2007 World Series: Rain storm a comin'

It almost looks cloudy in Las Vegas today. Though the sun is still bright, there is a haze in the air that I can only assume is drifting smoke from the numerous wildfires in region. Regardless, in another place--say Nebraska, for instance--hot, hazy air like this is a harbinger of weather calamity. I wondered whether I would see a rare rain here in the valley. I didn't know how close to correct my predictions were.

While the rain has not yet fallen outside, one particular player here seems intent on making the Amazon Room live up to its rain forest namesake. Jeff "mrrain" Banghart sits at Table 226. From a distance, he looks like a surfer. His hair is sun bleached and his face is weathered a bit by time outside. He does not look like your typical pudgy, pale-skinned poker player. However, a poker player he most certainly is. Banghart, known online as mrrain, is a tournament powerhouse. I ran across him a couple years back when he final tabled Event #1 of the 2005 World Championship of online poker. The next year, he won the Sunday Million. This year he took fourth in the World Series Circuit event at Council Bluffs, IA.

Hailing from Bennington, Nebraska (the only thing you can surf on there is corn, I believe) Banghart may sound like some sort of poker/weather deity. And, to be sure, he's got the poker skills and resume to be considered as such. As for the weather, Banghart's company creates it. MrRain also owns a sprinkler system company in Nebraska.

Banghart entered today as the highest-chipped PokerStars player in the field. What's more, since starting the day he has worked his stack up above 230,000. Relaxed, munching on pretzels, and drinking bottled water, Banghart looks ready to make a run here today.

What could be interesting is what happens if Banghart makes it through Day 2. Tomorrow, in Day 2B, PokerStars' Hevad "RaiNKhAN" Khan will go into the day with a big stack himself. If he makes it through, we're setting up the possibility of MrRain and RaiNKhAN clashing in Day 3.

If you've ever seen two weather systems collide over a flat open plain, you know we could be in for a storm for the century.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in