2009 PCA: The Ballad of Apestyles and Maridu

The popular version of the oft-repeated Bonnie and Clyde story describes the exploits of a young male/female team of lovers/outlaws terrorising the southern states of America during the Great Depression of the early 20th century. They fight, they rob, they stick up banks and they assemble a gang of eager felons to join them, holing up in temporary accommodation across Texas and Louisiana as a base for their hugely profitable operations.

The anti-heroes became darlings of the national press, the nemeses of law enforcement officers across vast swathes of the country and latterly they became the subjects of poems, songs and a movie, which launched the careers of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

Approximately 80 years later--and entirely within the law this time--the exploits of Jon Van Fleet and Maria Mayrinck bear some comparison with Bonnie and Clyde. Van Fleet, perhaps better known as "apestyles" online, had been tearing through the major online tournaments for years before last year he met Mayrinck, originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and better known perhaps as "maridu". Since then, they have become a formidable pair of poker outlaws.

Jon Van Fleet

Maria Mayrinck

Van Fleet had continued to plunder just about every game he's ever played, rising to the top of the online rankings and even releasing a book describing his exploits, while Mayrinck (who once occupied media row as the PokerStars blogger from Brazil) has hung up her press pass and is now a PokerStars sponsored player, appearing on the Latin America Poker Tour, the PCA and the EPT.

What's more, they now live together in a huge rented house in Austin, Texas, and they have taken in a lodger, a new member of the gang of outlaws. And similar to Bonnie and Clyde, they've found themselves one of the sharpest of all young sharp-shooters: it's Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick, the PokerStars Supernova Elite, originally from the United Kingdom.

Stephen Chidwick

Chidwick is that guy we have written a lot about on the EPT this year. At the tender age of 19, he had already become an absolute tyrant on PokerStars, winning MTTs and high stakes sit and goes for fun. He's the kid who won more than 100 satellites to the 2008 World Series Main Event (an approximate million bucks) and also takes down satellite tournaments to just about any major live tournament going.

"Ape and Stevie play about 12 hours a day and qualify for everything," said Mayrink moments ago, describing their recent domestic arrangements. And she went on to describe how the whole gang will be hitting the road again soon: "Stevie has been nominated for the best newcomer at the European Poker Awards, so we're going to that. Then we'll play EPT Deauville, San Remo and Monte Carlo before we'll all come back to Austin."

That will be the coming couple of months, but for now they've got to focus on the day at hand. Van Fleet made it comfortably through yesterday, shoving more than 100,000 into his swag bag before disappearing off into the Bahamian sunset.

Today, Chidwick and Mayrinck have returned to the scene of the crime, and each are still breathing as we enter level five. Chidwick took a bit of a hit before the most recent break and is down to about 7,000; Mayrinck is more comfortable with about 35,000.

Whether they're apprehended and shot down in a hail of bullets, or whether they make good their escape back to Texas with the chest full of treasure, these modern-day outlaws will continue to hog the headlines and capture the imagination for many years to come.

Here's what Mayrinck told the video blog team yesterday about her preparation for today's action:

Watch PCA 09: Maria Mayrinck on PokerStars.tv