk out of the
4:31am- Uh oh, we’re going to a flop with a pot worth 17 mill. And Yang just called a raise! After a flop of J-8-A, two hearts, Rahme checks and Yang churns out a 10m bet. Rahme pushes (check-raise) the rest of his in (fumbling the chips, mind you—he looks excited) and Yang calls the extra 18m, getting nearly 3 to 1 on his money. Yang flips over A5, beating Rahme’s KK for the time being. Turn brick, river brick. I really thought the sandbaggin’ son of a bitch Rahme had a set or something big. Eh, $3 million isn’t a bad week. Congrats. The chip counts: Jerry Yang with 104 million chips heads up with Tuan Lam at 23 million.
(Note: it’s one thing to buy a bunch of small pots to fund opportunities to take out some smaller stacks, but he really took it to another level with this one. He put about 8 million into that pot pre-flop with A5—and he called the raise, its not like he was trying to steal again.)
5:13am- Lam takes the first pot heads up (a pot of about 7 million), looking up Yang with a pair of nines after Yang fired a 1.5m bet on the river. Nice call by Lam and maybe this will get interesting. Don’t worry; I won’t give you every grueling hand.
5:26am- I think I dozed off for a second there-- Plott woke me up, though. This is the first time that Lam has really been shown a lot on the coverage and it looks like he’s about to go skiing with the ridiculous glasses he has on. Brate and I agree that we almost hope we fall asleep before Yang is busting out his fake praises to the Lord when those money signs are taking over his eyeballs. What an ass hole.5:44am- Lam bets some chips away on the turn followed by an all-in push by Yang. The chip count isn’t looking good for Lam—about 114m to 12m.
5:54am- They actually sent us to a 20 minute break. This is getting out of hand. It's light outside! I'm complaining about this to Coop and he, beer in hand, says "What did you really expect? It's like signing up for the Army and seeing bullets whizzing by asking yourself 'what the fuck?'"
6:14am- We've got an all-in. Lam has 3-4 diamonds, Yang is sitting with A-9 offsuit. Flop K-8-4 and Lam takes the lead. Turn nothin... River King and Lam doubles to 18.3m.
6:21am- Take a look at Andrew Feldman's take on Yang before the day started. Comical stuff.
(Note on that: I ripped Yang's ass earlier for praising Christ and asking for money. But at least 10% of his winnings are going to some sort of charity. Good for him.)
6:30am- Lam pushes over top of Yang pre-flop raise of 3.5m all-in. Phil Gordon really let us in on the inside stuff just now, saying "This is a really big hand." Thanks, Phil. We gotta give these guys a break though-- they have been talking since 3:00pm. Anyway, Yang folds and Lam is up to 23.9m.
6:46am- Lam pushes over top of Yang again after a preflop Yang raise. Lam has AQ diamonds, Yang has 8-8. Flop Q! Lam is immortal. I might have to stay up longer. Brate wakes up after Plott's celebration. Turn 7, opening up another out for Yang-- he needs a 6 or 8.
RIVER SIX!!! HAHAHAHA
I can't forget to mention this-- Lam was waving his Canadian flag after the flop. Talk about the kiss of death.
That's all folks. Congratulations? to Jerry Yang. Good fucking night.