2008 PCA: Familiar faces
Fans of televised poker will recognise the two faces below. One is Barry Greenstein, one is Hevad Khan. Both have had their fair share of screentime in the past year or so.
Greenstein is a stalwart on "High Stakes Poker", arguably the most fascinating televised spectacle for the poker purist. For those who have never seen it, High Stakes Poker is a cash game featuring some of the most fearsome players in the business, stumping up their own money to play a no-limit cash game, where the minimum buy-in is, most recently, $500,000.
There's none of the all-in pre-flop shenanigans common in some of the final-table tournament play. These guys play through every street for pots getting near to a million dollars. The regular line up includes Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Patrik Antonious -- and Barry Greenstein, maintaining a silent table presence as he clambers his way to a fortune. Huge wins, bad beats are all taken very much in his stride.
RainKhan, on the other hand, first bounded into poker viewers' field of vision via YouTube, when a clip surfaced of him playing more than 20 sit 'n' goes on PokerStars, all at the same time.
Then, as a PokerStars qualifier to the 2007 World Series, Hevad secured his place in the limelight with a boisterous charge to the final table, engaging, entertaining and infuriating in equal measure.
These days, Hevad is nothing like his television persona. The World Series was a one off and the adrenalin was pumping hard. For the most part he's as steady, polite and seated as the next man -- Barry Greenstein, for instance.
These two Team PokerStars Pro members are on adjacent tables here at the Atlantis, where they're both still in with a shout. Hevad just doubled up his 8,000 stack when his K-10 outdrew an opponent's A-Q. But he then shipped most of it back, when his queens lost to eights.
Barry, on the other hand, recently folded six hands in a row, then picked up all the blinds and antes he'd surrendered with a firm pre-flop raise that got no callers. He has something around 22,000 as we enter level six.
Two players, two styles, one team, and one shared ambition: to still be here when the PCA crown is awarded on Thursday evening.
Here's a look at some more familiar faces in today's flight.
All photos © Neil Stoddart