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Top-10 Nolan Dalla quotes from the 2012 WSOP

25 June 2012

Those of us who watch the World Series of Poker from afar have been able to watch a few final table live feeds and see some amazing things happen. But to truly get a sense of a tournament's flavor, it's best to read accounts from people who are there.

We rely on a number of sources, but our go-to guy in that regard has always been Nolan Dalla.

The often lion-maned Media Director for the WSOP has a penchant for wit in his official tournament summaries. So much so, we created a top-10 list of Nolan's greatest hits from the 2011 WSOP last year.

As expected, Nolan has lived up to expectations this year.

So once again, here are the top-10 Nolan Dalla quotes from official WSOP roundups through the first 40 events of the 2012 WSOP. All text below is directly quoted from Nolan's writings.

10. Event #1: Not afraid to get a dig in on the big brass
Some of the more notable names who cashed included WSOP Executive Ty Stewart, who oversees much of poker's biggest show on earth. Shattering the myth once and for all that poker is a game of skill, Stewart not only miraculously made the money, but was also within a pot or two of making the final table. He finished 19th.

9. Event #6: Epic heads-up battle becomes campfire roast
By 10 p.m., everyone inside the tournament arena -- and a worldwide audience following the action online -- knew they were witnessing something that had never happened before. As things turned out, the old record of seven hours was a mere sprint compared to the brain-mashing 9-hour and 25-minute marathon death match that took place in the Amazon Room at the Rio in Las Vegas on Sunday. By the time (Aubin) Cazals finally extinguished the fire that was (Warwick) Mirzikinian’s spirit – absolutely refusing to surrender his chips no matter what the disadvantage -- players, spectators, and even staff, were camped around the final table like a late-night marshmallow roast.

In the end, Mirzikinian ended up as the toasted marshmallow. All those grueling decisions, all that thinking and rethinking, all that careful planning and contemplation wiped out in a futile session that would have had the exact same financial consequences had he busted out on the first hand, instead of the 300th — some nine hours earlier. Poor Mirzikinian could have had lunch, watched a movie, had a five-course dinner, and then seen a Vegas show for the amount of time he invested in what turned out to be a wasted, albeit gallant, effort.

8. Event #7: Bloch's mustard stain
But in the end, in front of a small circle of intimate friends and well-wishers, Andy Bloch was the victor and vanquisher of all the demons of WSOPs past – finally righting the recurrent wrong that had plagued his otherwise astral tournament career like a mustard stain on a tuxedo.

7. Event #30: The kindness of Larry Wright
Larry (Wright) worked most of his life in the trucking business. He built up a fleet of trucks and specialized in shipping and transportation. When he turned 60, Larry decided he’d worked long and hard enough. He’d made enough money to be happy. So, he decided to give up his successful trucking company.

He sold it. In fact, he sold it directly to his employees.

For how much? Try $1. That’s right, one dollar.

After a lifetime working 12-hour days, sometimes six days a week, Larry walked away from it all and gave up his life’s work over to the people he trusted most – the very people that had helped make him such a success.

6. Event #27: Ylon's possible heritage?
But (Ylon) Schwartz, for all his natural talent and vested commitment, is hardly conventional, either as a poker player or as a person. Aside from his anarchistic look -- equal parts college professor and Rastafarian -- Schwartz is a man who very much does things his way. Alas, if Albert Einstein had a love child with Bob Marley, it would probably look something like Ylon Schwartz.

5. Event #35: Tryba's T-shirts
Despite the six-figure payout and some pretty impressive jewelry, don’t expect (Chris) Tryba to change much, if at all. To get some perspective of exactly who this new poker champion is and how obsessively practical he has become, consider the revealing explanation of why he chooses to wear white T-shirts every single day, at virtually every poker tournament.

Tryba explained that some time ago he was shopping at a discount store. He noticed that white 100-percent cotton T-shirts (size XXX-L) were on sale for three bucks each. So, in one massive swoop -- like a big grizzly bear pawing at a school of salmon -- Tryba emptied out the store's entire rack and stacked a shopping cart full of white t-shirts. He says that he hasn’t had to buy a single shirt since.

4. Event #18: The altar of Phil Hellmuth
Along the way to hyper super-stardom, there were sweetheart deals from those bearing gifts. All sought the occasion to snuggle at the altar of the Phil Hellmuth business empire. First, it was a major online poker site. Then, a phone company came calling. Next, a brand of beer wanted Hellmuth's face on their cans, thereby giving brew guzzlers some esoteric delight in emptying a 16-ounce tall boy and then pulverizing a mini-pint of aluminum emblazoned with "the Poker Brat's face" with a single stomp.

3. Event #22: The lowdown on lowball
Walk into any poker room, anywhere in the world at this very instant, and you might find one or perhaps two games somewhere -- and that's if you are very lucky. Err, make that very unlucky. And if you do manage to find that most elusive of all poker games, that table will probably have three of four lost souls who think The Platters were too racy. Bad news is, if you do sit down those carnivores are likely to devour you like a minnow trapped inside a shark tank. ... A younger person doesn't stand a chance in this game. A first-time player would be drawing stone-cold dead. Only a fool would think of entering this tournament, unless he had decades of poker experience and nicotine-laced skin bronzed in the backrooms of Gardena.

2. Event #12: Heads up Hastings
While (Brian) Hastings is a near-legend in the online world, his status as a live tournament player is one of near anonymity, which suits the former college student just fine. His two previous cashes in WSOP-related events show an eighth-place finish last year at WSOP Europe. Hastings also posted an 11th-place finish at West Palm Beach during last season’s WSOP Circuit. Nice results – but nothing to brag about. So, in a sense, prior to this event, Hastings wasn't simply under the radar. He wasn't even on the screen, at least in the public consciousness.

Consider the morning line the Rio Sportsbook posted on Hastings and his chances to win the coveted gold bracelet. Arguably one of the very best heads-up specialists in the world at the moment, Hastings was listed as an underdog among the finalists.

"Who's the fool who made that line?" Hastings' buddies hollered from across the ESPN stage, while clutching several tickets on their favorite poker horse.

"That would be me!" a suddenly interested Howard Greenbaum barked out, causing several heads to snap turn. "Yeah, we really blew that one," the Vice President of Specialty Gaming for Caesars Entertainment sheepishly added.

1. Event #13: Holy innuendo!
The semi-retired urologist emptied out a poker bladder that initially contained 730 entrants, ultimately erecting poker’s most coveted prize late on the third and final day of competition. The runner up was Stephen Hung, who also enjoyed his deepest penetration ever in a WSOP tournament. The El Cerrito, Calif., part-time poker player collected second-place prize money amounting to $130,903. The urologist's victory was streamed live on
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.