The secondary feature table has players around it now… and a large crowd as well. Among those assigned seats there is Mimi Tran, as well as Massimiliano Martinez, he of the roughly 100,000-chip stack. Also with a seat there is the game's greatest attention-getter -- and habitual late-arriver -- Phil Hellmuth.
Well, to be accurate, Hellmuth hasn't quite sat down as yet. The ESPN crew first had Hellmuth repeatedly shoot a short bit of lead-in for a future WSOP broadcast. Wearing a sport jacket and shirt (no tie) -- and no cap, glasses, or "Poker Brat" jersey -- the dapper-looking Hellmuth was asked to walk across the stage to his seat while carrying a microphone.
"Phil Hellmuth here at the World Series of Poker, the biggest and most prestigious post tournament in the world," he said as he walked. Then, as he sat down, Hellmuth added "I'm about to sit down and do some work… back to you Lon and Norm!"
The crew had him repeat the sequence several times, the crowd laughing at each take. It sounded it wasn't as though Hellmuth was botching the lines, but that he was being asked to say different things each time at the very end.
After several takes, it appears they've gotten what they need. Now Hellmuth has disappeared again, though will surely be returning shortly. Those of us on the side were thinking how those repeated takes reminded us of Hellmuth's three runner-up finishes at this year's Series. Today begins his final chance to get the ending right.