Well, bad news folks, I’m out already. Had a very unlucky hand, which I think I played fine, just ran into a flopped flush. For those who understand poker, this is how it went down.

The table was actually quite fast and loose. Poker pro Layne Flack was on my table, doing a lot of limping in and small raises with not very much, and there were at least four other players who were clearly playing a lot of hands.

I’m on the button and look down and see two black Queens. Obviously a very good hand. Blinds were 50/100 and Matt Vengrin (who had been in a lot of pots) raises it to $250. Flack hesitates slightly and calls. When it gets around to me I raise to $750 with my pair of Queens. Both blinds on my left and Matt Vengrin fold.

Flack hesitates momentarily again, and then calls my re-raise $750, I was later to find out he had K-9 of spades when he did this. Actually his call surprised me, because clearly I was pretty much the tightest player on the table. The flop comes J-8-7 all spades, giving Flack a made flush on the flop and a gutshot to a straight flush. By the way, the chance of flopping a flush is 118 to 1, that’s less than 1%. I have an overpair and a draw to the Queen high flush. Flack checks his monster and I decide to move all in, thinking:

  • I have an overpair now, but if he has a King or Ace I don’t want to give him the opportunity of seeing more cards and hitting his King or Ace. He almost definitely doesn’t have a pair of Kings or Aces because if he did he would probably would have popped me back before the flop, so barring a made flush (highly unlikely), two pair, a set or 9-10 for a straight, I currently have him beat;
  • Even if I am beat because he has two pair, a set, a made straight, or even a made flush with two spades less than a Queen, I have the flush draw working for me, and I am 35% chance of hitting that in the two cards remaining if I go all-in;
  • The only possible hand of all his possible holdings that is a disaster for me is two spades including the King or Ace;
  • If I move all-in right now it gives me an opportunity to pick up the pot here and now without giving him any chance to outmaneuver me on the turn or river;
  • There are a lot of drawing possibilities out there that might tempt him to call (unlikely he would call all-in with a draw but it does add a little bit of expectation to the decision);
  • If I get called and manage to win this hand, which is looking pretty good right now, I can double up to 40,000 and then hunker down in my shell for most of the rest of the day and survive through to day 2 hardly taking any risks at all for the rest of the day;

Flack insta-calls me even though I might have had the Ace high flush, which apparently was a risk he was prepared to take, even after I had shown big strength by going all-in. I can’t blame him for that, I took a similar risk, albeit he hadn’t shown any strength yet. The turn was 8 hearts and the river 4 clubs, making no difference to the hand and I’m out.

Sorry folks it was all over in the twinkling of an eye, but that’s tournaments for you. Much of your edge comes from a succeed-or-bust strategy, where you either reach your goal or bust out trying. My only consolation is that I didn’t spend four days struggling to stay alive, and then bust out just before we got to the money, still receiving nothing.

But I’m still committed to bringing Crikey readers updates on the WSOP, so to follow is a rundown of Day 1C:

1,743 players played on day 1C. Players included 1991 winner Brad Daugherty, poker pros Phil Ivey and Allen Cunnigham, Seinfeld star Jason Alexander, Celine Dion’s husband Rene Angelil, 2000 winner Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, 2004 winner Greg Raymer, former NHL player Rick Tocchet, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, 2003 winner Chris Moneymaker, 2002 winner Robert Varkonyi, poker authors and veterans T.J. Cloutier and David Sklansky, poker pros Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, “Cowboy” Kenna James, Men “The Master” Nguyen, and Clonie Gowen, Tony Hachem (brother of 2005 winner Aussie Joe Hachem), poker pro and actor Jennifer Tilley and American Pie star Shannon Elizabeth amongst many other celebrities and poker professionals and amateurs alike.

Mike Panzarella busted out on an incredible hand. He was looking at a board of  , with a pair of Aces in his hand. Mike bet, but his opponent, Takashi Takii, re-raised all in. After Panzarella called Takii flipped over . The final two board cards came  to give Takii four of a kind to send Panzarella packing. To catch two perfect cards like that has odds of nearly 1,000-to-1. Hopefully Panzarella was put on suicide watch for the next 24 hours! What a way to go.

Players eliminated included highly regarded poker pros Phil Ivey, Andy Bloch, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Phil Laak, Shannon Elizabeth, Greg Raymer, Jennifer Tilley, Men “The Master” Nguyen, Clonie Gowen, David Sklansky, T.J. Cloutier, “Cowboy” Kenna James.

662 survived of the starting field of 1,743 players. Amongst them were:


Jeff Norman



Thomas Barnard



Carl Olson



Michael Ium



Juan Fernandez



Takashi Takii



Robert Varkonyi



Chris “Jesus” Ferguson



Allen Cunningham



Todd Brunson



Rene Angelil



Chris Moneymaker



Jason Alexander



Tony Hachem


Day 1D: Monday 9 July

1,783 players played on day 1D. Players included the oldest person to ever play in the WSOP main event, 94 year old Jack “Jeffrey” Wry, poker brat Phil Hellmuth, poker pros Daniel Negreanu and Chip Reese, 2006 winner Jamie Gold, former pro basketballer Ken “Snake” Norman, 2001 winner Carlos Mortensen, Simpsons star Hank Azaria, A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys, Andrew W Scott, Godsmack lead singer Salvatore “Sully” Erna and Australian Julian Powell.

The total number of players for all four day 1s was 6,358, down 2,415 players on last year’s 8,773, but still 739 more than when Joe Hachem won it in 2005, representing massive poker growth in the post-UIGEA poker world. The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act effectively put a halt to online poker sites making the $10,000 entries prizes in their online tournaments. Even if the UIGEA remains in place (and there are many bodies lobbying for its removal), it should only take a year or two before entries to the event return to the record level set in 2006.

This year first place will win US$8,250,000, substantially down from last year’s US$12,000,000, but more than Joe Hachem’s US$7,500,000 first prize in 2005. This year the top 621 places will be paid, all winning a minimum of $20,320.

Players eliminated on day 1D included me L, Chip Reese, poker brat Phil Hellmuth (to the cheers and applause of the other players), 2006 winner Jamie Gold and Chip Reese.

641 survived of the starting field of 1,783 players. Amongst them were:


Josh Evans



Kevin Kim



Jose Barbero



Cyril Bensoussan



Gary Styczynski



Gus Hansen



Michael Binger



Carlos Mortensen



Daniel Negreanu



Jack W. Wry


Day 2A, will be played by the 1,032 survivors from days 1A and 1B, and day 2B will be played by the 1,303 survivors from days 1C and 1D. There are 2,335 players remaining in the tournament from the 6,358 starters.

Live minute-by-minute updates of the tournament are available here