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Ivey once again draws the crowd at Main Event

9 July 2010

LAS VEGAS -- The biggest names in poker usually bring the biggest crowds, and the scene around Phil Ivey Thursday was testament to that on Day 1D of the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Ivey's table was on the rail in the Amazon Room. Even better, his seat was the closest to the rail, so fans could really get up close and personal.
Phil Ivey was the main attraction on Day 1D and will return on Saturday.

Phil Ivey was the main attraction on Day 1D and will return on Saturday. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

That is, if you were lucky enough to be in the first row of fans. They were stacked three and four deep for most of the first level, and about 40 fans were watching Ivey's every move at a given time.

Other players whose table placement helped draw a crowd on Day 1D included former Main Event champions Joe Hachem, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Barry Greenstein.

Doyle Brunson was at the secondary featured table and also drew a nice number of fans throughout the day.


Day 1D also brought its fair share of celebrities. They were scattered throughout the Amazon Room and the Pavilion and included Hank Azaria, Trishelle Cannatella, Shannon Elizabeth and Emmitt Smith (who somehow butchered the famed "Shuffle up and deal").

Jason Alexander also competed in the final Day 1 of the Main Event, and within 10 minutes of the tournament starting he was getting a massage.

The noticeably svelte actor of Seinfeld fame drew plenty of attention during play, including some camera time with ESPN. He was involved in a major pot during the first level at the same time someone from the table next to him hit quad fives.

The neighboring table briefly erupted when the four of a kind were shown, but the ESPN cameras remained fixed on Alexander's table.

"I think George Costanza is more interesting than quad fives," quipped a player.

Jason Alexander gets an early massage during Thursday

Jason Alexander gets an early massage during Thursday's action. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

The temperature could be pushing triple digits outside, but inside the Rio the air-conditioning is on full blast. Table 63 in the Pavilion had the unfortunate distinction of being right below one of the air-conditioning vents.

So Aaron "Never Miss" Massey had an idea. Why not get the entire table something warm to wear?

Steven Mao, who was staying at the Palazzo Suites in the Rio, called up the hotel and made a simple request to the butlers: bring nine Snuggies to the Rio.

Two hours later, nine boxes of dark blue and sky blue Snuggies arrived at the table. The players happily opened the boxes and tried them on.

"Oh, this is so much finer," said one player.

"It's so good," said another player.

Someone at the table, mindful that this is the Internet age and that there were TV cameras everywhere, knew what he had to do next.

"I got to put my PokerStars patch on my Snuggie," he said.

The others at the table wised up as well, and those with patches put them on their Snuggies.


Tournament chatter increased several notches around 6:30 as the most important question in the history of sports was answered: Where would LeBron James play next year?
Yes, those are players wearing Snuggies.

Yes, those are players wearing Snuggies. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

Fans crowded around the various TVs that were set up along the rails as each one was showing the announcement. This being ESPN and LeBron James, the process dragged on for quite a bit and some players were getting antsy. Players speculated that James's red shirt meant he was heading to Miami.

The camera then focused in on James's face.

"LeBron is all in!" a player yelled.

None of the TVs in the Amazon Room had volume, so players had to do some lip-reading.
"I think he just said Miami!" said a player who left his table to get a closer view.

When ESPN flashed a graphic that said James had indeed signed with the Miami Heat, there were a few cheers but they were drowned up by boos and catcalls.

"I hate you, LeBron!"


"Couldn't do it on your own!"

Players who weren't near TVs found out about the decision when a tournament official took a microphone and simply said, "Miami."


A man older than the last three champions combined competed in the Main Event for the fourth year in a row. Jack Ury was seated in the Pavilion, with his grandson by his side to help stack his chips when he won a pot.

Tournament Director Jack Effel acknowledged Ury's presence in the field during his opening remarks. At 97, Ury is the oldest player ever to compete in the Main Event and was still alive (literally and figuratively) when play ended.
Ivey once again draws the crowd at Main Event is republished from