On Day 3 of the WSOP Main Event, I was trying to keep track of several P5ers still in the running for the bracelet and there was a table boasting a couple of P5ers including Hunter "The_HUNT_D" Frey, who was chip leader at one point. As we were covering Hunter, Jill, Adam, and myself slowly began to convince ourselves that another player at his table was more than likely an online kid as well.
Hunter is a friendly enough guy that wheneverI came by his table we would chit chat a bit. Eventually, the mysterious online player began to chime in and later, he introduced himself as Craig. I asked if he was a P5er and he explained that since he mostly played cash games online, he never bothered to join.
From that point on, every time I saw Craig, he would always make an effort to say hi and I would check in on his progress in the ME. Before long, there were only three tables left and Craig was one of the final 30 players. I was unable to cover much of the ME once the Bellagio Cup got going since I needed to be there most of the day, but I learned that Craig was one of the final ten players. They only needed to lose one more player before we were done until the November 9 returned to finish the event in a few months.
At one point, Craig was all-in against another player who had him covered and he was in bad shape with A-Q against the other player's pocket queens. As Craig backdoored a flush to suck out on him, the other reporters in the media room literally booed at the hand, frustrated they couldn't go home. However, I was so relieved because he was the only person left in the tournament that I had much of a rooting interest in. Granted, we have P5er Scott Montgomery, but we didn't find out about him until I was done reporting.
I had the same conflict with my fellow reporters at WPT. Everyone was just looking forward to going home, so when Mike Watson spiked an A on the river to double through David Benyamine during heads up play I got many a glare when I let out an audible "yeah!", happy to see someone I had been following the whole summer do well.
I wonder when I will hit a point in tournament reporting when I am more excited for the thing to just be over versus wanting someone I feel like I know to do well. Hopefully not anytime soon, considering that might be an indication that I am getting tired of what I am doing.
In the meantime, good luck in November Craig Marquis, I'll be rooting for you.