W-Day Plus 5: Meet Poker’s Overlords

MSPT Media Director Chad Holloway and Venetian Tournament Director Tommy LaRosa

MSPT Media Director Chad Holloway and Venetian Tournament Director Tommy LaRosa

The poker media have been described as the all-powerful masters of the poker world by some in recent months. I was disappointed that Chad Holloway, host of the Mid-States Poker Tour’s media invitational tournament, didn’t take the opportunity to play that up with a name like MSPT Poker Overlords Tournament or something of the sort.

MSPT put up a seat in their $2M guarantee Main Event for first (and only) prize, and TD Tomma LaRosa—apparently knowing just how high-living most of us writers are—threw in $10 food vouchers, which were snapped up by the participants like fish rising to the top of the tank.

Pretty much everyone there was someone you would know the name of, if not the face. Mo Nuwarrah and Marty Derbyshire of PokerNews (Marty, when he got to my table, said I was “too serious,” but I think it was just three three long days of Colossus). Mark Hoke, Bernard Lee, and even a brief Joe Stapleton sighting.

There were three of us from the WSOP team among the field of 25, including Will Shillibier and Molly Mossey. Will—barely old enough to enter a Vegas casino—is already a far more experienced poker reporter than I am. He was out before me, but Molly was still there after  I left (she didn’t win either). The structure was pretty turbo, with the intent that the game would end in a couple of hours, over before the start of the first flight of the $2M tournament, and I never got above the 2,000 starting stack. Finally got it in under the gun with AxKx and was broken by Diana Cox, the media overlord for the Venetian Poker Room, who had JxJx in the big blind. Also an Oregonian, which I only found out after the fact.

Funny thing is, that’s my photo. I only posted it to the WSOP media team’s Slack feed, but somehow it got around into the general population. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the lighting is so much better than any of the other photos I took, most of which make people look like trolls (see Stapleton and Hoke below, for example). Maybe it’s just Molly.

20160604 MSPT Media Tournament: Mark Hoke20160604 MSPT Media Tournament: Joe Stapleton

Stapleton was sitting just a couple places to the left of Molly on the same table, though he was gone by the time I got her picture on the way out. This is why we have professional photographers.

Rich Bak, winner of the Final Table’s $100K guarantee event in May

Rich Bak hailed me from across the room as we were waiting for the tournament to get going. Like Molly, he took a good photo.

Headed over to Planet Hollywood to play their noon HORSE tournament since I haven’t played it for a while and I’m covering the HORSE tournament next. Did very well on one hand when I made a set of queens in Stud, took out a player who said he was playing the WSOP event (a number of people were there brushing up) then ran into an old man with rolled-up aces on the next Stud rotation as I was drawing to a straight.

Headed back to the house in the late afternoon and sat in the pool while I talked to folks back home. Stayed up later than I planned watching Silicon Valley and Veep and the live stream of the $10,000 Stud final table, then got some sleep before the HORSE tournament in the morning.