2007 World Series: When Stars Collide

As the dinner break approached, the crowd of 1300+ players had been halved down to 638 players. Many PokerStars qualifiers made moves through the first three levels of the day.

Scottsdale's Andrew Qiu doubled his stack, from 85k up to 170k. Art "ott2323" Cole had a nice run as well. "I started with 108k, and in the first few hands I took out a short stack with pocket kings. I was the chipleader at the table, and that brought me to around 150k or so." The mortgage broker knows about risk management, and he applied these skills to the poker table today. "I played alot of small ball," Art said. "The 1s tripled up and got some chips, but really I've just tried to keep the pots I'm involved in small."

Art Cole
© Neil Stoddart

Blair Hinkle and Gualter Salles sat next to one another. Gualter started with 79k and had built it up to 210k while Blair had been stuck in the 100-115k range almost since the beginning. Gualter raised and was called by Blair. He check/called every round of betting that Gualter fired at him on an A-8-9-4-2 board. Gualter fired into the river, his fourth beat at the pot. Gualter thought long and hard, making the call with A-6s after Blair showed J-9s.

Gualter told me, "I can't believe he called the flop bet." Blair's take was a bit different. "We met yesterday, I was with Rizen," he told me. That would be Eric "Rizen" Lynch, a favorite player of many knowledgeable players and a PokerStars qualifier last year. "I kept four betting him, and I felt like I knew his game very well. I like him alot and respect his game, but I needed to bust him."

The University of Missouri student hadn't had much of a day. "I'm a loose aggressive player, but I had to slow down when everyone kept calling me. I was pretty card dead, and nothing much was happening until that hand." Blair and Gualter both sat around 170k, well behind Richard Weisman's 454k. It's easy to forget, though, that Blar, Gualter, and Art were above average at the WSOP Main Event. They'll play for three hours and twenty-two minutes, ending around midnight tonight.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in