LAS VEGAS -- If you walked by the Penn & Teller Theater in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on Monday afternoon, you may have wondered if you wandered into a St. Patrick's Day party that somehow never ended, despite the fact that it's been nearly eight months since the holiday.
In fact, the men and women dressed in green, covered in Shamrocks, and chanting in French were friends of Marc-Etienne McLaughlin, one of the players at the World Series of Poker's final table.
McLaughlin, whose rail included fellow French-Canadian and 2010 Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel, spent most of Monday on a roller coaster that saw his chip stack go from third at the beginning of play, down to the short stack, and back up into the top three with six players to play. Every pot won was a reason for celebration for McLaughlin's fans, many of whom were wearing animal masks.
"Marc-Etienne McLaughlin's rail looks like the cast of an all-Irish Chronicles of Narnia movie," Tweeted WSOP.com Managing Editor Jessica Wellman earlier in the day. "Lots of ppl dressed like animals."
Every time McLaughlin was in the big blind, his rail chanted "LARRY WALKER," hoping everyone would fold and McLaughlin would get a "walk" and win the pot. (Larry Walker is a Canadian baseball player who played for the Montreal Expos for six seasons when McLaughlin was a preschooler.)
And the three times he did get a walk, McLaughlin celebrated like he won the Main Event, charging up into the stands and high-fiving his supporters.
Unfortunately for McLaughlin and his loyal supporters, his run came to an end when he ran his pocket kings into Jay Farber's pocket aces in perhaps the most pivotal hand of the final table. It catapulted Farber into the chip lead, and sent McLaughlin, who was sitting in third, out of the tournament in sixth place.
"I played great to grind back, and then the hand that killed me, you cannot do anything, so yeah, it's disappointing for sure," said McLaughlin.
While his exit may be disappointing, McLaughlin walks away with just over $1.6 million. And he can take solace in the fact that when it came to the battle of the rails at the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event, he was the clear winner.
Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd has covered the gambling industry since 2006. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi. Follow him on Twitter @CasinoCity_AT.