Day 6: X-MAN REVEALED, (Tran Deified, Alexander Reviled)

(When last we spoke, I mentioned that we’d be  jumping from the end of Day 3 all the way to Day 6 of Main Event 2013 because we’ve only got, well, now it’s just four! days! in real time! until the November 9!!!! So we’ll come back to the “Mom” and “everything” – the fans and hangers-on, the mayhem and hype, the triumph, and for one lucky (and skillful) soul, the triumph of 11/4-5/2013 at the Penn and Teller Theater in Rio. But first, we gotta get down to them nine Niners.)

Amir-Lehavot

WSOP, Main Event 2013, Day 6

68 players left

Still no sign of the man known as X.

Phil Mader is still alive, but fading.

So, amazingly, is 2012 November Niner (and Bluffy-McBlufferson-extraordinaire)  Steve Gee, and big-time tournament pro Yevgeniy Timoshenko, and Aussie Jackie Glazier, this year’s “last woman standing” (last year, two women stood all the way until 10th and 11th, incredibly impressive considering the tiny fraction of the field they make up) . The common belief is that a woman at the final table would be a big boon to poker, and that a woman (or a person of color) as champ would be huge.

Defending champ Merson (167th, for $43k, a great follow-up year) is gone, as is, well, just about everyone we saw earlier.

Someone named Sami Ruston is the chip leader, but he’ll be gone by the end of the day, so we’ll skip him. In second stands Canadian Marc-Etienne McLaughlin, a relative unknown to, sometimes called (by those intrepid journalists McEachern and Chad) a businessman, other times a tattoo artist, never called (nor does he call himself) a poker pro, but who’s made deep runs in ’09, ’11, and this year. Also with a big stack, in 4th, is “Canadian Lawyer” Jason Mann. I haven’t said much about Mann because, well, he’s kind of boring – heck, “Canadian lawyer” is just about all Lon and Norman have had to say about him for several episodes. Mann isn’t making any huge mistakes on camera, but is clearly out of his element, unsure of his decisions, yet here he is – with the help of luck, big hands holding up at the right times and okay play – still standing on Day 6. As I always like to say when someone grumbles when I suck out on him, “Luck counts.”

Chad tells us this is the 8th straight year the Big One has had 6k+ entrants, but for the past three years (since Black Friday) the numbers have decreased slightly – many were expecting a huge drop-off. A young bro/guy/duder (and Vegas nightclub VIP escort) named Jay Farber, with pumped up arms covered with tats, crushes pro Noah Schwartz’s dreams as Farber’s AA hold up over Schwartz’s KK, making Farber one of the big stacks. Luck counts, alright – six days grind, one hand played the way it pretty much had to be played, and . . . gone. Some – Schwartz himself among them – have suggested that Schwartz, still with a very solid stack, could have let the hand go, even four bets in; that Farber had to be huge at that point and Schwartz had to know it. And sure, I’ve seen some big laydowns in tough spots, but KK preflop, with millions already in the middle? Could YOU lay it down? Perhaps we’ll take a deeper look at that hand another time.  Well, Schwartz isn’t quite gone after the hand, and he quickly triples back up to 1.7 mil – not much, at this point, but he’s alive. Farber, despite my diss of him as a party-boy-Vegas-musclehead, is playing solid poker (another reason Schwartz, who I believe is friends with Farber off the felt), I believe, could’ve/should’ve folded). In fact, similar to how Annie describes even good players misreading/underestimating her because of her gender, Farber surely gets misjudged because of his looks, as he actually mentions in an ESPN interview. Well, until now, I’m guessing, as you’ll be seeing a whole lot of him on TV a lot next week and his cover will be blown big time.

Players busting are now taking home about $120k, a “sick” return on a week-long $10k investment, but no one seems too happy about heading the cage to cash out. The camera makes sloppy love to each mini-tragedy, one after the other. It’s pretty boring, but focus groups must say otherwise or ESPN wouldn’t  show them all night.

Jackie Glazier joins the TV table, with Timo and revitalized tourney superstar,  JC Tran. Tran has won millions, was a World Poker Tour Player of the year, and has cashed in the Main Event six times in the Boom era, but hasn’t had a big score in several years. The Cali pro (and wife and baby, with another on the way) is the clear ESPN darling.

Down to 60. Still no X.

Halfway through the episode, stoic, yet somehow baby-faced Timoshenko is the new chip leader with 9.5 mil.

And 6,352 are down to 52.

