Earlier this summer, Daniel Negreanu held a video submission contest in which the winner would be staked into the $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event by Kid Poker himself. As you can imagine, the entries flooded in. And when it came down to choosing one of the three finalists, Negreanu couldn't choose just one. In the end, his generosity was once again on full display when he decided to stake all three.
Tanya Rausis, Rich Dixon, and KL Cleeton (pictured) realized their dream of hearing "shuffle up and deal" as they took their seats in the most prestigious poker tournament in the world. And they rose to the occassion as all three of them found a bag on Day 1.
The support these three strangers (until now) have for each other is so great to see in a sport where you're rooting for yourself to win and someone else to lose. They will have a connection forever thanks to this a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Both Rausis and Dixon's quest for gold ended during play on Day 2a/b. Only Cleeton was able to make a late day rush to survive Day 2 with a respectable stack of 120,800 going into Day 3. Cleeton had this to say about his love of the game: "Poker is a form of competition that I could take part in. You don't have to be the fastest or the strongest, you have to be the smartest and sometimes the luckiest."
Rausis and Dixon expressed their disappointment in Negreanu's Vlog and now understand the heartache so many professionals feel when getting knocked out of the Main Event. What stood out even more was the idea that they let Negreanu down. They were assured that nothing could be further from the truth.
Rausis summed it up best: "What a great experience."
And how is their team leader doing? Negreanu was eliminated near the end of Day 2c when his pair of sevens couldn't hold against his opponent's sixes. Now it's left to Cleeton to carry the flag. No pressure. Seriously ... no pressure. We're confident Negreanu will be rooting for Cleeton to have fun out there. Because if you're having fun, then you're already winning.
Nate and Smitty Do Vegas
The Barstool Boys have been living it up in Las Vegas and introducing their fans to the WSOP through their popular blog and frequent Periscopes.
One thing is for sure — Eric "Nate" Nathan and Adam "Smitty" Smith have a loyal following and may very well be credited with bringing some new faces to the game or bringing back some lost fans, as is shared in this tweet:
@WSOP @SmittyBarstool @BarstoolNate @drew_amato @PokerPhotoArciv Haven't paid attention to poker since Moneymaker a… https://t.co/upgSDAcLdM— Mr. Wed Nesday (@thenamesmikeG)
Smitty didn't fare quite so well, busting in the middle of the last level of the day.
The dream is still alive for Nate, however, who after a strong start, faulted a bit mid-day only to rebound in the last level. He ended Day 2a with a solid stack of 255,300 and with start Day 3 with plenty of play and a mighty rail, both inside the Rio and virtually through his Twitter account.
Our own Sarah Herring was also able to grab Smitty on Wednesday for the latest edition of Calling the Clock.
ElkY Does His Best Doug Polk Impression
As if playing for $3 million isn't enough, Doug Polk and Bertrand 'ElkY" Grospellier made a prop bet that the loser of the heads-up match in the One Drop would need to sport the other's hairstyle.
Polk was quick to poke the bear following his win by assuring everyone he was looking forward to ElkY sporting a "faux-hawk."
Well, today was judgment day.
If you read through the comments, you'll notice the fans were a little disappointed that Polk's trademark poker uniform, the tank top, wasn't part of the bet.
Apparently, the hair prop bet is a favorite for ElkY. In the 2015 $10K Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em event, anyone losing to ElkY would have to sport his platinum blonde color.
Polk was involved in that bet, too. Surprise. Surprise. “In particular it would be great to see ElkY win a bracelet after running through three of my friends,” said Polk. “That would be so awesome — to see ElkY win the bracelet and me having three new blonde friends.”
There was no color involved in this prop bet, but the faux-hawk is on full display.
Question of the Day - #QOD
What are some of the funniest/craziest thoughts that go through your head when you're bluffing, and you see your opponent reach for chips?
This is the question Lynn Gilmartin asked on Twitter, and of course, many weighed in.
Here are some of the better responses:
John Dixson (@_netscribe_ ): "Whether I should exit stage left or right."
Alex Papazian (@betweenjobs21): "Foooooooooooooold"
Carlos Castro (@CarlosOCastroP): "Just hoping they raise me, so I won't have to show my cards... lol."
Matt Cox (@RogueMatt): "Whether or not I need gas for the drive home..."
And finally, Max Steinberg (@MaxJSteinberg) replied with what every player has thought at one time or another: "Fuck."
Click here for a look at the very entertaining thread.
The Beginning of the End
As the final Day 2 flight of the Main Event came to a close and the field combines for the first time tomorrow, there are signs that summer camp is winding down. The first casualty was the King's Lounge, the home of high-stakes cash games for the past 40 days.
#wsop King's poker lounge is coming down https://t.co/7ZINOxaruj— Sean Chaffin (@PokerTraditions)
Just as the air is full of electricity on the first days of the WSOP, the air is now a bit melancholy, with thoughts of "what might have been" and a yearning for next year.
On the flip side though, players are wandering around with "get gold" checked off their bucket list, celebrating positive results, and the dream of winning The Main still alive.
After seven weeks away, most people would be excited to head home - at least in normal circumstances. But one thing is for sure; The Main Event is anything but normal. No matter what side of the emotional rollercoaster resonates with you, watching the beginning of the dismantling of poker's summer camp is always bittersweet.
Speaking of Endings
A whole host of notable players hit the rail by the end of Day 2 and put their dreams of winning the tournament of tournaments on hold - at least for now. And in true poker fashion, many took to the Twitterverse to tell their tale of misfortune.
Main event bust out therapy be like... ### #NBASummerLeague https://t.co/PoOjwsMelI— Maria Ho (@MariaHo)
Good showing boys. See you next year #the8team https://t.co/8TIS7ZizU0— Dominik Nitsche (@DominikNitsche)
The good news is there are only about 325 days until the 2018 World Series of Poker kicks off - but who's counting?