2008 World Series: Another wave floods into the Rio

As I exited the Rio late last night, leaving the blog in the capable hands of my colleague Stephen Bartley, I wondered whether I'd return this morning and find him still here. At the time, Team PokerStars Pros Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu were chipped up in the $50,000 HORSE, team-mate Victoria Coren and sponsored player Kirill Gerasimov were approaching the bubble in the $2,000 event, and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier was the tournament big-stack in the $5,000 short handed event.

The latter of those seemed likely to keep Stephen here all night. They had to play down to a final table of six, and ElkY was looking good to be on it. Well, happy that I am that Stephen got some sleep, it's a shame to report that ElkY just missed out on his first WSOP final table, running A-J into aces to finish in 16th. Such is no limit hold 'em.


Still, this is the World Series and when one tournament ends, at least one more begins, and several others enter their crucial middle periods. Today being Saturday, it means that the Rio is currently filled to bursting with no-limit hold 'em fanatics: event 49 is one of those ever-popular $1,500 buy in events. More than 2,700 players are maxing this one out: tables are crammed into both the Amazon and Brasilia rooms, in the main casino poker room, in the overspill next to the seafood restaurant and, no doubt, one in each elevator, by the pool, in the parking lot and one in each of the capacious suites. Action there kicks off at noon, and we'll sweep the room in the coming hour to find the notables in the field.

Once that tournament is underway, the 198 players who made it through to day two of the $2,000 event will return. Although Vicky Coren won't be among them, having busted just short of the money last night, Kirill Gerasimov will.


He's sitting behind 29,800 chips, somewhere near the middle of the pack. A cash is already guaranteed. Today will simply determine how much.

Then, drum-roll please, the real heavyweights return for the penultimate day of the HORSE event. It's the gold standard, the prestige event, the one they all want to win. And of the 21 remaining players, three represent Team PokerStars Pro, while another is a PokerStars SuperNova elite on the ultimate freeroll.


Joe Michael bought his entry to this tournament with PokerStars frequent player points, and is going very very deep for his minimal investment.

The Team players are at either ends of the current chip ladder. Chad Brown is the official tournament short stack, with 81,000.


But Chad is equipped with all the necessary skills to mount a comeback. A tall order, no doubt, but not impossible. Meanwhile the familiar faces of Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu are placed second and third in chips, respectively.



I'm going to say no more about them right now, nothing about the mouthwatering prospect of both of them making the final table or anything like that, lest commentator's curse strike them down. But the cream has duly risen to the top in the HORSE event, and it's going to be a terrific day as they play down to the money -- top 16 pay -- and then the final table tonight.

Play starts in that event at 3pm PST. We wish them all well.