WSOP Main Event: A PokerStars Record

When you stop in the middle of the room and spin around, you'll be amazed at just how many PokerStars qualifiers you'll see. In fact, today we set a new record. Eight of the 10 players at Table 161 are all PokerStars qualifiers. I kinda feel sorry about the other two guys.

You may remember the last time I wrote about Table 161. It was Day 1A and the PokerStars Five were in seats three through seven. In fact, James "Chelse16" Goodman (FPP Qualifier), England's Matt Tailby and Nate "Jimmytogni" Kelley all survived to the 2nd day.

Here's who we're watching: Jonas "3moany" Ovestad, Serge "adanthar" Radushkevich, John "johnnyv5000" Vellios, Spencer "scossett" Cossette, Brett "bigbrains" Hamburger, Chuck "pokerhands" Agnew, Jeff "csonka39111" Eggenburg, and Todd "Todzila" Thomas.

Photo copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI

Photo copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI

Photo copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI
Brett Hamburger

Photo copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI
Jonas Ovestad

Photo copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI
Spencer Cosette

Photo copyright Rob Gracie - IMPDI
Todd Thomas

Serge started playing poker with the boom a few years ago, but it didn't take him long to find success. His biggest cash is $112,000 after winning the Poker Stars Sunday Million. He put himself through law school playing poker and now works at a non-profit immigration firm. Even if things don't go well today, it's been a very successful month for Serge. He got married on the 22nd and this is his honeymoon.

John's been playing seriously over the past five years, learning on PokerStars and, he says, "hanging out in some places I shouldn't have when I was 16." Last year, he played in the $3000 NL Event but was knocked out when his pocket Kings ran lost to pocket 7's. For John this tournament isn't just about the cash prize, "In the end though, money is just money. It comes and it goes, I'm going out there to play for a bracelet."

There's a good chance Spencer and Brett have faced each other online. After all, they're both Supernova members of the PokerStars VIP Club. You don't reach that status without having a lot of success (and a lot of time on your hands). And if you have played with Brett, maybe you've faced his father Jim "downtheline" Hamburger, who's had plenty of online success himself.

Chuck wasn't sure he was ever going to play poker again. A heart attack put him in the hospital. But when he moved home to recover, he got back online and won his seat on PokerStars. He's been playing and dealing for more than 30 years. Two years ago he cashed in 82nd in the Main Event.

Todd has a really important reason to win. He's the father of twin 5-year olds who were both born with Muscular Dystrophy. When he wins the big prize, he plans to give $1 million each to two charities that have helped his family, the Scottish Rite Foundation and the MDA Foundation.

This group of PokerStars qualifiers is hoping for at least as much success as Day 1A's Table 161. In fact, they all plan on being part of a record number of PokerStars players at the final table.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker