LAS VEGAS -- I think I echo the feelings of most of the poker media when I say that reporting on poker all day every day gives you the itch to play. Unfortunately, getting onto the felt isn't an option, given how long each day of the main event lasts and the limited staffing for pretty much all of the media organizations here in Vegas.
The media event became a tradition a number of years ago, but was absent from both the 2012 and 2013 schedules when the day off in between the Day 2s and Day 3s was removed. A few days before the main event, the WSOP offered a solution and re-established the media-only event to be played during today's dinner break. The structure featured 10,000 chips with 20-minute levels for the first hour, and 15-minute levels from that point on. Essentially, it was a super turbo.
You'll find two different kinds of players in the media event. The first group of players will take it extremely seriously, and considering this is "our" main event, I completely understand that. The second group is filled with players who are just there to have fun since this will probably be the only time they'll play anytime soon. I'm obviously in that second group and was fully prepared to bust out in 10 minutes, get some food and write a little bit. Picking up aces against K-K and J-J in the first level changed that pretty quickly.
I'm not going to bore anyone with the details, but I finished 21st out of the 105 that entered. Definitely no brag there. It was a great time to talk and compete against those who we interact with daily. It provided a good release from the monotony of the day-to-day coverage and although I didn't win, it was a fun way to spend a few hours at the Rio. Thanks, WSOP, for the tournament and I hope you keep it as part of the rotation in the future.
As for the main event... Will anyone stop Michael Mizrachi? After starting the day with 176,100, Mizrachi dropped significantly and was down underneath 100,000 during the second level of play. Then Mizrachi became Mizrachi. He won a few small pots to chip up to where he started, then won two massive pots to become the first player over 400,000 and 500,000 in chips. Mizrachi holds the overall lead in the tournament so far and is looking to become the first player to make a repeat November Nine appearance.
Mark Kroon, the chip leader entering 2C, has kept pace for the most part, but has held stead since before dinner with 450,000 in chips. Jean-Robert Bellande has entered the top 10 with a dominating performance in Brasilia. Bellande has three main event cashes since 2008. Haralabos Voulgaris, Allen Cunningham, Vivek Rajkumar, Bryn Kenney and Theo Jorgensen are also among the day's leaders. Jason Mercier, Eric Baldwin, Matt Waxman, Owais Ahmed and Joseph Hachem were recently eliminated.
Phil Hellmuth and Phil Ivey have similar stacks in the 150,000 chip range. The blinds are now 500/1,000 with a 100 ante and the last level of play will be 600/1,200 with a 200 ante.
Small blinds: The husband and wife seated together aren't slow-playing one bit. Recently Scott Born doubled through his wife, Laura Green, by hitting a runner-runner straight when he was all-in. ... Chris Moneymaker has been shooting a segment with the ESPN production crew for a little bit. ... There is nobody that acts faster in the game than Rob Salaburu. ... The Amazon Room seems a little smoky due to the fog that the production team is using. ... I knocked out WSOP executive director Ty Stewart in the media event. Career highlight for sure. ... Brandon Steven and I discussed the massage thoughts just before the dinner break. He told me that during the $111,111 high roller, he had the same masseuse with him all tournament and was among the leaders. Then she leaves with 37 seconds to go in the level and his kings get cracked. Moral of the story, she's not leaving his side during the main event. ... I mentioned earlier this morning that Chris Tryba knocked out Jerry Yang. The two apparently have a little bit of history together from a main event at Binions in 2008 when Yang was slightly out of line, banging the table and yelling after Tryba folded to his bluff on a key hand. Needless to say, Tryba had been waiting for this moment ever since.