The first event of the 2016 World Series of Poker kicked off on Wednesday. Every year, the World Series of Poker creates moments in history along with memory for players and fans that will last a lifetime.
If you have never played at the WSOP, you’re missing out on a good time. I’ve been to several WSOP’s as both a player and media member and each year I walk away with at least a couple of great stories and most have nothing to do with the actual game we were playing. Below are five of my favorite WSOP stories that have nothing to do with poker.
You’re Not Phil Ivey
Back in 2008, I was covering Day 2 of the $10k Seven Card Stud Championship. We were down to about three tables with Phil Ivey still in contention. The L.A. Lakers had a playoff game that night and Ivey wanted to see the game.
The floor man calls over Jack Effel and Ivey tells him he wants to see the Laker game. Within 10 minutes, four people show up to our area and switch two of the monitors over to the Laker game so that Ivey could watch it.
I don’t remember who won the game but right after it was over, someone came back to switch over the TV back to the clock. One of the other players in the event asked the floor person if they could leave one of the TV’s on for the other playoff game that evening. His request was refused.
The guy stood up and asked, “how come he can get the Laker game and we can’t watch the other playoff game. I’m not 100% certain who said it but one of the players spoke up and said “you’re not Phil Ivey.”
Everyone, including Ivey, laughed. They still didn’t get to watch the game.
I think it was 2010 and I was taking pictures of the poker pros in a random $1,500 NL event when I noticed a player on the phone about two feet from his table and he was laying it on thick with the person at the other end. Judging from his actions and his attempts to sound smooth, he was talking to his girlfriend.
After a couple of minutes, he hung up the phone and announced in a loud voice “SHE SAID YES Y’ALL!!” Just prior to his announcement, someone had just busted from his table and they were leaving the area as he made his announcement.
As soon as he yelled out “SHE SAID YES Y’ALL!!”, the dealer announced “SEAT OPEN!” At least two people fell out of their chair laughing.
Seat 1 and the Beanstalk
Sexism at the tables is a known problem and most of us have seen it at the tables. I remember an incident from 2007 that was handled brilliantly by a young woman. At the start of a single table satellite that I was playing in, this lady takes her seat and a player in Seat 1 started hitting on her immediately.
He offered to buy her a drink and she politely refused. The guy then immediately asked for her number, to which she said she had a boyfriend. “I don’t care about that. I’m sure I can take him.”
A couple of minutes later, the young lady makes a quick call and asks her boyfriend to bring something she forgot. I don’t remember what it was, but it ended up not mattering. Seat 1 continued to try and flirt with the girl and she politely either shot him down or ignored him.
At the start of the third level, this guy starts walking through the satellite area. You couldn’t miss him because when I saw him, I started quoting Major Payne when he met Bam Bam Bigalow. “Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum. What beanstalk did he fall from?”
This guy was all of 7 ft at least and my guess he was about 275 to 300 lbs. He makes a beeline to where the young woman was sitting and she goes, “I’m sorry honey. I found it right after I called. I got so busy I forgot to call you back.”
You ever see someone that wanted to crawl into their own ass? That’s what Seat 1 looked like at that time. He didn’t speak a word or move a muscle while her boyfriend was there and she shot Seat 1 several looks as if to say “you were saying you could take him?”
After her giant left, Seat 1 just sat there staring blankly and didn’t say a word for the rest of his time in the game.
How Many Chips Does Michael Jordan Have?
I worked as a blogger for PokerNews in 2008 helping to cover the WSOP. One day during one of the large field NL events, a lady comes up and asks “How many chips does Michael Jordan have?”
I look over to the guy I was partnered with and say “Michael Jordan is in this event?” He didn’t know and I asked the woman if she was sure if he was in the tournament. “I know he is.”
Well hell, we better get a field reporter on this. Jordan is a known gambler and our fans would want to know that the retired six-time NBA champion was in the field. We sent two field reporters over to try and find MJ and later they come back to tell us that they couldn’t find him.
About 30 minutes later, the same woman returns and is visibly upset that Michael Jordan’s chips count isn’t in on the site. We tell her that we looked all over for him but couldn’t find him.
“Well maybe I can help you then. He is over at table 123. He has on a red shirt and is the only person there with graying hair.”
Wait a minute. Graying hair?? Michael Jordan doesn’t have hair. Apparently, some random amateur with the same name thought he deserved to be in the chip counts because he had tripled up.
Despite the fact he wasn’t THE Michael Jordan, we decided to put him in the chip counts and do a little blurb about him to catch fans attention. We sent the field reporter over to check on him only to watch him bust out of the event.
So ended Michael Jordan’s run at the World Series of Poker.
Hell Hath No Fury Like 1,000 Women Scorned
As some of you may remember, the WSOP used to have a problem with men entering the Ladies Championship. They eliminated this by making the buy-in for the event $10k and offering a $9k discount to women.
Well, back before this policy, Day 1 of the Ladies Event had it’s share of controversy as a few men entered the event. Shaun Deeb famously dressed as a woman for the event one year. Whenever a man was eliminated from the event, he would receive a round of applause from the room as he took the walk of shame.
Back in 2010, I covered the WSOP for PokerJunkie.com and I decided to get photos early during Day 1. Had I been thinking, I would have waited two or three levels to take pictures, but no, I had to take them during Level 1.
I walk in the tournament room with camera in hand and start roaming around and pretty quick I notice that women from nearly every table I was passing was giving me the evil eye. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but that’s how it felt.
I see Jennifer Tilly at a table and go to that table to take pictures. “What do you want” was the greeting I was met by from an older lady. I held up my camera and said, “I’m taking her picture.” Immediately the demeanor of everyone at the table changed when they realized I was not there to play poker.
Similar thing happened for the next three of four tables. I would walk up, get the stink eye and then once I took pictures they calmed down. After three or four tables of doing this, I decided that maybe Ill just wear the camera around my neck so it is clear what I am doing.
The next time I walked by Jennifer Tilly’s table, the woman that initially greeted me pointed to my camera and went “that’s a good idea.” I replied, “we might be slow, but some of us learn eventually.”
“That’s called self preservation young man.”