WSOP Main Event: Playing With the Pros

by C.J. Hoyt

For some people, it's hard enough to play in your first ever World Series of Poker Main Event. In fact, even if you have played in this before, you may still run into something you've never faced before.

Television cameras.

Playing at the final table is one thing, but playing out amongst the masses usually provides some degree of anonimity. For a few PokerStars qualifiers, they have no such luxury.

Vince "vinny_vegas1" Martignetti and Jules Sin found themselves just a few seats away from the newest inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame, T.J. Cloutier. He's kind of a big deal.

Jules Sim found out first-hand what it's like to run into one of the true greats. In the first hour of play, he found himself with a pocket pair of Aces. He put in a healthy raise, only to be called by T.J.

"I would have pushed all in if he came over the top of me," Jules said.

The flop came down J-high, with two hearts. Jules bet and T.J. called again. The turn was a Jack of hearts and this slowed both players down. When the river was yet another heart, Jules knew he was in trouble with his two black Aces. Jules checked and called a small river bet from T.J. who showed pocket Q's, including the Queen of hearts. It was the second time T.J. cracked Aces in the first hour of play.

Cory Zeidman and Halldor Mar Sverrisson ("casinoice") have spent most of their tournament with a boom mic inches above their head. That's because television-favorite Jen Harman was sitting right beside them.

This isn't the first time Cory has tangled with Jen Harman in front of the cameras. You may remember last year when Jen suffered one of the most brutal beats when Cory nailed his one-outer to a straight flush on the river. It was the hand that crippled her and sent her to the rail shortly thereafter.

Of course, if Cory had his way, he'd have sent her to the rail again. After coming back from a break, Cory looked down at pocket J's on the first hand. He raised it up to 1000 and was immediately raised by Jen Harman who pushed all in for her final 1375. Cory called, saying softly, "Jacks." Jen sighed and flipped over her pair of Jacks, too. She was clearly disappointed in the chop, but I'm guessing Cory was, too.

Finally, Scott "10avefrezout" Wanzer has gotten up close and personal with "The Unabomber," Phil Laak, who's sitting to his left.

"He was all the way down to 2500," Scott told me, "but he just tripled up to 7500. Now he's got chips to play with again."

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker