Poker.org returns today with another handful of photos and accompanying tales from the 2022 World Series of Poker. It’s been a rousing opening week for the 2022 WSOP, with the opening weekend’s “Housewarming” event exceeding most onlookers’ expectations, a handful of minor controversies emerging — nothing usual there — and of course, Norman Chad’s bowling shoes.
If the first week of the series is any indication, it’ll be a busy and entertaining summer. Here’s a bit of what your dedicated reporter and admittedly amateur photographer witnessed as the series quickly hit full pace:
The “tanking” debate reemerges — The $25,000 Heads-up No-Limit Hold’em Championship, Event #6, saw popular high-stakes pro Dan Smith collect his elusive first WSOP bracelet. Smith’s finale against German pro Christoph Vogelsang. As their championship match progressed, Vogelsang, who often wears a hoodie or a snood pulled over his face in important situations, began tanking for extremely long periods before each action, in a seeming attempt to rattle Smith. Vogelsang also employed the tactic in his semifinal match against Kevin Rabichow. The stalling didn’t phase Smith who captured the title, but it did kick off a widespread surge of commentary on social media, mostly protests against Vogelsong’s inactions and renewed calls for a shot clock in such events. Here’s a shot of the finalists, which didn’t differ a lot from the all-but-unwatchable livestream of the event.
Hoping for the folds — Speaking of final tables, here’s a moment of truth for well-known pro and commentator Nick Schulman, who has moved all in at the Event #3 $2,500 NLH finale. Schulman survived this hand, but he was knocked out a short while later, earning a sixth-place cash worth $53,296 in the event where Scott Seiver earned his fourth career bracelet.
A correctable error, featuring Mark Seif, on the Housewarming 1C bubble — Mistakes occur, and quite often, they’re correctable. Here’s a situation from Day 1C of the $500 Housewarming involving two-time bracelet winner Mark Seif. There’s a larger situation going on amid the entire Bally’s Grand Ballroom, where over 100 tables remain in action. Roughly 15 minutes earlier, hand-for-hand action at the 1C flight’s money bubble began, and at this juncture, the flight has been paused for about 10 more minutes; the tourney directors believe the bubble has burst with a couple of knockouts elsewhere, and they’re still going table to table and communicating via radio to assure themselves and all the remaining players that they’re in the money.
Except at Seif’s table, the dealer (identity blurred) mistakenly hears what he thinks is the order to continue dealing. This is an outer table, on the rail, and there is a lot of extra, miscellaneous noise. The players have also heard the general chatter in the room that the bubble had already burst, as Seif tells me a minute or so later. The cards are dealt and Seif quickly moves in his short stack, a little over 200,000, from early position. Then everyone realizes, due to a shout from a neighboring table, that the tourney is still officially frozen. A couple of senior WSOP tourney directors come over to assess the situation. Seif immediately asserts that his betting action can’t be undone, and the directors agree; the hand is frozen at that point, with all his chips already committed to the pot.
Several more minutes elapse before the TDs are satisfied that the money bubble has burst. Seif and I chat about various topics for a few minutes, and he quietly tells me, “I don’t have anything. I’ve got a pair of fives.” Eventually play resumes, with the TDs instructing all players who bust to stay in their seats, as directors will come to them with their cashout tickets. But it won’t be Seif heading to the window, at least in this hand. He’s called from the blinds by A-Q, but his fives hold up on a dry runout, and he survives the strange moment.
WSOP Twitter Czar on Duty — In the big multi-flight events, once late registration and re-entries begin in earnest, the line to register typically becomes shorter than the waiting line to be assigned a seat and receive chips. Here Kevin Mathers, the famed KevMath on Twitter, monitors what’s roughly the back third of the line on Day 1A of the Housewarming. The late-reg lines on Days 1B and 1C were at times significantly longer.
Norman Chad’s lucky bowling shoes – As many followers of veteran Main Event television commentator Norman Chad have learned on Twitter, he had an “Oops!” moment several days ago when he went bowling, then forgot to change back to his street shoes. He returned the following day, but his own shoes were nowhere to be found, so he kept the bowling shoes. Whether his own shoes were the only pair he brought this trip or whether he’s been wearing the bowling shoes for luck is up for debate, but Chad rode those sliding soles all the way to the final two tables in Event $3, $1,500 Dealer’s Choice Six-Handed.
Chip racks! — The WSOP has carts and carts of ’em. Just sayin’….
Ferguson’s POY banner passed by by thousands daily — All of the famed WSOP Player of the Year and Main Event champion banners are on display throughout the Bally’s side of the WSOP footprint. The Main Event banners ring the Bally’s Event Center, where the Mothership and other feature tables await, while the POY banners occupy other available wall space, including the main hallway leading from Bally’s casino floor to the WSOP playing area. The banners are in sequential order, but there’s not quite enough room, so just around the corner and into a sidewall from Shaun Deeb’s 2018 POY banner, Chris Ferguson’s 2017 banner receives little direct traffic and sits opposite some utility rooms. Drill through the wall of any of those utility rooms, and you’d be inside the WSOP’s main media center. So Ferguson’s banner is close by, as these words are written, but it’s likely to have a quiet summer.
We’ll back in a few days with another edition of Poker.org at the WSOP, and we’ll also be publishing a huge photo dump in the near future, serving up many of the hundreds of player photos we’ve already obtained at this year’s series. Check back for more!
Featured image source: Haley Hintze