LAPT Punta del Este: Painting the town yellow
We'll concede Jim Croce's point. The south side of Chicago might very well be the baddest part of town, but go a little farther down Illinois' I-55 and you best beware of a man named Ron Wasiel.
You might be a little bit like we are tonight and wondering where in the world Mr. Wasiel came from. He's barely Google-able. He seems to have come from nowhere to climb the the top of the leader board in Day 1 action and it seems nothing can hold him back. On an all undercard board, his opponent has jacks, but Wasiel has queens. On a board reading A-Q-2-4-6 with two clubs, Wasiel makes what appears to be an exceptionally thin value bet (or, perhaps more likely, a bluff) at the pot for 5,000 and gets called. He turns over pocket eights. His opponent taps the table and concedes the eights are good.
Who is this man behind the dark Terminator glasses?
Turns out, Wasiel is a union painter from Illinois. This event in Punta is only his second major event. He went to Macau for the APPT but walked away without a cash. Still, it gave him a taste for the big live events. "It was fun," he said. "It was an experience. I had Vanessa Rousso at my table. How often does a guy get to travel like this?"
Now, the man is amassing yellow 1,000 denomination chips like his paint buckets depend on it. At latest count, Wasiel had moved his stack north of 135,000. That's not bad when you consider the chip average is around 30,000 right now.
You will typically find Wasiel on PokerStars playing $10 rebuy tournaments. He qualified for this event through a $10 3x chance event. With a firm hold on the chip lead, he could easily go back to his room and play a PokerStars tourney and still be near the top of the leaderboard on Day 2.
We're going to guess he won't do that. It takes a lot to be humble when you have more than four times the chip average, but that's how Wasiel is carrying himself tonight.
"There's some good players here," he said. "Some really good players."