2008 World Series: A family affair

The chip counters at the World Series are going to have their hands full today as they try to figure out one Hirleman from another.

As Day 2 of Event #2 ($1,500 No-Limit Hold'em) gets underway, there will be three Hirlemans in the field and they are all gunning for a final table. How they ended up in the event together is a story born at the PokerStars tables.

Dan Hirleman is the big brother of the family. In 2004, he started playing some home games with friends and discovered he had a knack for the game. So, while he made this way through pharmacy school, he spent some time playing cheap SNGs.

As often happens in families, Dan told his brother Mark about how much money could be made in the games. Dan gave Mark a few lessons, and soon there were two online poker players in the family. Before long, Mark took a break from writing a novel and started playing fulltime on PokerStars.

"Fast forward to end of last year and my brother is making three times what I was making in my job as a pharmacist," Dan said. "He decided on trying to make it to Supernova Elite for the year. In January I decided to join him and turn pro."

As often happens in poker, the game became a family affair. Sister Emily had been pursuing her Masters degree in Medical Pharmacology. Dan and Mark had been teaching her the game and noted she was doing very well in the low buy-in 45 and 180-player tournaments.

As the World Series drew near, Dan and Mark (who are both near the top of the yearly TLB contest) decided to treat themselves to a World Series event. They bought into Event #2 with their Frequent Player Points.

"Mark and I had played the $1500 buyins at the WSOP before and thought they are comparable in structure and skill level to turbo online tournaments at the $10 level," Dan said. "So, we decided to split Emily's buy-in and stake her as a graduation gift."

This weekend, all three sat down on Day 1 of the event. When the day was over, all three siblings if the Hirleman family emerged with stacks. Dan has 62,000. Brother Mark sits at 9,200. Mark's twin sister Emily has 17,500.

Good luck to all three Hirlemans as they go into Day 2 today.

And good luck to the chip counters in keeping them all straight.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker