Maybe this doesn't belong on a sports blog (and for the record, No, I don't believe that an endeavour in which the fellow pictured at left can be one of the best in the world is a "sport"), but what the hell.
The World Series of Poker has been running for about a month or so in Vegas, and they're now fully into the Main Event. It's a $10,000 buy-in, and there were 8,800+ entries, which adds up to about an $88,000,000 prize pool for this event alone -- the champ is going to collect something like $12M, and all 9 players at the final table will win at least $1M.
If you're interested in following along at all (and don't mind the spoiler if you're planning on watching the ESPN coverage in ~October), the coverage at cardplayer.com is pretty awesome. They throw up 10 or 20 1-2min. videos every day (usually interviews of well-known pros); they'll do an audio webcast of the final table (which is terribly entertaining); and they run a blog ("Live Update") which is updated darn near every 5 minutes while play is underway.
The field in this event is so big that what as recently as two years ago was known as Day 1 is now four days - Day 1A/1B/1C/1D. This has just been completed; about 2200 players started per day, with the field narrowing down to 800-900 each day. Day 2 (actually 2A/2B) is starting today, and after a day off on Thursday, Day 3 will be on Friday, with all ~1400 remaining players finally in the same room playing down. (By the way, that then goes for 7 consecutive days, and they play from noon to 3AM every day. No, it's not a sport, but it sure as hell does require endurance).
I've been following the coverage off and on, keeping up with how the players I generally like from TV are making out. Phil Hellmuth, Jennifer Harman, Antonio Esfandiari, and (Dang!) Mike "The Mouth" Matusow are all out; Daniel Negreanu is still in and is one of the chip leaders (~ top 100 out of 3000+ remaining); Huck Seed, Jesus Ferguson, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, and Freddy Deeb are still in as well.
The other entertaining aspect of the live updates is that with 200+ tables playing for hours and hours, you actually get some bad, brutal, 1000-to-1 type Bad Beats. Best one I've seen is this one:
- Short stack goes all-in with 8S 8C
- Gets called by a guy with 5H 5 C
- Flop is 6S 5S 5D, giving the caller quad Fives, which in the immortal words of Jack Singer, is "like... unbeatable!". Except, as Betsy noted, "like unbeatable is not unbeatable"...
- Turn is 9S
- River is 7S
- Giving the short stack the ridiculous runner-runner straight flush to crack the quads