2007 World Series: RaiNKhaN set to meet mrrain as Day 2 ends

I wrongly assumed RaiNKhaN's table would break shortly after dinner. The battle between RaiNKhaN and Gus Hansen, I thought, would have to wait for another day. I must have had the table breaking order wrong in my head, because the table remained firmly in place. In fact, when Sorel Mizzi sat down in the one seat, three of the top five in chips were sitting in the same table. Though I thought I'd written enough about RaiNKhaN in one day, there was no way I could leave the table.

When I walked back up and caught RaiNKhaN's eye, I noticed a much bigger chip stack in front of him.

I mouthed the words, "What happened?"

RaiNKhaN perked up. ESPN cameras had been trained on him for several minutes as he delivered a Red Bull-fueled monologue for the ages.

"Well, he said, "I can't miss. I couldn't miss if I tried."

He looked over at Gus Hansen. It now looked like RaiNKhaN might have Hansen covered. "This guy, though," RaiNKhaN said, "He's loose aggressive." I noted a bit of playful sarcasm in his voice. "The book on him says to fold. Volume one: Fold. Volume two: Don't ante too much."

Check out this guy...

A cocktail server arrived and RaiNKhaN ordered another Red Bull. While he waited, he started flirting with the pretty dealer. "Red Bull? No Red Bull for you? What do you drink? Smirnoff Ice?"

The media was crowding in now. RaiNKhaN had become a sideshow all his own. A boom mic got too close and knocked a hanging table # sign off the overhead light. It crashed down right in front of RaiNKhaN.

"Oh, no! The poker gods are getting angry at me and telling me to shut up," he said. "I'm not until it hits me in the head."

Media crush

Then began RaiNKhaN's political rant about online poker, culminating in a line I won't soon forget. "I want my FPPs! I want to get a million stress balls and swim around in them like Duck Tales!"

Gus Hansen had finally had enough. The RaiNKhaN monologue had been going on for about five minutes when Hansen said, "I'm going to listen to some music if you don't mind."

"I don't mind," RaiNKhaN said. "I'm just going to yell right though it."

Hansen stuffed his iPod ear buds in his ears and pressed play.

"Oh my God," he said. "No battery."

RaiNKhaN exploded with joy. "I run good! Screw aces! No batteries!"

Hansen took it well and said, "That's a bad beat right there."

Finally the media crush became much too crushing. A member of nearly every media outlet in the room had settled in around the table. A nervous-looking man whose job it is to move people along (think a street beat cop moving bums off a stoop) started waving his hands and ushering people out of the way. While an end to my fun, it was probably a good decision. Before long somebody would've tripped into one of the huge stacks on the table and caused a big mess. By night's end, the table finally ended up breaking with a few minutes left to go in play. That means there's a much better chance the storm I predicted. It happens if RaiNKhaN and Day 2a chip leader Jeff "mrrain" Banghart collide on Day 3.

I love it when two storms collide. Smells like poker.

And so, as the final few minutes of the evening tick away, I'm going to have to go to bed imagining a tall chip-eating monster swimming around in a million PokerStars stress balls. Like Duck Tales, no less.


It's not all fun news in the Amazon Room tonight. Bernard Lee, 2005 FPP 13th place finisher, hadn't been able to find a hand all day. At one point, he stepped away from his table. "I don't know how many times I've seen A4 today he said." We all know, when you squeeze A4, it gives you that half-second of hope that your day is about to turn around with pocket aces. "King-ten is almost as bad," he said. Of course, that can look a bit like pocket kings.

Pocket kings...what a pleasure they would be to find when Lee was shortstacked and in need of a double-up. And, why there they are! Lee got it all in versus AJ. It was a favorable position to be in but an unfavorable flop of JJx. So ended Lee's run at another deep finish here at the World Series.

Another unfortunate exit late today was Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu. Although he looked strong early in the day and spent all day on ESPN TV table, he couldn't find the right cards at the right time. He had to survive another thirty minutes in the day but flopped top pair against top set.

Bye, Kid

As we mentioned before, Lee had been sitting with Day chip leader Jeff Norman all day. Norman has held strong built not built much on his monster starting stack. Toward day's end, he found Jesus. As it happened, he found Jesus sitting on his left--perhaps not the best of epiphanies at this stage in the tournament. Nonetheless, Norman can still enter Day 3 with a better than average stack.

Still alive at the end tonight, Team PokerStars' Humberto Brenes.

"I have not really played a hand for three hours and now I am sprinting hard," Brenes said. He has been quiet for much of the evening, but as the session neared its end he changed gears to ensure that if he was to get into Day Three, it would be with chips.

Twice in the space of ten minutes he was all in, twice he forced his opponents to fold - the first being Spain's Carlos Mortensen - and twice his sharks were employed to gobble up the pot as the dealer pushed it over. Team PokerStars' Humberto now sits on over 90,000. He's at a tough table now - not only has Mortensen, who won this event in 2001, joined the table, but Dario Minieri too.

The PokerStars SuperNova has been a busy boy, as mountains of 100 chips - those used for the antes - rose up from the table in front of him. As soon as the tournament director announced to the room that some of those could be colored up, Dario was the first to skulk off to find an armful of racks.

Joining the rest of the PokerStars team is a heretofore unrecognized talent in the field. Scottsdale, Arizona's Joe "tutnik" Pharo has been around the game for quite a while. His earliest cash in online tournament databases shows his biggest cash was a $16,000 finish back in 1995. Since then, Pharo has racked up a number of in-the-money finishes in tournaments all over the states. He cashed in four Series events last year and one this year before playing the main event. Now he's worked his stack up to around 350,000.

Joe Pharo

Speaking of Joes, 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem stepped in late tonight. He's been out of the event for more than 24 hours, but he came back tonight to offer a little pick-me-up to his brother Tony who is still cruising along with about 100,000 chips in the event tonight.

The Brothers Hachem

Day 3 will begin at noon on Thursday. For the first time the entire field will come together. While it is in neither of their best interests, I'm privately hoping for a mrrain vs RaiNKhaN table.

Here's a look back at today's coverage.

Fasten your seatbelts

Chip leader Jeff Norman surfs in

Moneymaker on fire

Four places, four faces

How to play small stacks, how to play big stacks


RaiNKhaN meet Gus, Gus meet RaiNKhaN

When Stars collide

Jacks beat up kings again

All photos © Neil Stoddart

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in