Friday, November 11

When In Rome, Part Three

The 2005 World Series Of Poker Circuit Feature Event

(And Other Stuff)

(This entry crossposted to Steal The Blinds.)

Judging by the excitement on the faces of the ten lucky players who qualified for the $10,000 WSOPC Feature Event through the supersatellite, and the buzz permeating through the poker room all night long, the feature event was going to be a major event.

It wound up being pretty disappointing.

The first problem was the event location. If you look at the entire 2005-06 WSOP Circuit Event Schedule, you can clearly see one location doesn't belong:

Las Vegas
Elizabeth, Indiana
Las Vegas
Atlantic City
Atlantic City
San Diego
Atlantic City
Las Vegas
New Orleans
Lake Tahoe

A derivative problem here was timing. The opening events of the WPT event at Foxwoods ran concurrently with the final table at the WSOPC, plus the 2005 WSOP Tournament Of Champions started just a few days afterwards. This meant that many of poker's brightest stars probably just as soon skipped coming to Indiana. (Some big names did come; more on them later.) When the cards were in the air, only 127 players had showed up. This created a respectable purse of $1.2 million, with a top prize of more than $437,000; but that was still less than even the smallest event from the 2005 WSOPC, the New Orleans event where Jeffery Lisandro pocketed $542,360.

But the biggest problem was just with the way the tournament ran. While the newly-remodeled poker room at Caesars Indiana was gorgeous, and the actual machinations of the tournaments went off without a hitch, the tourney as a whole seemed to be disrespected. For the early part of the tournament, even though there appeared to be plenty of tables in the poker room, all but two of the tables in action were outside the poker room, in the adjacent wing of the boat.

Here's the travesty: while I was playing $4/$8 limit Hold'em in the brand-new poker room, with the WSOP logo imprinted everywhere, the actual WSOP event was being held in the "Burning Of Rome" room, which did look spiffy. But they hollowed out the middle to fit in the tables. Imagine twelve tables in two rows of six, bunched together as tightly as sardines, with a bank-lobby divider separating them from not just railbirds, but from dozens and dozens of blinking, whooping slot machines.

According to one knowledgable person, this was due to an Indiana gaming law which made it so that all casino cash games had to be held in the poker room and nowhere else. I believe this; Indiana has some goofy laws, and can sometimes be downright puritannical.

But there was no reason they couldn't have put more of the tournament in the poker room. Almost all of the tables in the supersatellite were in the poker room (the Ladies' Event was going on in the Burning Of Rome room). Or, if Caesars Indiana felt they simply had to hold the tournament in a different area of the casino, then move all the slot machines, or just TURN THE DAMN THINGS OFF. It couldn't have been that difficult.

I can't understate what a distraction this must have been both to the pros who were looking to win hundreds of thousands of dollars, and also to the schmos who just wanted to make the most out of their tournament. I play once a week in a bar, with a pounding stereo, and the scene in Caesars Indiana was worse than that. One pro I talked to said it was "driving him crazy" (he busted out very early); another admitted befuddlement that I was playing nickel-and-dime games while they felt like they might as well have been playing from inside a phone booth.

I would be very, very surprised if the WSOPC came back to Indiana next year. Or, if they do, whether any pros will bother to show up.

Who did come to Indiana? Glad you asked.

Mark "Big Daddy From Cincinnati" Hanna found no luck in the supersatellite, so he had to drop ten large and buy in. Men "The Master" Nguyen was there, and did very well. Scott Fischman busted out early, as did Gavin Smith. Caesars Indiana poker ambassador and former University of Louisville men's basketball coach Denny Crum finished in 59th.

But here are six names you might recognize:

Carlos Mortensen, David "The Dragon" Pham, Kathy Liebert, Erik Seidel, John Juanda, and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson.

