WSOP Main Event: Returning to the Scene of the Crime

by Craig Cunningham

As players bag their chips for the first time in a World Series event, an adrenaline rush surges through your body to providing new energy and excitement as players chat excitedly as they leave the Rio. Cab drivers hear all the bad beat stories prior to 3:00AM, but those leaving later have much better stories to tell. After getting back to your hotel at 5:00AM after 15-18 hours at the Rio, players are past the point of physical exhaustion. PokerStars qualifiers starting their Day 2 today had plenty of time to rest and relax. Each player formulated a plan primarily rooted in the chipcounts by their name going into Day 2.

"I just hung out at the hotel the last few days, trying to get well rested," said Hector Garza. "I'm really short stacked, so I'll need to double up quickly to have a chance today. I'm just going to wait for some cards to make a stand."
"I'm sitting at $27k in chips, but I had more until my kings ran into A-J," said Kelly Contreras. Her brother sweated her on Day 1, but he's headed back and now she's alone in the Rio. Being alone isn't something she's used to, and neither is sitting quietly in a room for fifteen hours straight. Kelly is studying to be a nurse, as well as caring for her three boys with her husband Richard back in Lake Stephens, Washington. She relaxed the last couple days, even playing a bit of poker and winning $300 at the Monte Carlo. Jeff Madsen famously became the youngest winner of a WSOP bracelet at the tender age of 21 years 1 month. Kelly may one-up him: she gave birth to their third son a month ago. When asked which makes her more nervous, playing in the World Series of Poker or leaving her newborn at home with her husband and their boys, she gave a big grin. "Richard's great, so I know he's in good hands." With a medium chipcount, Kelly has more options on how she'll move forward today. Taking down a pot in the first twenty minutes won't hurt for sure.

Chris Ellison lost some chips at the end of Day 1 but is in great shape with $51,100. "I played here in 2004, and I really played timidly. My table the first day seemed to have players who were playing like I did then. I was very aggressive at my table, and now my table looks set up for me to continue that." His girlfriend, Tracy Cappel, went back today but stayed with him throughout Day 1. "We would huddle during breaks, talking about hands as she plays as well. It was great to have he; besides the water she'd have for me, it was great support." Since his first day finished, he sat around with Kelly resting and enjoying Las Vegas, taking in a nice dinner each night. The former college baseball player plays poker locally in Detroit and Canada, but online he plays exclusively at PokerStars.

There are two objectives for PokerStars qualifiers today: bag chips at the end of the day, and accumulate enough to make a run for the money Friday. Hector, Kelly, and Chris hope to walk out in the wee hours of the morning, survivors of Day 2.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker