2008 World Series: Getting here the hard way

Hank Sitton doesn't miss many chances to play poker. The car dealership owner from Greenville, South Carolina hosts games, plays nearly every game in town, and travels to Mississippi and Vegas at every opportunity. Hell, he even owns and publishes a poker magazine. With his time split between owning a couple businesses and playing cards, you might think he wouldn't have the hours to be all that successful at either. You'd be wrong.

Sitton's successful car dealership is his real job. The commercials for Sitton Buick Pontiac GMC Saab leave no doubt he is one of the highest-volume dealers in his area. Hank's poker record may not stretch back as far as his car dealing days, but recently, his resume has been pretty impressive.

He cashed twice in the 2006 World Series, including a cash in the main event. Last year, Sitton took third place on the World Poker Tour's Gulf Coast Poker Championship for more than $200,000.

Now, Sitton is making another run at the World Series. Known as Hardway Hank on PokerStars, Sitton is decked out in pitch black PokerStars gear, just a small part of his PokerStars qualifying package.

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Today, Sitton sits in the orange section, one of hundreds of people competing in the final Day 1 flight. As models representing his magazine walked through the room, Sitton stood and surveyed the land. Not a bad life, really. Successful business, making money playing poker, and a parade of barely-dressed women walking around at your direction.

The poker today, though, doesn't appear to be going as well.

"I'm on life support here," he said at the break.

No matter. Hank is searching for the championship, what he assumes must be "the greatest feeling in the world--especially following other PokerStars champions like Hachem, Moneymaker and Raymer."

With 8,000 chips, he's not in the best shape. However, if he was doing any better, he might not know how to come back. They don't call him Hardway Hank for nothing.