In just one day, the landscape of the cash games at the Rio Convention Center has changed drastically. Along with the usual $2/5, $5/10, and $10/25 no-limit hold'em games, we witnessed the first $25/50 no-limit hold'em table, along with a very large $25/50 pot-limit Omaha game.
Limit hold'em tables made their return, with $4/8, $10/20, $20/40, $50/100, and $100/200 tables being spread, along with some $10/20 and $20/40 limit Omaha-8 or better tables introduced and a fun $20/40 B.O.T.E mixed game.
The most interesting table of the day, though, was the new $200/400 mixed game table. Featuring a mix of pot-limit Omaha, razz, 2-7 triple draw, and Omaha-8, the game included the likes of Josh Arieh and Robert Williamson, among others, hiding behind walls of black $100 chips. These players would coolly rake in thousand-dollar pots without so much as cracking a smile.
There was also a fairly big game spread in the high-stakes area of the Rio; a $75/150 Omaha-8 or better game. Fan favorite Marcel Luske stopped by and played for a bit, much to the pleasure of the railbirds watching.
The scene at the Rio so far, though, has been all about the medium- to high-stakes PLO and hold'em games, which are filled with younger players. Some of these games filled with up-and-coming players are incredibly social. For example, a $5/10 no-limit game filled with 20-somethings with fairly deep stacks featured a rule that everyone had to take table shots, along with a rotating masseuse who worked on each player. Looking around at the PLO tables, too, there were faces young enough to be checked for IDs filling many of the seats.
With the quick-paced structure of the first heat of the $1,500 no-limit tournament today, the cash games were packed with players on tournament tilt who had just busted out. The inevitable bad beats and coolers that players faced in such a shallow tournament led to some very good action. One player who was still in the event sat down in my game during the dinner break and raised the first 15 hands he saw, exclaiming, "I've been playing so tight in that thing, I need to get some aggression out!"
Another fun development in this year's WSOP cash games has been the introduction of the All In energy drink. All In, which is a sponsor for this year's series, is providing complimentary energy drinks to players, creating an army of poker zombies that play throughout the night. Games are still going through the wee hours of the morning, with players who can't resist free energy drink warping from completely zoned out to fits of hyperactive energy.
All in all, the games are starting to get bigger, more exciting, and more packed. The World Series is just starting to gain steam, players haven't gone broke yet, and everyone is eager to see where this crazy ride is going to go next!