LAS VEGAS -- Seven hours of play have been completed on Day 1B and the monotonous post-dinner haze has settled among the tables. Players look glazed as the chips casually fly across the table and fatigue may be setting in. While it sounds comical to those who follow the game from a distance, playing these lengthy sessions at the felt isn't easy. Being seated for hours with aN urgency to focus at all times does take its toll. Go to any poker seminar or talk to any professional and they'll explain that to maximize your efforts at the table, players need to be vigilant to catch any little detail that can help in the long run.
OK, not all players feel that way.
Smartphones have changed the world in general, and poker players, like everyone else, simply can't put them down. The official rules of the WSOP allow players to be on an electronic device as long as the player isn't involved in a hand. When given that opportunity, players will often take advantage. Walking around the playing floor Sunday there's the constant flittering of screens with players looking for anything to keep them occupied as they wait for the next hand to begin. Whether its texting, Facebook or Twitter, players are incessantly seeking something to consume.
Bracelet winner David Bach, seated in Brasilia, along with many others around the three rooms, chose to play on the Open Face Chinese Poker app. As I tweeted Saturday, others are playing online poker. Then there's David Williams who is using his time at the felt to catch up on some TV. Seated in Amazon on Sunday, Williams is enjoying a few moments from House of Cards and nobody at his table bats an eye.
Williams, the 2004 WSOP main event runner-up, bracelet winner and three-time casher at the 2014 WSOP, believes that the distraction helps.
"I started watching House of Cards during the $3,000 Omaha eight-or-better event last week because eight-or-better is all about folding. Something I hate doing," Williams wrote via text. "So I needed something to keep my active mind at bay."
Williams finished sixth in that event for $49,817.
"Poker is all about patience," Williams wrote. "Especially now the way people play. And I get very bored very easily, and when I do, I play bad hands. I put myself in situations that I know better. So since the main event is a marathon and not a sprint, as they say, folding again is key. But while I'm watching, I'm also keeping an eye on everything at the table. I'm very observant and can multitask."
Whatever he's doing, it's working. Williams has chipped up to 95,000 as the final break of the night approaches.
Small blinds: A player fainted during the latest level, sparking a bit of concern throughout the Amazon Room. The player quickly got up off the floor and sat back in his seat as security and medics rushed over to the table. While the player stated he was fine, and rationalized it because he didn't sleep much last night, the Rio is clearly keeping an eye on his health at this point. A total of 2,144 players took their seats on Sunday, making a two-day total of 2,915 and easing any attendance concerns given that the Day 1C total has already surpassed that number on its own. Recent eliminations include Bertrand Grospellier, Joseph Cheong, Chris Tryba, Ludovic Lacay and Mike Leah. Ukrainian Igor Dubinskyy won the Little One for One Drop bracelet. Eric Baldwin finished fifth. Former November Niners playing today include Steve Begleiter, Jason Senti, Michiel Brummelhuis, Ben Lamb, Chino Rheem and Martin Staszko. Begleiter still plays with his group of friends and nearly a dozen of them are here this year to play. Jason Somerville is seated with Vanessa Selbst. The line for registration is beginning to back up into the convention center hallway. This is the first time there's been a significant line since the main event began. Police dogs have been walking through the Rio over the past two days for training.