WSOP Main Event: Old King Coles

By Howard Swains

Update: Just managed to catch up with Paul Coles, who now has $530,000 after doubling up with 8-8 against A-Q earlier in the level. "I thought I was a goner there," he admitted. But the best hand and best player doesn't always get busted - as Paul's ride to day five has proved.

"I managed to pick up some good reads on players earlier in the tournament and made some good re-raises to pick up pots uncontested. I once had king-ten outdraw jacks, but there's not been any massive stories."

That depends on your definition. Paul has been yo-yoing through the field for four days. He's been down to $21,000, up to $120,000, back down to $80,000. He's also gone from $23,000 to $500,000 in three hours yesterday. He is also one of those players who left it as late as possible to make it into the field, qualifying on the final PokerStars satellite.

"We had three weeks in Vegas booked months ago, but I thought I'd give it a last chance to get into the main event and made it. I then sold ten per cent of myself to two mates for five hundred quid. I wasn't expecting to make it past the first day, so it was a good deal."

So who are the guys who have the investment?

"One of them is that bloke you just saw, but he's obsessed with the beer girls and has gone off to see them again. The other one is still in bed."

That's the true English spirit. Making money in the land of nod, leaving your friends to do the work. Sleep in for another couple of hours, and he could be mates with a millionaire.

Before I met Paul Coles, I had the following, entirely erroneous assumptions to make:

It is almost impossible to believe that a PokerStars player from the left side of the Atlantic would manage to make it to day five of the largest tournament in the history of the game without mentioning it to someone in the media. For some of the more attention-hungry competitors, a successful button steal of the blinds and antes is often sufficient reason to issue a press release.

But for those of us who spell colour with a "u" and delicately sip at hot tea with milk from china cups on the croquet lawns of middle England, there is really nothing to get too excited about. Not even the very real prospect of a $12 million payday. That's only £6.3 million after all, hardly worth disturbing the neighbours for, best bite our bottom lips and keep the upper one reliably stiff.

Such can be the only explanation for the appearance today on our radar screens of Paul Coles, from Bristol, England. He began day five with $239,000 in chips - not one of the chip leaders, admitedly, but having already outlasted more than eight thousand others and guaranteed at least $48,000 in funny money, not a bad achievement either. One might expect to have heard of him. One, however, has not.

Today might break his cover. He currently sits two seats along from Dmitri Nobles, someone you may have heard about once or twice, and Paul could be forgiven for expecting the chance of a double up from our boisterous, brilliant player from Houston. The clash in cultures out on table 141 could be one for the notebooks.

Provided Dmitri doesn't roll over Coles and send him gracefully out of the Rio, I will try to catch up with our elusive man from the West Country and fill in some more biographical details. For now, let's content ourselves with the knowledge that Coles is there, playing, and playing well.

England is quietly proud.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker