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Pavilion starts out buzzing, ends the day quietly at the WSOP

13 Jul 2010

By Aaron Todd
It's been three years since I last covered the World Series of Poker. Some things haven't changed since my last trip in 2007: spectators still gawk at the players they've seen on TV, players still suffer ridiculous beats and there's still a stampede to the Poker Kitchen during the dinner break.

But there have been some pretty significant changes, too. And the most notable change is the addition of the Pavilion, where 257 tables fill all of the cavernous 55,488 square feet of space.

My return to the WSOP began today, as Day 3 started and the entire tournament field was playing at the same time for the first time. I remembered being overwhelmed during my last visit by the size of the field and the scope of the tournament. How could I possibly cover it all? But as I wandered around the Amazon Room, I was strangely comforted by how familiar it all felt.

Then I walked into the Pavilion.

Allen Cunningham finished up Day 3 in the Pavilion with scores of empty tables in the background.

Allen Cunningham finished up Day 3 in the Pavilion with scores of empty tables in the background. (photo by Vin Narayanan)

The mammoth room is more than 50 percent larger than the Amazon Room, which boasts a truly impressive 39,040 square of its own. Tables were divided into four massive sections, two of which were in full use on Monday, and one which was half-full. While the Amazon Room hosts a featured table with staging and stadium seating, as well as a few secondary featured tables, the Pavilion just has poker tables.

As players were eliminated during Day 3's eight hours of play, tables were broken from the Pavilion, with many players being sent to the Amazon Room, where the entire tournament field will be housed within the same four walls for the first time, most likely early in Tuesday's Day 4.

At the end of the day, a mere 18 tables remained from the 166 that began the day in the Pavilion. (The Amazon Room holds an additional 120 tables.) The largest room in tournament poker had gone from a packed house to an almost empty one in a mere eight hours.

Walking back into the Amazon Room as play came to a close on Day 3, the difference was palpable. The Amazon Room had a remarkable buzz, caused by the hustle and bustle of more than 1,000 players knowing they'd survived another day. Meanwhile, in the Pavilion, the tone was much more subdued, almost in deference to the roughly 1,300 players who had been eliminated.

But it won't be long (another day or two) before the energy in the Amazon Room suffers the same fate as the Pavilion. The only difference is that the last player to bust out in the Pavilion will be headed home out of the money. The last player eliminated from the Amazon room will walk away with $635,011 and a tenth-place finish -- one spot shy of the November Nine.
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