WSOP Main Event: Dmitri Nobles at the Featured Table
Now that's a final table.
The table changed yet again and this time, Dmitri had some rather interest company. World class pro David Chiu started the day with more than 600,000 chips, but by the time he got to Dmitri's table, he was short stacked and didn't last long. The other world class pro at the table was Team Pokerstars' Humberto Brenes, who was holding court, as usual. Also at the new featured table were PokerStars qualifiers Sean Johnson and Doug Kim.
With some new blood, there were sharks swimming in the water. In fact, Humberto used his shark card-capper to taunt players into folding, playing the the cameras as much as you'd expect. It didn't always work. At one point, Dmitri pulled a nice bluff from the button, showing his hand to the table.
That may seem like he was trying to show up his opponents, but it was all in good fun. The players were clearly enjoying themselves and the PokerStars players were gathering chips.
When the long day finally came to an end, Dmitri found himself back up over a million at 1,270,000. It was another roller coaster, but those of us who have been following him are used to it.
Things changed again after dinner. It's been a roller coaster from the start and it just won't end. This time, Dmitri saw his stack dip from the million he had before the break to around 750,000. It's not that he lost a big hand, it's that he lost a lot of little ones. His raises weren't getting the same respect and he just didn't have the cards to back up his bets.
Finally, ESPN stepped in and gave him a hand. They broke his table, sending the other 8 players scattering, while leaving Dmitri in front of the cameras. Over the last hour of play, he's managed to steal his way back up to 874,000 without having to show down a hand.
When this break ends, Dmitri will be back among the masses and the featured table cameras will be dark. With two hours to play, it's time to find chips, although Dmitri insists he won't be playing too aggressively. He's still solidly above average, so there's no reason to risk signifcant portions of his stack. Of course, as we've seen, that doesn't mean he won't!
It's dinner break and Dmitri is a 1 million chip man.
I asked him for one word to describe the last two hours of play.
"I'm being good," Dmitri called over to me from his seat at the Featured Table.
"That's good," I told him.
He makes the universal sign for "tight" and says, "I'm gonna keep these for awhile. I like the way they look."
And yes they do. All 904,500.
The second level of the day was obviously a little different from the first level. He had worked his way all the way down to about 150,000 when he stole some blinds, "Whew... I'm glad nobody called that one."
The next hand, Dmitri faced a raise and tossed his "All-In" chip into the middle. His opponent wasted no time in calling and flipped up pocket Tens. Dmitri had just A7 offsuit. When the flop came down Q5A, the crowd erupted. Dmitri was suddenly back up to 360,000.
Just a few hands later, Dmitri found himself in a hand with his nemesis from the 4 Seat. With an 8-high flop, Dmitri fired 100,000 into the pot. The 4 Seat pushed and Dmitri called. The 4 Seat showed pocket Kings. Dmitri was dead to 5 outs. The 4 Seat had trapped him again. But when the Ace fell on the turn, the crowd's reaction was even louder.
After two suckouts, Dmitri knew he'd get paid off as soon as he got a hand. When he held AK on a King high flop, the 1 Seat pushed with KJ. No Jack fell and Dmitri was now up to more than 900,000 chips.
It's one of the most remarkable runs I've seen in the history of the World Series of Poker. He was dead to three outs preflop and dead to five outs postflop. Both times, he escaped, and now Dmitri is back, ready for more.
"I saw all the big stacks at the table pushing around," Dmitri told me, "and I said, 'That's my job.'"
CJ reports that Dmitri Nobles is on a sick, sick run and is now up to 880,000 in chips. In the past hour and half, Nobles has cracked kings with a naked ace and his AK held up against KJ. CJ will be back with a full report shortly.
Maybe it's the television cameras. Maybe it's a run of bad luck. Or maybe the cards have just caught up with him. But anyway you look at it, Dmitri Nobles had a bad first couple of hours.
Starting the day, Dmitri was just 4,000 chips out of the lead, with a huge 650,000 stack. With the buzz he's created through the first few days, ESPN figured it was time to give him his time in the spotlight.
As play began, Dmitri's style hadn't changed. Every pot he came into he came in with a raise. He won his first four pots and on the fifth, got raised, "Watch me, I'll try it again," he told the table when he folded.
Just a few hands later, he tangled with the same player, putting a big bet out after a flop of 7h5h4c. His opponent folded and Dmitri mucked, "I don't want to embarrass him."
It wasn't long, however, before Dmitri ran into trouble. The first time, he doubled up a player in a monster pot when he ran into pocket Aces. Shortly after that, his flopped top pair was outkicked. Dmitri was suddenly down to just 226,000 chips, or about the average stack in the room.
"I thought that was it," he said, wanting a big pot. "I should have just rolled over my Queen instead of betting."
His opponents were clearly taking advanage of Dmitri's aggressive style, but things were about to change.
"I'm tightening up," he told me while taking a short break after that big pot, "Next hand I play will be Aces, Kings or Queens."
Perhaps a break will be just what Dmitri needs. When he comes back, it looks like he'll have his rally cap on. Dmitri's signature upside-down PokerStars visor is now right-side up.