Like the shirt? You want it? 'Cause I'm giving it away to whoever can bust me in a $24 + $2 tournament. I'll have details when I put it together, but for right now I promise you a way to get in — free. Just register at Full Tilt Poker using the links here or the bonus code MARCHRON, deposit $50 in real money, and earn 100 FTP Points, and I'll buy you in myself. Swear to God.

Liebert, Seidel, and Fischman were all seated at the same table when play started. Jesus showed up late. I only stayed until after the dinner break, when Caesars Indiana finally wised up and moved the biggest tournament they may ever have into the actual poker room. Liebert, Seidel, and Jesus were all at the featured table.

The last thing I did before leaving was get Men The Master's attention. One of the TVs was showing a broadcast of the 2003 WSOP, where Men was playing out a hand. He stopped what he was doing in the hand in front of him to admire his play on TV. Egotistical? Yes. But that's why he's Men The Master.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get pictures. No cameras were allowed on the boat, and I was such a goody-two-shoes about the rule that I forgot when I encountered Jesus, John and Carlos outside the boat in the pavilion, by the buffet, that I could get a picture with them. So you'll have to settle for this:

Larry Kang had a media pass and got to take nicer pictures. (You may have to cycle through to find them.) Those pics do reveal who won, so if you're waiting for the ESPN broadcast, tread lightly. Jason Kirk liveblogged the entire tourney, and was lucky enough to hit the town and party like a poker star several hours after I left.

If I had known Chris Ferguson was going to a Halloween party dressed as a pimp . . .

(Photo: Larry Kang)

. . . I would have stuck around.

(Edited 11/12 1:34 AM to add the STB link.)


Location: Mishawaka, Indiana, United States

I graduated with an English degree from the University Of Notre Dame in 2001, and in 2008 I have a day job that has nothing to do with my degree but gets the bills paid in a semi-regular fashion. (I have running water five days a week!) The idea is that once I get turned around on my bills, I go to grad school. I also have an idea for cold fusion. Anyone's guess which will be feasible first. In non-work mode, I'm usually reading columns by famous and well-read thinkers, blogs by critically praised writers, or sometimes blogs by overzealous cranks who make me laugh. I yearn to be all three at once; until then I'll settle for being the third. I also have an undying love for the Chicago Cubs and Notre Dame football. Praise them and I'll buy you a beer; curse them and I'll dump it over your head. If that's not enough, I'm becoming quite the fan of no-limit Texas Hold'em. My games have one of two results: I either win all the money or whine because I didn't win all the money.

marchandchronicles -at-

Fair warning: I reserve the right to post any and all criticisms and flames, in their entirety. Seriously. Just ask this guy.

July 2006
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January | February | March | April
May | June | July | August
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Essays on whatever I feel like writing about.

August 8, 2005: High Gas Prices
August 1, 2005: Judge Roberts' Hearings
June 20, 2005: Senator Durbin's Comments
May 23, 2005: Newsweek & Pepsi
May 2, 2005: Al Gore's MoveOn Speech
April 25, 2005: Lebanon
April 18, 2005: The Nuclear Option
April 11, 2005: Pope John Paul II
March 5, 2005: The Domino Effect
January 31, 2005: Iraqi Elections
January 24, 2005: Bush's Inaugural
January 17, 2005: Roemer, Dean & The DNC

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Contributor to Steal The Blinds


marchand chronicles has such massive readership and influence that it makes me weep.
—Glenn Reynolds


Damn right.


What's Your Line?


I absolutely love the name of your site.

Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson, Power Line
Just the name? Not the content? . . . I'll take it.

You have something in common with Dave Barry, Hemingway, and Mark Steyn: I'm not linking to them, either.


That's good stuff there Mark.

Dean Barnett, Soxblog
Psst, it's "Mike."

(click to buy)

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All text and original images © MMVI by Mike Marchand/Marchand Chronicles.

Okay, so I don't really have a copyright. But I still don't want you ripping me off. Reprint it all over the Internet if you like, but give me proper credit and link back to me. Besides, if you're going to plagiarize, steal from someone with some talent.

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