The weather here in Kyiv has been quite mild, with temperatures in the 70s most days. Been a nice week in that respect, with blue skies and just a few clouds. Was cooler than that walking over to the Sport Palace yesterday morning -- enough so to require a jacket. Inside the arena is a bit warmer (no jacket required), and there is some extra humidity here that may affect those who don’t normally live in humid environments. Comfortable, though.
I mentioned before how there are a number of folks on media row, such as Benjo, Marc Convey, and others with whom I’ve worked and/or know from the WSOP. Forgot also to mention two other familiar faces here in Kyiv -- Kevin and Robbie from the Rio, who are here acting as tournament directors for the various events. Was cool to see them, and a little surreal seeming.
Saw Robbie yesterday and told him I’d been looking for him during the power outage on Wednesday because I wanted to ask him if flash photography was permitted anywhere inside the Sport Arena. (Inside joke, there -- those of us who’ve worked with Robbie are most familiar with his frequent admonitions at WSOP events, wryly delivered in his unmistakable baritone, that “no flash photography is permitted anywhere inside the Amazon Room.”) Told him I’d come 5,000 miles to ask him that.
Play yesterday went quite rapidly, with two-thirds of the 203 returning players being eliminated in just five 75-minute levels. Brought back memories of the final days of the WSOP Main Event this summer, when many players seemed plenty willing to gamble it up with 80-plus big blinds. I don’t think those planning the tourney thought we’d be losing players at quite the clip we did on Thursday, so they’re adjusting the schedule as we go to ensure the tourney stretches out over the scheduled five days of play.
As I say, the plan is three more days, with the final two getting covered for television. Sounds like they’ll be playing down from 71 to 32 players today, then 32 to 8, then have that eight-handed final table on Sunday. As a result we may get to enjoy somewhat shorter days today and tomorrow, meaning Eric (FerricRamsium) and I might get a chance to get out and see a little bit of the city before we leave on Monday. The rest of our crew -- Gloria, Jeremy, and John -- made it out already to shoot some video and take photos yesterday while Eric and I were at the Sport Palace.
As far as reporting went yesterday, all was fairly straightforward. Nothing nearly as exciting happened as Wednesday’s power outage. Some interesting hands here and there, but mostly just chronicling the fast pace of the eliminations and the emergence of the tourney’s big stacks.
Making that fifty-yard walk back and forth between the floor and the laptop does pose a bit of a challenge sometimes, since when sitting at the computer yr too far away from the action to know if something is happening. Also, as I mentioned yesterday, media row is separated from the poker by curtains (in that picture above, the tourney is playing out on the other side). So while we can sometimes hear announcements and such, we can’t really follow anything when on our side.
So it can be hit or miss, sometimes, as far as getting good hands goes. Of course, we’ve reached the stage of the tourney now where we know most of the players by sight, which means when we do get hands they are easier to report. A good thing, since by now just about all of the (relatively few) “name” players who made the trip are busto. “Miami” John Cernuto is still in, as are a couple of others who are somewhat known from other EPT events. But I’m meeting pretty much all of these guys -- and the one lady who is left, Lika Gerasimova -- for the first time.
There’s a €20,000 “High Rollers” event scheduled to begin today, although we’re hearing there aren’t too many players who’ve expressed interest in playing that one. I think Gus Hansen may have stuck around for it, and Shaun Deeb (who went out of the Main Event yesterday) might be wanting to play it, too, although it isn’t certain the tourney will even be played. They’ve had a few other lower buy-in side events this week -- including a ladies’ event -- although the field sizes have been fairly modest for those. We’ll see.
One tourney that will definitely be happening is a PokerStars-sponsored media tourney. We’re to play that not long after play concludes today. Ought to be fun. Will report how that goes tomorrow.
Meanwhile, see you over at PokerNews’ live reporting page.