2008 World Series: Filling in time

Have we mentioned the pace of this event yet? It bears repeating – this is poker distilled into its purest form and each player has 50,000 reasons not to bust out.

Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein sits at a poker table like you or I might sit if we were forced to listen to a lecture on the ‘origins of boredom’. Head resting on his hand, hand resting on the felt. He’s one big meal away from falling asleep.

Ironic really, considering that Barry is one of the most analytical and focused players at the table. It’s been a good year for Greenstein. He already has a bracelet – his third – from the Razz event a week or so ago and has five cashes so far. This one will not slip him by easily.


Three bracelets happens to be exactly one more than the player sat next to him, Team PokerStars team mate Bill Chen. Bill won two bracelets in the 2006 World Series, in both the limit and no-limit hold’em – a triumph for those who favour a well researched and intensely cerebral belief in effectiveness of numbers.

Watch WSOP 08: Bill Chen's Top 5 Maths Tips on PokerStars.tv

Between the table discussions about golf among other things, Bill pops up from his seat to stretch his legs - a short walk over to the rail and back. He was only caught short once, jogging back on sight of a dealer firing off a new hand, only to arrive late and be forced to hit the brakes, performing a quick U-turn. With the tournament working on slow-mo that dash makes Bill Chen, unofficially, the fastest thing in the Amazon Room right now. He plays hands fast as well, with his glasses edging further down his nose on each street, checking with a wave of the hand if necessary.

Three tables along, and in this tournament area that’s about the same as a first down, there sits the diminutive figure of Dario Minieri, the Team PokerStars Pro who operates at the speed of a sports car and brakes for no one. He shines occasionally thanks largely to a gold wristwatch on one hand, and a gold World Series bracelet, won just a few days ago, on the other - the proud glinting aided by the large lamp suspended above the table. The man deserves a chance to show it off.


The latest news is the rumour that a player has been eliminated, but so far it goes unconfirmed. But despite the ‘Tranquillo’ tempo the rail is thick, with standing room only, and has been since we started several hours ago.

"This is real fun to play" said one player outside for fresh air. It's easy to believe.