WSOP Main Event: The Best of the Best
By Dr. Pauly and Mad Harper
With 135 players left, PokerStars has 27 representatives still in the mix. The biggest named pro still lurking is the Costa Rican shark, Humberto Brenes. And the biggest online pro still around is Eric "Rizen" Lynch. Let's take a peek at some of the players who are left.
Kyle Bowker is a 23 year old poker pro from upstate New York and playing in his first WSOP championship. He played in two preliminary events but didn't fare well. He's made a final table at the 2005 World Poker Finals at Foxwoods and cashed in the WPT Foxwoods main event taking 81st place. His best finish in a live tournament is a second place finish in a $2K short-handed event in Tunica at a WSOP circuit event. He lost heads-up to Ayaz Mahmood. Bowker has been dating his highschool sweetheart for 5 years and they plan to get married soon.
Dimitri Nobles from Houston, TX caught the attention of everyone at the end of Day 2 when he became the first player to cross the $500K mark in the tournament. He's been wearing an upside down PokerStars visor and considers CJ, a member of PokerStars team blog, as his good luck charm. On several instances, the other players at his table insisted that CJ stay away because whenever CJ would check in on Dimitri's progress, he seemed to scoop a big pot. Dimitri ended up on the feature table and had an up and down day on Saturday, but he's still in the hunt after he ended Day 4 in 13th place in chips.
Eric "Rizen" Lynch wrote on his blog several months ago, "I'm a 27-year-old software engineer from Kansas City, Kansas who also happens to spend a lot of time playing online poker." That's an understatement. Rizen took down the most prestigious weekly online tournament when he won the PokerStars Sunday Million. He also made a final table at this year's WSOP when he took third place in the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'em event that Rafe Furst won. Rizen is a guy that flys under the radar. He's been fighting for chips for the last four days and at several instance, he found himself among the Top 10 chipleaders. He's got plenty of experience playing in large field events and knows how to handle internet players.
Dave Murray is a 21 year-old from Dublin. He got a degree in math and computer science. He also took a job dealing in one of the clubs in Ireland. Combining his deft math skills and what he learned in the box at the poker tables, Murray is making a run at $12 million, while everyone back home on the Emerald Isle is cheering him on. He doesn't have much live experience, but he won a satellite into the EPT Barcelona Open and won a $16 double shootout on PokerStars to win his seat into the WSOP main event. He's 23rd in chips at the start of Day 5. "Dave Murray is the smartest guy in the room," Mike Lacey and Irish pro and poker writer told me yesterday. "His IQ is extraordinary."
Debra Lalor from Sunnyvale, CA is one of three females left in the field. She's a tough cookie too. One of her previous jobs was working as a counselor in a maximum security penitentiary. She's also done labor negotiations for the state of California. She had been sick for most of the early rounds and admitted to throwing up on her breaks due to her sudden illness. She gutted it out and would return to the tables ready to fight. I admire her toughness and she has a shot at becoming the last standing female player in the 2006 WSOP championship. She currently works at the Garden City Casino. Earlier this year, Lalor also took 17th place in the Ladies NL event at the Jack Binion World Poker Open in Tunica, MS.
Rick Mombourquette parlayed $16 into a seat in the $650 main event satellite and eventually a ticket into the $10,000 main. The a 48-year-old construction consultant from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He took down $20K once in a tournament at the Yellowhead Casino in Alberta. He's also a humble guy. He told Mad Harper that, "I hadn't thought about winning this event. I've been playing it one day at a time. I'm a recreational player really. I'm too busy with work and my life to play much poker - online a bit and the occasional weekend tournament. That's about it."
Brian Nadell is an "old school" poker player who's been living in Las Vegas for the last 15 years. Originally from Los Angeles, the 49 year-old cashed in 2003, coming in 60th place in what's become known as 'the Moneymaker year.' He said "It was actually the first time I'd ever played No Limit Hold'em. I play poker how it should be played. I've cahsed four times in the last eight tournaments I've played." Brian is married with three daughters. He started the day with $525K.