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2009 WSOP Main Event Final Table Random Thoughts

If you don't want to know anything about the current final table results, now that they're down to the final two, then the title of this post should have already sent you away.  Otherwise, please read on...

I managed to keep up with the coverage all day and night via the PokerNews live reporting blog (thanks F-Train and friends), the Bluff Magazine audio/video live coverage (no visual of players or reporters, just video showing live chip counts and action), and various bloggers who rawk (mainly Doc Pauly).  Okay I'll try not to use anymore parenthesis the rest of the way for fawks sake.

Now onto various thoughts in no specific order.

On such a big stage - the final table of the greatest tournament in the world, no doubt - when is the last time you recall 2 of the smaller chip stacks at the start of the day making it to 3rd and either 2nd or Champion?  Antoine Saout started with only 9.5mm and finished 3rd, while Joseph Cada started with 13.2mm and will finish 1st or 2nd.  Pretty amazing if you consider the big stacks at the start.

This isn't final table talk, but can anyone who was in media row during the final 18 please tell me approximately how long the decisions were for Moon and Kopp during each move of the now
infamous diamond debacle hand.  No doubt the ESPN editing can sometimes be deceiving when it looks like decisions are made in a split second, but are sometimes minutes long.

During the Bluff Magazine audio broadcast I mentioned above, they were asking listeners to submit questions to the show for live discussion among the reporters.  At the time the discussion was between Annie Duke, Hollywood_Dave and someone else I don't recall.  I submitted a question and it actually was brought up during the commentary.  The question was...

@Hollywood_Dave In recent interview PhilH. said Shulman would introduce a monumental game changing tactic. You seen anything as such yet??

For those that don't know, in a recent interview on ESPNs The Poker Edge, Hellmuth told Andrew Feldman as part of his coaching of Jeff Shulman, he had introduced a tactic that would change the way the world thinks about poker.  I was highly skeptical and, ultimately disappointed in what he finally disclosed was the tactic.

To step back a moment, at the time my questions was discussed on air, they were unwilling to read too much into the question as it was still relatively early in the game, but they did mention it seemed Shulman was raising 4x the big blind instead of the typical 2.5x or 3x.

In the end, once they were down to 7 handed, Phil Hellmuth did disclose his new tactic was to raise 5x the big blind.  I don't recall Shulman ever raising 5x - I'm pretty sure he was sticking to a regular raise or at the most 4x - so I'm guessing once he got into his groove, he determined it was not the right play for the table.

I get why Hellmuth felt this was a good move, as it put the small stacks to the test and kept them from calling small raises to hopefully hit, but I don't think it was a poker move that would change the way the world viewed tournament poker.  Those are basically his words, not mine, thought I don't recall exact quotes.

It's no secret that Joseph Cada got lucky at the final table to end up heads-up with a 2/3 to 1/3 chip lead.  Twice he was all-in behind needing luck on his side and twice he flopped sets to take down game saving hands.  I think it bears mentioning that this luck should not result in his accomplishments being overshadowed.  You play the game as best you can each hand and at some point in a tournament that size, you need luck to take it down.  He is no different and, quite frankly, there was some serious luck going on at the table.  I think Cada showed he was a pro more than anyone else at the table from 27 down to 2.  I was very impressed with his play throughout.  I can't wait to see how all the action from the final table translates into an ESPN episode.

Between Darvin Moon and Joseph Cada, I think Moon would be better for poker.  A win by Cada would be a lot like Eastgate winning last year.  He's the young guy who is making a living playing poker.  We get it and every other college kid gets it too.  I'm sure the number of young online players is currently rising and will continue to grow whether Cada wins or not.

For those across the nation and world who are against poker, we don't need more glamourising kids dropping out of college to become poker pros.  We know it happens and they are probably a big part of the growth, but it doesn't help with the vision we want to portray to the world about the legalization of poker.  Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I feel.

Now as for Moon, here is a guy who took no advertising deal for the final table, instead choosing to be his own man and wear his N.O. Saints hat.  He's the guy that is reminding everyone out there that it is okay to work hard, but also enjoy the game of poker without it getting to you.  In every interview I've heard of him so far, he says he won't change and will be going back to work no matter what happens.  Yeah that would suck as far as an ambassador of poker, but it helps show the world that it's okay to go play some poker, enjoy it, but not let it change you and your family.  To me, that is a win for the legalization of poker both online and off.  What am I missing here?

Joe Sebok and Jordan from HighOnPoker sound a lot alike.  I can't remember if that has ever come up in his or other blogs, but I could definitely hear it in the audiocast last night.  In fact, Sebok and Jordan share a similar sense of humor.  I found myself laughing quite often at a Sebok comment, which is pretty much what happens anytime I'm around Jordan.  Methinks Mr. HighOnPoker should consider his own podcast or, at the very least, be a guest on poker podcasts whenever possible.  It wouldn't even have to be solely about poker.  I would dig a podcast of various discussions from him.

Okay that's going to have to do it for me.  Please leave a comment if you'd like to discuss various thoughts from my topics above.  

posted by TripJax @ 2:33 PM,


At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Jordan from HighOnPoker said...

Hey Trip. I was lying in bed about a year or more ago, listening to PokerRoad or maybe its predecessor show(s) with Joe Sebok and suddenly I noticed, "Hey, that's me!" We have very similar voices and cadence of speech. You are also correct in that we have a similar sense of humor. Because of that, I feel instant fealty with Sebock. Also, let me throw out there that I'm available for podcasts as either myself or the Evil Joe Sebok.

At 7:40 PM, Blogger BWoP said...

Short-Stacked Shamus was present for the Moon / Kopp diamond debacle and says that ESPN's time is approximate to actual time.

"Watching the hand again last night was a little disorienting, that massive doom cloud hanging over Kopp’s head kind of affecting my focus. (Don’t, don’t, don’t!) One thing I was able to notice was that ESPN’s editing didn’t seem to alter the timing of the hand all that much.

That is to say, if my memory serves, the amount of time each player appeared to take to make each decision was pretty much what you saw last night. In other words, I believe Kopp really took about a half-minute there before announcing he was all in, and Moon about 15 seconds or so to make the call."

Full post at (November 4th entry).

At 8:23 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

Thanks BWoP. I thought I had read that somewhere, but couldn't remember details or where I had seen it.

That's truly mind boggling. It boggles the mind.

Jordan, when I texted you about my realization, you apparently called me by accident as I got a call from you not long after and it was just you amongst people with mumbled talking in the background. I couldn't make anything out and quickly realized it was a failcall. I let it go knowing someday I'd get a chance to tell here it is...

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Yep, that was my memory of it -- neither took much time at all for those turn decisions. In that PokerNews interview from September, Kopp doesn't refer to the time he took, but does describe Moon's final decision as a "snap-call." Wild stuff, indeed.


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