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The WSOP on ESPN: Negreanu and Antonius Take Center Stage

The WSOP on ESPN: Negreanu and Antonius Take Center Stage 0001

Was it really only six and a half weeks ago that we were in Las Vegas with the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event in full swing? The Day 2A dinner break that was cut short for those of us who watched Chris Moneymaker wait for nearly ten minutes (believing Bryan Pellegrino was in the tank) seems like only yesterday, and the cholesterol from those Poker Kitchen nachos we grabbed that evening is likely still clogging our arteries. Last night’s two-hour installment of ESPN’s WSOP coverage brought back some of those fond memories for us, and if you forgot to set the DVR, we have all the highlights for you right here.

Cast of Characters: Daniel Negreanu and Patrik Antonius received the most screen time, captaining the main and secondary featured tables respectively. Episodes five and six also highlighted the progress of former world champions Johnny Chan, Scotty Nguyen, Moneymaker and Joe Cada along with bracelet-winning brothers Michael and Robert Mizrachi.

Not their best game: Negreanu made Day 2 of the Main Event this year, the first time he has done so since 2006. Main Event success has also eluded Antonius, who has never cashed at the “Big Dance.”

Oh, just another three-outer: Last year’s runner-up Darvin Moon paid a visit to Cada at his Day 2 table to check out his progress. When Cada asked Moon how many chips he had (he played on Day 2B), Moon replied, “It was another Davin Moon special. Hit a three-outer and I have 78,000.”

Make room for the Mizrachis: Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi was one of the chip leaders going in to Day 2A. His older brother Robert was also making noise, working his Day 2 starting stack of 89,000 up to 225,000.

Old guys can bluff too: Seventy-something palm-tree salesman Marvin Glusac limped in from late position with {J-Clubs}{9-Clubs}, Negreanu completed the small blind with {J-Diamonds}{6-Spades}, and the big blind checked his option with queen-deuce. Negreanu and Glusac both whiffed on the {10-Spades}{2-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} flop and the action was checked around. Negreanu led out with third pair when the {6-Hearts} turned, but Glusac called despite having not improved. When the {10-Diamonds} hit the river, Negreanu slowed down and checked, opening the door for Glusac to bet 1,300. Although Negreanu didn’t believe Glusac’s action made a whole lot of sense (“Check the flop, call the turn and bet the river when the ten hits?”) he decided to play it safe and fold, letting Glusac get away with the bluff.

VPIP-o-meter: This week, ESPN’s trusty VPIP-o-meter informed us that Negreanu’s 27 percent VPIP was quite a bit above the featured table average of 22 percent.

Quote of the week: A discussion between Negreanu and one of his tablemates about their love of Chihuahuas (Negreanu has a five-pound pup called Mushu) inspired this quip from Norman Chad: “I once asked a woman if she wanted to see my Mushu. I got slapped with a restraining order!”

PokerNews reporters spotted: Field reporters Matt Sexton and Dave King, bloggers Eric Ramsey and Don Peters, video hostess and producer Lynn Gilmartin, and former Tournament Reporting Manager Garry Gates, who was eliminated by Scotty Nguyen.

The Chessmaster and the Kicker: A pair of interesting personalities got their own featurettes during this block of coverage. In 1986, Jeff Sarwer was the world chess champion in his age group (under 10) before disappearing from the limelight. Now in his thirties, Sarwer is making a name for himself on the felt, banking nearly half a million in tournament earnings over the last three years including a third-place finish in the European Poker Tour Vilamoura Main Event. Ten years ago, Heather Sue Mercer, then a placekicker for the Duke University football team, sued the school for gender discrimination and won.

“Law students study (the case), they write papers about me,” Mercer said.

Now working in finance in New York City, Mercer cashed twice in preliminary events at the WSOP, finishing 14th in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout and 15th in the $25,000 NLHE Six-Max event for more than $75,000 in earnings.

Negreanu takes a tumble: After tripling his Day 2 starting stack from 24,000 to 77,000 Daniel Negreanu lost more than one-third of his chips on this hand. Negreanu opened {6-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} from UTG +1, Tony Utnage called with {K-Clubs}{J-Clubs} in the cutoff and Tristan McDonald reraised to 4,600 with {10-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} from the big blind. Both opponents called and they saw a {A-Clubs}{Q-Clubs}{2-Hearts} flop. The action was checked to Negreanu, who bet 6,500 despite having completely missed the flop. Utnage called and McDonald folded the best hand. The turn was the {8-Spades} and Negreanu fired again, making it 13,500 to go. Utnage called with his straight and flush draws. When the {3-Clubs} hit the river, making Utnage’s flush, Negreanu check-folded to his opponent’s shove, putting him on {J-Clubs}{10-Clubs}. Negreanu was left with just under 45,000 in chips.

Notable eliminations: Ted Forrest flipped for his tournament life, moving all-in with {5-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} against {A-Clubs}{K-Hearts}. A king on the turn and an ace on the river sent him to the rail. Dennis Phillips kissed his dreams of three deep runs in three years goodbye on Day 2. The affable Cardinals fan couldn’t get anything going, ultimately shoving from the button with {A-Spades}{J-Hearts}. Carmello Pugliese made the call with pocket sevens and flopped a set, leaving Phillips and his entourage of clones to depart the Amazon Room. Antonio Esfandiari also played his last Main Event hand on Day 2, his {A-Spades}{J-Hearts} falling to pocket tens. His brother Pasha Esfandiary, however, advanced to Day 3.

Whaddya mean you’re all-in?: With the board reading {4-Clubs}{10-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{7-Hearts} on the river, the entire room went on dinner break while Chris Moneymaker sat silently for about ten minutes, not realizing Bryan Pellegrino had raised all-in after Moneymaker bet. When Pellegrino finally called the clock, Moneymaker realized the action was actually on him and quickly made the call for 47,600. Pellegrino insta-mucked and Moneymaker showed {A-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} for two pair.

Antonius snaps off aces: Antonius opened for 2,500 holding {3-Spades}{5-Spades}, Marco Gardonio three-bet to 6,400 with {A-Spades}{A-Clubs} in the small blind and Antonius called. The Finn hit bottom two pair on the {8-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{3-Hearts} flop, a board that wasn’t scary at all for Gardonio’s aces. All the money went in on the flop; Gardonio bet 9,000, Antonius raised to 21,000, Gardonio came back over the top for 60,000, Antonius shoved and Gardonio called, creating a 194,500 pot. Gardonio did not improve, the turn and river falling the {K-Hearts} and the {J-Spades}. As a dejected Gardonio left the table, Antonius stacked up his 300,000 in chips and signed a few hats for a fan.

“The Bracelets”: This week’s look at preliminary event action featured David “Bakes” Baker winning his first bracelet in the $10,000 Deuce-to-Seven event as his girlfriend Maria “Maridu” Mayrinck and poker coach Vanessa Selbst cheered from the rail.

Who’s in? Who’s out: Michael Mizrachi, Robert Mizrachi and Patrik Antonius all ended Day 2 with healthy stacks. 2009’s “Last Woman Standing” Leo Margets hit the rail, but Annie Duke and Heather Sue Mercer advanced to Day 3. Although at one point Negreanu had tripled his 24,000 starting stack to 77,000, he fell back to 29,000 by day’s end.

The 2010 World Series of Poker airs Tuesday evenings on ESPN. Check your local listings.

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