2008 World Series: Night of the Hunters

There are a number of stock phrases one can use to describe the progression of a poker player through a major tournament. "Going deep" works well for a "big stack", "scratching the felt" is suitably evocative to describe a player "on life support". At this stage, however, with at least four days left until the final table is decided, most players would settle for being "in the hunt".

This is one of the more convenient leads I'll ever write to a post about a couple of PokerStars qualifiers. Very much "in the hunt" at this stage -- "leading the charge", some might say -- are Kellen Hunter, from Minot, North Dakota, and Hunter Fray, from Houston, Texas. Sometime towards the end of the first level today, level six overall, an updated chip count came our way that featured the two Hunters at the very top. Hunters in the hunt. Neat.

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Hunter Frey

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Kellen Hunter

At that stage, they were two of only three players through the 200,000 mark -- 100 times more than they started with, which is not at all bad for a day and a half's work. And when I dropped by Frey's table sometime into level eight, he was in the mid 300,000s, and had the roving ESPN crews buzzing around him. That's the kind of attention usually reserved for the tournament chip leader, a role he currently occupies by some measure.

Kellen Hunter hasn't accelerated at quite this breakneck pace, but at a similar time, he still sat with more than 200,000, which is more than about 760 of the 774 remaining in the field. Considering anyone sitting with more than about 50,000 is still very well placed to make a run at this, Kellen cannot complain at all. And he isn't. In fact, he's sitting comfortably on a new table in the blue section of the Amazon Room, after his original table was broken. He's adjacent to PokerStars sponsored player Alexander Kravchenko, and has a similar silent yet deadly table image.

Shattering either Hunter's concentration during these stages seemed like a churlish thing to do, so we haven't yet managed to get the tournament story in their own words. But we'll continue to monitor them from a safe distance, out of range of arrow, bullet, fangs and claws, or whatever else these hunters use to accumulate all those chips. Maybe we'll rest up in the lodge later, beneath the trophies mounted on the wall, and talk about the newest acquisition: the World Series bracelet.

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Tournament update: Team PokerStars Pro has lost its first player of the day. Victoria Coren couldn't get things going today, found jacks and moved in, but ran into aces. That was that. Barry Greenstein has also been perilously low at times, but is clinging on thanks to a series of nice double ups. Noah Boeken also vaulted up the leaderboard when he managed to double his 40,000-odd with a hand that the roars around his table might suggest was of the suckout variety. Either way, Boeken is back the healthy side of 90,000.