I've not posted anything for the last couple of days, shift work has been busy and made doubly difficult by the lack of press passes, leaving us stuck behind four rows deep of tourists for the $10k PLH event while I'm asked by guys, who have been standing next to me for half an hour, “Are they playing cash in there?”
It was sad to see John Kabbaj bubble the final, he looked to be 'in the zone' as it were, a nasty beat with Aces being cracked by Queens spelt doom for him and another final table just beyond his grasp. He bubbled the GUKPT Grand Final back in December I recall, and also made the last two tables of the Irish Open before losing a coinflip to Pete Linton, it must be frustrating.
Speaking of Linton, he's actually here, I bumped into Sam Trickett in the $1,500 event who informed me that Pete was out within 20 minutes, sounded pretty standard to me.
Actually, yesterday was pretty good in the sense that Steve Frezer, who blonde updaters know from the EPT's, was running the ship last night during Day 1b, and was happy to let Jason and I go into the tournament area without press badges with a word that if anyone questioned our presence, then just to let him know.
Suddenly all was right with the world, and I was actually able to stop and chat to the players and get stories once more. I bumped into Thomas 'BadMoonRising' Fuller, 4th place finisher in Baden, who writes an excellent blog that I'd recommend. Mark Vos and Arnaud Mattern were happy to tell me about the big happenings on their table, which included Arnaud being happy about busting the Monte Carlo Champion Glenn Chorny. I swapped a few poker hands with some of the Pokernews and PocketFives guys, everyone seems to be getting along much better this year, and I can feel the atmosphere on the floor being more akin to the EPT's which is a big compliment. Plus bumping into old friends Nicolas Levi and Henning Granstad is always great in a room of unknowns.
The $10k final ended up being won by Nenad Medic, which caused about ten minutes of doctor and hospital based puns within the Pokerlistings camp and I did advise Jason, when he was doing his interview with the winner, to call it, ' Medic: “I'm going to get plastered!” '
Sadly he didn't.
It was a shame to see Andy Bloch not win, but no doubt his time will come. Also on the final table was another player yet to win a bracelet wearing his sponsor's new clothes. I guess it was only a matter of time before Antonius was going to leave Martinspoker, he's just too big a name to stick with what is a regional site compared to Full Tilt. The press conference for this announcement looked unintentionally funny as Antonius came out with Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Phil Ivey, and whilst Ferguson responded to what Lederer and Antonius were saying, Ivey just stood there with his shades on, not moving, like a bodyguard at a boxing weigh-in. He probably still is the one man who likes doing the 'media circus' less than Antonius himself.
Of course, there's one another sponsorship deal causing a lot of noise on the message boards at the moment. That is of course that Cliff 'JohnnyBax' Josephy is going to sign with UltimateBet, only weeks after all the breaking news and scandal surrounding 'superuser' accounts. Many people are going to feel betrayed by this, having read a 2+2 thread, a number of users simply said they were going to close their PokerXFactor accounts.
I think the best way for UB and Josephy to weather this storm would be to be completely open and transparent about the deal the latter is getting, simply because many people are going to view this as a case of money trumping morals. I've yet to see a decent case defending the decision to join UB, people are saying, “Let's wait and see what happens,” but that simply isn't a good enough reason on it's own.
If he simply came out and said, “This is what I'm getting, and this is what UltimateBet are getting in return,” then at least it would negate a lot of the criticism. As it is, by getting Josephy in, it means UltimateBet in theory do not have to actually solve any of the issues and can simply point to their new sponsored player and say, “Well, he trusts us, why don't you?”
Bad prop bet of the day? Fabrice Soulier has waged a five-figure sum that he and Liz Lieu will win more than the entire Winamax 13-player team during the WSOP. I'd snap Fabrice's hand off there if I could.
Finally, it looks as though we'll be getting our press passes thankfully. This comes as a major relief as I don't know how much more standing on tip-toes behind big guys from Iowa I could take.
It's also influenced my song of the day... Handel's “Messiah”. :D