2008 World Series: Building roads, building stacks
David Tagliabue, in his mother's estimation, "loves poker and plays more than he should." From her home in Texas, mother Tagliabue may seem like she's critical of her son, but it's clear she's a proud mama who very much wishes she could be watching her son play Day 1A of the 2008 World Series.
David, a PokerStars qualifier, doesn't spend much time in Texas. He's too busy making money, and doing it in a way that most people could hardly imagine. A private building contractor, David takes jobs in Afghanistan. What does he build?
"Anything," he said from Seat 1 of table 28. "Roads, buildings, anything that needs built."
David, 28, and his brother live on a military base and don't get home as much as they would like. David flew back home in April to get married, but the honeymoon had to be cut short. David was due back among the Afghans.
How do we know mother Tagliabue is proud? She told us so. "It has been his dream to be at this event. I hope he makes it through the day. All his family here in Texas are cheering him on. We know he can do it," she said.
David learned to play poker about six years ago, but this is his first World Series. No worries.
"I have the ability to overcome anything that gets in my way," he said.
At this hour, we have no idea how much money could be made for the winner. It will certainly be millions. It's money for which David already has plans...and every one of them involves his wife.
"'I love her more than anything," he said. "I would stop working overseas and spend more time with my family."
David is off to a good start. Just after the dinner, we watched as David came in for a raise from the cutoff. The small blind re-raised and David called. The flop was all babies. We missed whether the small blind led, but we did see one of David's orange 5,000 chips hit the felt on front of him. The small blind eventually folded and David flashed pocket jacks.
In the first three and half levels of Day 1A, David has more than doubled his starting stack and is well above average. Unless something ugly happens, he will be coming back for Day 2. The man who builds anything in Afghanistan is building chip stacks today. If the look in his eye is any indication, he doesn't plan on seeing those stacks fall.
By the way, we found this story by way of an e-mail from David's mom. If you have a friend or relative who qualified on PokerStars, let us know their story by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put "URGENT-WSOP Main Event" in the subject line to make sure we get your message.
The latest video blog out of the editing room introduces us to Ken Holcombe. Ken, from California, qualified through the PokerStars World Series Steps for $7.50.
Watch WSOP: Ken Holcombe Online Qualifier on PokerStars.tv