WSOP Main Event: Day 2A Wrap-up

Jason "strassa2" Strasser goes big

by Brad "Otis" Willis

It's a little odd. For the past 18 months, I've been sweating players for a living. I stand behind them all day long, watch their hands, track their play, and report how things are going.

If today were any ordinary day, I would've been camped in the back of the Amazon ballroom watching Jason "strassa2" Strasser. After all, he happens to be one of my favorite young players. At just 21 years old, he's jumped into the American poker scene like he's been playing forever. And to be fair, although he is an American, he's been playing over seas off and on for the past 18 months or so.

But, with the exception of a couple of stolen moments (only one of which was noticed by the young Strasser), I stayed as far from Jason as I could. Why? Well, it's been well documented that I am his version of kryptonite. I am the cursed totem from the Brady Bunch Hawaii episode. I am a jinx.

PokerStars Card Room Manager Lee Jones, a Duke Blue Devil like Strasser, issued strict instructions: "Stay away from Strasser."

As Wil Wheaton and I are known to have a bit of the black-cat, under-the-ladder-walking, born on Friday the 13th about us, Lee made sure we stayed away. As such, Wil, in an homage to Dr. Pauly's Bouncin' Around the Room updates, bounced around the room himself:

"Then I saw Strassa2. Holy. Dog. Crap. Mother. Of. The. Jackson. Five. He had more chips in front of him than I have in my entire house. (This fact is very impressive, especially if you know that I have an entire closet filled with chipsets, thanks to well-meaning relatives who know that I like to play cards.) In fact, as I write this, he is the chip leader. Wow. The nice kid who came into the PokerStars suite two weeks ago and wanted me to tell Otis that he was doing well is the mothergrabbing chipleader in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker.

And that's when Wil ran away me to join me in the Room of Doom (the place where Unluck Boxes mingle with the dregs of poker society).

Still, we knew we needed to keep an eye on Strasser. So, we sent in Team Blog's Craig Cunningham to keep track of the young poker phenom. He wrote:

He sat in the 3s of Table 5 for almost ten hours, his back to the wall with a clear view of his table and the entire room. Noise cancelling headphones adorn his head, with one often askew from his right ear. He has a focus during hands that is similar to a John Juanda or Phil Ivey. His mannerisms at the table could pass for these two as well; not identical, but a vague similarity. The slight pursing of lips as play moves on after his hand has been mucked, an occasional tilting of the head. When decisions are ready to be made, he does so and decisively at that.

For more on Strasser's day, read "Jason Strasser Takes Control."

As the day came to a close, PokerStars had several stacks among the top ten. Jon Lane (apparently more than $400K), Matt Maroon ($208,000), and Strasser ($319,000) appear to all sit in the top fifteen in chips. For a look at approximate chip counts, check out Selected Day 2A Chip Counts.

This is the kind of day I like here. As Team Blog's C.J. Hoyt said, "PokerStars had a very good day."

And this was the kind of day that players like, too. Late in the afternoon, the WSOP officials announced that the winner of this year's main event will get $12 million bucks.

OFFICIAL 2006 WSOP Payouts

From the beginning of that day until the end, Team Blog covered our players. From the the sleep patterns of our players, to the Aussies and Kiwis, to PokerStarsPokerStars poker ambassadors, it was another full day.

How Did You Sleep? (by C.J. Hoyt)
Aussies and Kiwis at the WSOP (by Ali Lightman)
Returning to the Scene of the Crime (by Craig Cunningham)
Poker Ambassadors (by Dr. Pauly)
Brenes says PokerStars is good luck--GreenStein as T-Rex (by Wil Wheaton)
Great News: Katja in a terrible mood (by Mad Harper)
Flusfeder makes Day 2 (by David Flusfeder)
Jason "strassa2" Strasser Takes Control (by Craig Cunningham)
Royalty Dips a Toe in the Deep End - Tom Parker Bowles and Nate Kelley (by Mad Harper)
On the Bubble

As the day drew to a close, players could smell the money. When everyone returns on Friday, they will be just a few hours from the money. That will be $14,000 in the pocket of anyone who can survive until Friday night. And then millions for the few that survive for another week.

That's one of a few smells that people will enjoy in the Amazon Ballroom.
Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker