2008 World Series: Similarities and differences

One has long hair, the other short. One is emblazoned by fine jewellery and sparkle, the other wears a simple wristwatch. One wears flash designer clothes, the other simple playing attire. And one looks animated as he plays, whilst the other always looks tired.

But whilst there are differences it’s the similarities that are important – they’re both among the elite players in the world and as far as that goes they have nothing left to prove – yet they approach each event as if they have something to prove. Every year these tow scale even greater heights and few are able to keep up with them. They are of course PokerStars sponsored player Scotty Nguyen and Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein.

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Scotty Nguyen

It’s been a great year for both of these guys. Scotty was the big winner, taking the honours, the bracelet and close to $2 million in the prestigious $50,000 HORSE championship, (an event in which Greenstein finished sixth) and made the final for the $2,500 no limit hold’em.

Greenstein meanwhile picked up his bracelet in the $1,500 Razz event, one of six cashes that also included a close run third place in the $5,000 2-7 draw lowball a few weeks ago.

Finding him in the Amazon Room is easy. Simply follow the camera man, the boom man, the light man, the producer with the clipboard and there he is! Racing to get some action, that team arrived out of breath (with me trailing) just in time to see him fold.

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Barry Greenstein

They did witness a table of players ignoring the high-pitched alarm siren though, which may or may not have signalled that the building was on fire. Instead the prevailing mood was one of ‘forget that, there’s a hand to be played’. Sure, it’s a simple joke to make at the expense of the players, but this is the main event which comes with an altogether different feel. If there actually was a fire (there isn’t by the way), the flames would have to be licking the ankles of those playing a hand before they made a move for the door, and even then pot odds would probably have some part to play. Anyway, I doubt if these guys even heard the siren.

Scotty meanwhile plays on the feature table, closely watched by dozens of spectators filling the lounge and bleachers overlooking the stage, and about the same number of camera tucked into every gap around and above the stage. The latest? Scotty has the same 20,000 he started with as we head into the second break, whilst Barry is close to 30,000.

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Scotty and Barry may be World Series regulars but also here are young hopefuls looking to get a break for themselves, among them the PokerStars qualifiers. One of those is Ryan Skluzak from the United States. He bought in with FPPs (that’s, count them, 700,000 of them) and is making his first trip back here since 2005. He spoke to the PokerStars video blog team earlier...


Watch WSOP 08: Ryan Skluzak Online Qualifier on PokerStars.tv