Shuffle Up and Deal

Wideshotofstart_1The crowds at the Rio are busting out the seams.  The riffling of chips creates a calming symphony that almost hushes the buzz of anticipation from the crowd.  The 2005 WSOP Main Event is about to begin.

Tournament director Johnny Grooms tells the dealers to "Shuffle up and deal" at 11:08 (PST).  Cards are dealt.  Sunglasses adjusted.  Chips splashed.  Action is underway.

We first see Scotty Ngyuen.  He sits near the main entrance at table 107, laughing it up with the people around him.  Scotty’s mullet is looking more like Ice Cube circa "Straight Outta Compton" with each passing day.

Not far away is one of the many celebrities playing the event, Shannon Elizabeth (table 187).  Her hanger-on boyfriend is "in position."  As always, he stands directly behind her, not saying a word, watching everything she does.  Be it at the celebrity/media tournament, or at the Bodog party at Rain, this is the only position he seems to know.  The guy is a laugh a minute, we tell ya.

Gus Hansen sits at table 99.  He throws a 100 chip at a flop of A-K-K.  One guy folds, but another re-raises Gus 100.  Does Gus have the Kings?  Apparently not, as he quickly mucks.

Unfortunately some poor sap didn’t have the foresight to lay down a hand like Gus.  Our first player is eliminated 17 minutes in.  No word yet on how, but we did witness the second person sent packing, as his straight to the Queen gets beat by a sucked out boat (Jacks over Queens) on the river.

ClonieCameras swarm Brett "Gank" Jungblut at table 94.  He’s gotten rid of the dreds (though probably not the blunts) and is dressed in a suit.  Looking much better though a few tables away is Clonie Gowen.  All the guys around her nervously laugh at anything she says, acting like the popular cheerleader just sat at their 4th period lunch table.  Clonie’s Full Tilt team members, Lee Watkinson and Erik Seidel, are not far off at tables 122 and 153, respectively.  Erik is having perhaps his best ever WSOP, and is primed to do some real damage in this year’s Main Event.

Walking through, we find the Phil "the Unabomber" Laak at table 24…


The Unabomber wears his trademarked grey hoody, but has decided not to wear his shoes.  His main squeeze and recent bracelet winner Jennifer Tilly is shouting distance away from him at table 30.  She re-raises a pot with two others, making it 500 to go.  They both fold.  She scoops the pot with a sly smirk on her face.

The master of sly smirks, Devilfish Ulliott, sits at table 34.  He re-raises another Brit sitting directly to his right.  Devilfish tells him, "I know you don’t have Aces."  The Brit laughs and folds.

Greenstein1Making our way to the press room, we spot Barry Greenstein at table 135.  His stack looks decimated, as does Jenn Harman who took a huge hit to her count while seated at the featured ESPN table and her boat got runner-runner’d by a straight flush. The horrendously bad beat left her fuming, and as she walked out into the hallway to let off some steam, she asked WCP’s Snake for a smoke, which he couldn’t oblige but he did listen to her story. Harman was dealt Q-Q and the board ended up showing Qd-Jd-10c-10d-7d. But painfully for her, her opponent showed 8d-9d for the runner-runner straight flush. Severely shortstacked, Harman soon after became the first big name knocked out of this year’s main event.


The players pile out now on their first break into the hallways of the Rio, filling it with smoke.  More action to come…


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