Dmitri Nobles: Who is this guy?

by C.J. Hoyt

Update: 1:11am

Wow. What a finish.

Dmitri says he was on tilt. He told his new table (after moving) that he wasn't happy. They hardly believed him considering the near 500,000 in front of him. Then he explained how he had doubled up 10 players already and was once at 770,000.

On the last hand of the night, Dmitri announced, "I need to bust someone here."

It was folded around to his small blind and he raised, as he had done four consecutive hands. The big blind decided it was a good time to make a move, with the clock striking double zero, and he pushed all in.

Dmitri beat him into the pot.

He flipped pocket Q's and his opponent flipped AT offsuit. Dmitri was facing a three outer. Every card on the board ended up being below a Ten.

Dmitri was back. After running into a brutal last hour, that included doubling up a guy holding KQ against his A6 when he spiked a Queen on the river, Dmitri was due.

When the chips were shipped, Dmitri had 650,000 chips, more than 100,000 than he started the day with, and there was a good chance he'd still be the chip leader.

I think everyone knows who Dmitri Nobles is now.

Update: 12:14am

Disaster for Dmitri.

Normally, someone who loses more than 200,000 chips on one hand would be crippled. When it happened to Dmitri, he was still the chip leader. That doesn't mean it didn't hurt.

Here's how it happened:

Dmitri raised to 10,000 preflop and the 8 Seat called. The flop was Th7hAc. Dmitri bets 10,000 and the 8 Seat calls again. The turn is the 9 of diamonds. Dmitri bets 30,000 and the 8 Seat raises to 110,000, which Dmitri calls in a shot. The river is the 5 of hearts and Dmitri moves all in. The 8 Seat thinks for a good five minutes, at least, before finally calling. Dmitri shows an 8 of hearts to the table and that's it. The 8 Seat had pocket 9's for a set. Dmitri was open-ended, but did not have the flush. His other card was the Q of diamonds.

Update: 11:27pm

[Otis note: CJ couldn't make it back to the media room for this report, so he asked us to post it for him.]

Dmitri meet Dario. Dario meet Dmitri. Now, Dmitri, say goodbye to Dario.

Dario Minieri is out of the event. After bluffing into an overpair with a gutshot draw and losing a lot of his chips, Dario pushed all in with AK. Dmitri called with pocket three, flopped a set, and sent Dario Minieri to the rail.

Now, get this: Dmitri Nobles has 770,000 in chips.

Update: 10:50pm

Remember what I said about Dmitri's plan for the after-dinner play? Well, it doesn't sound like his opponents think he's slowed down at all. As they went on break, a friend of Dario Minieri asked Dmitri how he got all his chips.

"He folds a lot," Dario cut in, sarcastically, with a smile.

"Yeah, that's right," Dmitri said.

"He raised four straight hands," Dario told his friend.

"And I had an Ace every time."

"I don't know about that," Dario said, laughing.

"What? You don't believe a poker player?"

Both Dmitri and Dario have a reason to smile right now. They're well above the average stack of $142,000. In fact, since the last break, Dmitri has climbed about that amount, $141,000, to sit at $641,000. That's still more than $100,000 than 2nd place. Dario is still at $307,000, and not anxious to tangle with the only stack at the table bigger than him.

At one point, Dmitri walked over to Daniel Negreanu's table to see him crippled (he had started the day at $331,000 but found himself under $50,000).

"How you doing?" Daniel asked him.

"I've got more than $600,000."

"That's good... just don't run into the nuts 7 times like I did."

"Ha, I already have!"

And maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration for Dmitri, but he is a poker player after all.

Update: 9:59pm

He's catching cards now. After a couple big hands, including an all-in of KT suited vs. his own AJ offsuit, Dmitri is now up to a whopping 623,000. That means his chip lead is now more than 100,000 over the rest of the field. Of course, things just got a little more interesting. Sitting in the seat vacated by the player busted by Dmitri is none other than PokerStars' own Dario Minieri.

Update: 7:05pm

So if a guy at your table played about 80% of the pots and raised you almost every time, what would you think of him?

"They love me!" Dmitri said when I asked him about his opponents, "Just ask them!"

He's played for 5 hours now and his stack has dwindled from $549,000 to $500,000, yet he's still the chip leader. He's counted about 10 double ups so far against the rest of the table, but it hasn't dissuaded him yet.

"I keep pushing and pushing, til I get a big hand and I'll get all their chips," he says. "I just haven't seen any big hands yet."