Noah Schwartz finally gives up the ghost, 52nd, $151k

The blinds, by the way, are now at a staggering 30k and 60k, with a 10k ante, for a total of 170k in the pot to start each hand.

Carlos Mortensen (click for some great vintage video), perhaps the most famous pro left and only Main Event winner (2001) wins a big hand, flush over two pair, over Tran, for 1.8 mil. Tran is down to around 3 mil, Carlos up to 3 mil.

Soon, Carlos is shown with KK, as obnoxious Texas bar owner and ESPN poster d-bag of the last few epi James Alexander sits down at the feature table. Sometimes it seems like every other player is a bar or club owner or employee, or the nebulous “businessman,” but we’ll get back to that kind of stuff on the weekend.

On the turn, Mortensen’s opponent (Walthus) hits a set of 7s. Carlos checks the river there’s two mil in the middle – and Walthus bets almost a mil. Mortensen counts out calling chips, and sits and waits, and waits and waits. On TV, of course, they edit it down radically, as players will sometimes think for a, a minute, two, five. Timo is notorious for tanking on just about every decision. The best are subtly, stealthily looking for any hints, tells from their opponents as to whether they make the big call.  Alexander mentions that it’s been twelve minutes (the ESPN emcees point out that it hasn’t been twelve minutes at all). Soon Alexander calls time on Mortensen – an official comes over and starts a clock. Mortensen has 70 seconds to decide. He makes the good fold as time expires. Patience patience patience patience AGRESSSION patience.

Next hand, JC Tran with 88 gets into a hand with Walthus, AA. Tran hits the 8 on the flop. Walthus bets 655, Tran raises to 1.5, Walthaus raises, Tran shoves, Walthaus calls and we’ve got an 8 mil pot, and this, friends, is how you get to the final table of the Main Event. Skill, and a lot of luck, and a the right moments. Sick. Mortensen showed the discipline of an old pro, Walthus the impatience of so many young ones.

Phil Mader busts with A-Q to A-K, 43rd, $185k. And ESPN’s Cinderella 2013 is gone. Jay Farber did the deed, and now sits with a very comfy stack.

And Somar Al-Darwich, a seemingly nice enough rook who rose to first when Mark Kroon lost his mind what now seems like weeks ago, is gone.  He tells the interviewer it was his first time in Vegas!

Someone named Josh Prager sum ups busting deep in the Big One up after his KK loses to AA. “Win this much money, how can I complain?  I made 18x my money and yet I’ll never be here again, so I complain.”

Jackie Glazier busts 31st, for $230k, and somehow, somehow, with four tables left, STILL no Player X. I’m beginning to wonder whether he’s still in it after all.

But finally, FINALLY, at the very end of episode 16, with 27 left, they show the entire leaderboard. German Anton Morgenstern sits on top with nearly 22mil, followed by Loosli (France), thanks to the huge suck-out, with 14mil (quite a jump from 1st to second), with Tran in 4th with nearly 12mil, and Carlos Mortensen in 6th with nearly 11. Timo is hanging in at 18th with 5 mil.  Steve Gee is still grindin’, but with just 3mil. David Benefield (former online super-high stakes pro who went back to college, of all things) sits in last with 1.8, but, wait! Back up a sec! Holding down the 11 spot,  ladies and germ, I give you Player X, Amir Lehavot, with 7 million beautiful chips. We haven’t seen the man, but we’ve seen his name, and his stack.

(next: Meet Amir Lehavot, aka Player X)

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2 thoughts on “Day 6: X-MAN REVEALED, (Tran Deified, Alexander Reviled)

  1. As someone who loves and plays poker, I’m torn about watching coverage like the WSOP. You and I know they show only a very small fraction of the hands played, the only a fraction of the hand they actually do air. We know why, but I’m afraid watching this type of coverage will throw my game off. What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Bill Weye, Long time no . . . . I’m actually going to write about the horribleness of poker TV, and ESPN in particular in the next post, about Day 7 and how they totally missed the boat on my guy. I’m biased, but he went from 7 mil to 1.7, to 2nd at the finaly frickin’ table, how can that not get covered. He also hit quads in there, but again, I’ll get to it. More to your point though, the answer for me has always been to remember that I’m pretty much watching a reality show with a poker theme, ie not reality, and try to enjoy it much more than learn much from it, especially the bad lessons. I’ll also address it in terms of the coverage of the play of Steve Gee, both last year and this. Thanks for reading, and for commenting!

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