Roshambo, Raymer, Violette, Lisandro, media bonding…and laundry.
by Amy Calistri
Sunday was like drinking the WSOP from a fire hose. There were three hold'em events in play; the final table of the $2000 no limit event, day 2 and the final table of the $2000 limit hold'em, and day 1 of the $2000 pot limit hold'em. And the side games, which have been a bit spotty, were packed with pros. The room was almost giddy. And maybe the way the day started had something to do with it.
Prior to the NLHE final table kick off, the WSOP Roshambo (rock-paper-scissors) semi-finals and finals were held on the ESPN final table set. I knew I wanted to score an interview from this '"event", and I realized that Rafe Furst was the man for the job. No one does deadpan tongue-and-cheek better. Check out Rafe's Roshambo "bust out" interview on the pokerpages home page under the WSOP Video tab.
I had been stalking Greg Raymer for a few days. While I have wanted to meet Raymer for awhile, I also realized that he has probably spent the better part of a year being stalked, probed and prodded by people like me. While I am not averse to going up and pestering strangers, I tend to like to meet pros in a more social setting or hope for an introduction through a mutual acquaintance. Apparently my delicate approach was totally unnecessary as he said "Hi Amy" as he walked by yesterday. He either knew of me or finally asked someone, "Who is that deranged woman in the hat that keeps following me?" At any rate, I really enjoyed finally meeting and interviewing Greg. Not only is he incredibly articulate, but he has the type of sly wit that I'm always a sucker for. And I will neither confirm or deny Pauly's assessment of my time with Greg.
I've also been trying to interview Cyndy Violette for the better part of the week. But damn if the girl isn't always kind of busy moneying in WSOP events. She has been just phenomenal to watch this year. Every time she sits down at a table, she's packing her "A" game. She has moneyed in three events in just a week and a half, coming in second in the $2000 no limit. I ran into her a couple of times in the ladies room Sunday – once supplying a good luck hug before her final table, and once during the break when it was down to five players. I joked with my cameraman that if he had staked out the bathroom, we would have had all the footage we needed….hmmm…maybe not. But I'm really looking forward to sitting down for an interview with her. She has incredible discipline on the road, insuring she brings the complete player to the table – both mind and body. And with the large fields and expanded ESPN shooting schedule, the body (i.e. stamina) is a key factor this year.
During a break in Sunday's action, I crashed the Full Tilt hospitality suite and bumped into Jeff Lisandro. Jeff is another high caliber European player who has long deserved recognition in the US. Last year he moneyed in five WSOP events, including three final table appearances. But maybe it will be his 1st place finish at the WSOP Circuit Event at Lake Tahoe and his 1st in the Bellagio $25,000 Heads Up Main Event this year that finally gets someone to sit up and take notice. Five years ago, it might not have made a difference to overseas players if they were acknowledged by the US poker market. But with the sponsorships/endorsements/invitationals at stake, there are financial repercussions for missing the media's eye.
One of the constructive changes I've seen over the course of the last week and a half is the media bonding that has occurred. When all the different media teams started covering the WSOP there was more than a little competition and turf defending. But working together over the course of 14 hour days has resulted in healthy bonding leading to a more cooperative environment - which only means better content provided by all. There is definitely a "we are all in this together" spirit building.
And if Sunday was a fire hose, Monday was a dry lake bed. With no final tables and a small PLO field, any pro that wasn't playing was taking a needed day off. While the PLO event was "star" studded, busted pros bolted for the door, calling it an early day, to prep for the next few grueling days. The media quickly tired of trying to chase down thin stories and Monday became the unofficial media day to do laundry…and not a minute too soon.
Today's music to blog by...Sanata: Supernatural
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