When Dmitri gets back from dinner, he expects to cut down on the number of the hands he plays (to which Team PokerStars crack commando research intern Wil Wheaton says, "So he'll just play 60% of the flops?"). He's hoping the cards turn around for him, and if they do, he'll make the same kind of run tonight he made last night.

Update: 5:37pm

When the announcement was made, the players cheered... we're in the money. And when we hit that point, Dmitri Nobles was still the overall chip leader at $500,000. I'll talk to him on the dinner break about play for the first half of today and find out if things are going to change for the rest of the day.

Update: 4:32pm

We're at the money bubble meaning players will play orbit-for-orbit until about 15 players bust. Dmitri, still a huge chip leader, has his stack up to $571,000.

Update: 4:02pm

The second break is now over and players are back at the tables. It was quite a roller coaster for Dmitri in the first 3 hours of play. It seems like he's played about 80% of the hands, at least that's how the rest of the table feels.

"I've doubled up like 5 or 6 other players and I still have more than I started with," he told me on his way out of the room.

And he's right. He's sitting at $553,000, which still puts him more than $100,000 ahead of second place.

On one big hand, he rivered a flush and got a guy to call after calling the clock. On another, he bet the whole way to the river where he caught a Queen, winning another nice pot. Hands like those have kept him going. We're approaching the money bubble now and Dmitri says he doesn't plan on changing his strategy.

"When we get close to the money, I'm going to steal every blind."

Update: 1:43pm

Otis note: CJ has just reported from the floor that Dmitri lost an 80,000 pot when his opponent flopped a flush against him. Dmitri is now down to about 460,000.

Update 1:00pm:

It's break time and there's a little bad news for Dmitri. He's already doubled up two players at his table. The first time, it was for about 50,000 and the second time is was a little more than 30,000. You'd think that would put a dent in Dmitri's huge stack, but it hasn't. The good news is that Dmitri still sits at 534,000 which means he's only down about 15,000.

"I don't mind doubling someone up, because eventually I'll bust them," he says, still confident about his style of play. Here are two hands that will give you an indication of how he's playing:

On a flop of A82, Dmitri called a short stack's all in with just 85 offsuit. His opponent flipped A2 for Aces up. Dmitri was dead to two outs, although that's not outside the realm of possibilities. This time, however, it didn't come.

On the second hand, Dmitri raised to 4000 preflop after a couple limpers. One player called. The flop came down Ah7d9c. Dmitri checked and the 10 Seat bet 7000 which Dmitri called. The turn was the 3s and both players checked. The river was another Ace and Dmitri immediately fired out 14000. The 10 Seat sighed audibly in frustration and folded. Dmitri flipped over his 92 offsuit.

Dmitri is still getting a lot of attention. At one point, PokerStars qualifer Jim Scherer says to him, "Are you so pretty that everybody has to have a picture of you?"

"Nah, I just have a lot of chips," Dmitri told him. "On the first day, I had 3,500, and they were like, 'Who are you?'"

They know now.

Update 11:45am:

He's been the talk of the poker world for three days. Everyone wants to know who managed to amass a massive stack of $549,200 chips by the end of Day 2 of the World Series of Poker. It's nearly unheard of. Dmitri Nobles did it.

Photo copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI
Dmitri Nobles

It's the kind of performance that gets 10-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth's attention. Towards the end of Day 2, he stopped by a few times to check up on Dmitri's progress. It's the kind of performance that gets the poker media talking. ESPN did their big interview yesterday and Dmitri tells me he's not even sure who else he's talked to.

When I talked to him before Day 2 started, Dmitri told me he slept just fine. Today, is a different story.

"I didn't really sleep. I went to bed early at about 8:30, but woke up at 12:30 and watched TV. Then I tried to sleep again at 4:30 and woke up at 7:30."

I can't really blame the guy. I doubt I'd be able to sleep much if I had more than 100,000 chips more than second place. In fact, there's a chance that if you add up the other 9 guys at Dmitri's table, he might still have more than them. Second place at his table is sitting at 130,000.

Dmitri figures that means a lot of the players there won't want to bust out before the money hits (about 300 have to bust for that) so he plans to punish those little stacks who likely won't want to fight with him. It's called big stack poker, and Dmitri is ready to play it.

Previous Dmitri Nobles stories:
Dmitri Nobles: Chip Leader
Dmitri Nobles: Half Million Dollar Man
Dmitri Nobles: Fast and Loose

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker