2008 World Series: Swimming ahead of the shoal
It's getting kind of near to the end of day two -- the second day two -- which means the perpetual downward tick of player numbers is dripping us closer to the money, while the ever-increasing blind levels continue to apply pressure to the short stacks and encourage that point-of-no-return all in push.
Such are the truisms of tournament poker, although they are by no means the only ones. It's also around about this time in any tournament featuring a shoal of PokerStars qualifiers that some of them decide it's time to leave the safe anonymity of the pack and appear right at the front, hauling a huge stack of chips with them. No matter how many times we cover a tournament, no matter how diligently we try to make sure we know about everyone, and no matter how any event progresses, this always happens. A few players slip the net.
We are left with no option but to apologise, admit defeat, and try to catch up. This is what we're doing here.
Folks, meet Steve Chung, from Hong Kong, who has a story to tell.
By his own admission, a friend "dragged" Chung along to the PokerStars live cardroom in Macau. He had never played a live poker tournament before and wasn't too keen, especially when he was turned away from the island after taking the 6am ferry because he didn't have his passport. "All I wanted to do was play golf," Chung said, so he went back to Hong Kong and went to sleep.
But his buddy InSun, who had already qualified to play the WSOP, had other ideas and insisted he came back to the gambling island. Chung relented, returned, and played some cash games until the cardroom manager announced the World Series satellite event had a couple of spare seats. Not to disappoint InSun, Chung anted up the HKD5,000 (approximately $640 US) played the tournament, won his seat, and came to Vegas, where he is now among the day 2B chip-leaders sitting behind 320,000 at last check.
Some commentators are already recalling the story of two friends from the southern hemisphere coming across to play the World Series in Las Vegas, one keen and the other not so. So far, it's the tale of Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem, and we know how that one ended. A repeat anyone?
What Brokos had to say to me, when I asked him about ten minutes ago, was "about 180" meaning 180,000, in chips. We've been talking recently about what would constitute a decent stack going into day three, and anything more than 100,000 is more than enough to make a charge deep into the money. Brokos is in with as good a chance as any.
Also right up there is Alberto Fontrytzner, a PokerStars player from Madrid, Spain. I asked him how his tournament was going just heading into the latest break and his answer was perfectly rational: "If you come to talk to me, it's because it's going well, right?"
It is indeed going well. He started the day with 50,000, ran kings into aces on the feature table, but now sits with at least 250,000. That was courtesy of some pocket pairs against some busted flush draws, plus "a few small pots". He also confessed that his new table is far tougher than his previous postings: "They're all the kind of calling stations that, you know, call with a bit of thought behind it." That has put paid to his previous policy of "raising with queen-five suited, that kind of thing."
Still, all three of these guys can afford to tighten up for a couple of hours and probably cruise into day three. There's just one level until this one is wrapped today. Stay tuned for the late night carnage.