WSOP Main Event: In Search of the Big Story

by Wil Wheaton

Every day, we on Team Blog look for what we call The Big Story. It's been Jason Strasser, The PokerStars Seven (then Five), 2005 World Series Champion Joe Hachem not only surviving to day three, but kicking ass all the way . . . and, of course, Dmitri Nobles, just to name a few of them.

Today, however, we really don't even know where to start. Dmitri is playing his game (and doubling up a few short stacks in the process, but picking off enough smaller pots to maintain his chip position) and looks set to go very, very deep. Jason Strasser is just 100K behind Dmitri, and could very well claim the chip lead by the end of the day. Tom McEvoy won his Main Event title in 1983 (as Dr. Pauly famously observed, "before Jason Strasser was even born") at last count had over 70K, and is one of the very few former world champions left in action, as Carlos Mortensen just busted, about thirty minutes after my friend Ryan eliminated Chris Ferguson.

A few minutes ago, Otis got a call on his phone. When he hung up, he turned to me and said, "I have an assignment for you: you're on Humberto today, because he has a massive stack after busting two players back to back. He could end up being one of the big stories today."

Look at me! I'm the big story!

"I'm on it, sir," I said, as I grabbed my notebook (which is down to one blank page and is about to be retired) and jogged out to the tournament floor.

I walked up to table 142 (studiously avoiding the increasingly rude and inconsiderate ESPN camera crews) and looked for Humberto's trademark visor. It wasn't there, but evidence of Humberto's presence was: an absolutely epic stack of chips that is so large, the tournament staff may be thinking about racing off the pink chips sooner than planned. I looked down at them and started to count, just as Humberto appeared back at his seat.

He looked up at me and smiled, and I said, "So, uh, it looks like you've been playing a little poker, sir."

"Just a little bit," he said with a grin and a shrug, as he sat into his seat during the deal. I pulled my notebook out of my pocket and wrote, "Brenes has a huge stack. Only one other stack is close, entire table looks glum."

Glum? Really? Did I really write "glum?" I'll be sure to drop in a "boss" and a "swell" later on.

Glum? Who is glum?

While cards came out at his table, I looked around and saw Rob "boilingfish" Berryman. Boilingfish is a sentimental favorite of mine, mostly because I know how proud of him his dad is, and how many of his friends back home are cheering for him. I also saw Michael "Mr.Wrong" H., another sentimental favorite, who I'd like to get deep into the money so he can buy his girlfriend -- who he met because I wrote about PokerStars on my blog -- something nice.

Humberto folded his hand, and I saw that he was counting his chips. He looked up at me and said, "It's about 250."

"Awesome." I said. "I think we'll be seeing a lot of each other today."

I jotted down a couple of notes and made my way back to the media room. I don't know what the big story will finally be when the chips are bagged up at the end of day three, but I'm sure it's going to be a good one.

Aside: Remember when I wrote about his button raise a few days ago? I asked him about it yesterday, and he told me that he had absolutely nothing when he got the blinds to fold to him. That's just how he rolls, folks.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker