WSOP Main Event: How'd You Sleep?

by C.J. Hoyt

Update on Steph Klempner as of 1:04pm at the bottom

It's a good question for PokerStars qualifiers who are playing in day 2 of their very first WSOP Main Event. I'd have to guess that my night might be a little restless.

Cory Butler


Cory Butler, starting stack $90,250

If I were, Cory, I'd probably have slept like a baby last night. He starts the day with more chips than all but 11 players in the room.

"Did you sleep well last night?" I asked him.

"Oh, yeah."

"With Annie Duke on your right, the ESPN cameras should be around a lot today, will that bother you?"

"I'm just happy to be here."

I'll call this the big stack attitude. A good night's sleep and a perpetual smile.

Alex Brigante


Alex Brigante, starting stack $37,075

"You know what, I didn't sleep well at all last night," Alex told me on the cab ride from Treasure Island to the Rio.

Today Alex finds himself in seat 9 at Table 9. Yesterday he began play in seat 9 before being moved to Scotty Nguyen's table where he sat down in, you guessed it, seat 9. Perhaps quad 9's are on the horizon.

This Toronto native has a good stack to start the day, about $12,000 more than average, and about $20,000 more than when he got to day 2 last year. But sometimes sitting in the middle can be the worst spot of all. We'll call this the medium stack attitude.

Steph Klempner


Steph Klempner, starting stack $9,175

"I slept great! I got up, did some yoga, went to the pool, had breakfast," Steph told me as the cards were being dealt.

Steph spent most of her first day under the glare of the TV lights as she watched 10-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth flame out in just 2 hours of play. She was later moved to Howard Lederer's table where he would bust out shortly thereafter. Outlasting pros certainly hasn't been Steph's problem.

Building a chip stack has, however, as she finds herself on the low end of the scoreboard. But there's a certain freedom to playing with so few chips. It's clear from her smile that Steph is excited to be back for day 2. She also knows that her play is pretty limited to big hands that will likely include risking all her chips.

"I have a strategy," she tells me. If I had to guess what it is, I think it's to have fun. We'll call this the short stack attitude.

Update: Apparently the strategy worked because Steph now finds herself at more than $27,000. It started when she pushed all in with AQ after an undercard flop and got called by pocket 8s. An Ace on the turn doubled her up. Then, just two hands later, Steph found pocket A's and got all in after a 9-high flop against pocket J's. It's the first player she's busted all tournament.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker