Play has started. Kind of. Or it would if enough of the 60 registered players were able to take their seats. When Tournament Director Thomas Kremser gave the order to start firing there were more players on the rail trying to find their seat than there were sitting down. The rule is you need three players to start dealing. Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier has two, Vanessa Rousso two (and a camera in her face), Luca Pagano has three. Dennis Phillips has three. Humberto Brenes just arrived on ElkY’s table, wearing his Costa Rica visor and smelling vaguely of chewing gum, to make it three there. Joe Hachem has five, and that’s as good as a full table. One of them is Vicky Coren, who just twittered that hers wasn’t exactly the easiest line up.
Proving it can be done the tournament dealers pack the only full table in the room
But there are no easy draws today. Barry Greenstein is on Pagano’s table, Ivey sits next to Dennis Phillips, along with Benny Spindler. It’s like an all-star game, spread out over eight tables. But there are still empty seats, surrounded by awkward looking players holding up a receipt in one hand, a drink in the other and a “help me!” expression on their face like it’s the first day of school.
Some of them are dressed that way – bright polo shirts, jeans and scuffed trainers, not exactly looking good for twenty grand but here to high roll. While they wait tournament officials try to iron out the creases in the draw, but it’s uphill work and the dealers keep calling the floor. Erik Seidel wanders around looking at the receipt in his hand and then at every empty seat in turn hoping one of them corresponds. Will Molson does the same and thinks he should be where Phil Ivey is, but gets the spot to Ivey’s left instead.
“How many levels are we playing?” Ivey asked, but that seemed among the lesser concerns and no one answered. More players carrying receipts just arrived and they want to sit down. But they’ll play till around 10pm with a one hour dinner break at 7pm and they’ll be breaks every two levels. There are gaps on some tables but we’re rolling.
Ivey’s concern over the number of levels was soon to prove fruitless – within the first 50 minutes of play he busted after contriving to lose his entire 50,000 stack.
As early as the second hand of play he lost most of his chips when forced to fold on the river with the board showing 6-6-10-10-K. And then, down to his last 6,000 or so, he went all in and was called by Team PokerStars PRO: USA Dennis Phillips:
The board ran good for Phillips, Q♦3♠8♠2♣5♥, and Phil Ivey’s High Roller adventure came to an abrupt halt. Phillips moves up to 54,000.