2007 World Series: Licensed to Thrill

by Simon Young

More than a 1,700 players showed up today hoping to serve up the WSOP title on a plate. Only one, of course, from this and the three other Day 1 flights will be able to feast on that particular prize in just over a week's time. But hang on, someone's already beaten the lot of them to it. As I stepped outside to take a breather from the throng of human madness that is The Rio, I happened upon this handsome Lincoln Navigator with a fitting license plate. Maybe its owner knows something we don't, and is preparing to drive off into the sunset with a Main Event bracelet in the trunk.

The owner knows how to change gears

One of those riding the waves in the treacherous poker sea today is New Yorker Josh Wittenberg. He qualified on PokerStars in a $33 rebuy, and spent days wondering how he should approach the early stages of his shot at The Big One. "I wanted to play my own game," he said, "but at the same time I wanted to be conservative and try and build slowly in the early levels."

All the best laid plans go wrong, however, and Josh's day has got off to an unexpected, but welcome, start. Just 30 minutes into this marathon he had more or less doubled up, sitting behind a pretty pile of 37,000, the result, he said, of rivering a full house with his pocket kings.

Josh Wittenberg

Josh, who works as a counsellor for kids in schools back in New York, is used to being an excellent shoulder to cry on. Hopefully he made his unlucky opponent, who had until the river been sitting on trips, feel a bit better despite his misfortune.

Tasty hands are being served up dealers in bucketloads. I passed one table just as two players were chopping the 10,000 pot - both holding A-A. Then, just as I got to the neighboring table, K-K was getting all in against A-A. The bullets held up... for once.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in