2008 World Series: Old school in the new school

Jim Hamburger stopped me in the hall the other day. We talked about the PokerStars Burlesque Party this coming Monday night. We chatted about his starting day. And then he asked, "How's your son?"

Know this: I have never seen Hamburger outside of a poker event. That said, over time we've become friends, because he is one of a big group of serial qualifiers who tend to show up at the World Series and other PokerStars events. He knows about my family, I know about his, and it's always good to see a friendly face.

I first met Hamburger at a distance when he, known as "downtheline" on PokerStars, won what was then the $500,000 Guaranteed Sunday tournament. "This was a short breath from heaven," he said at the time.

The former Marine has been his own boss since spending more than a year in Vietnam. After spening his whole life playing seven card stud, Hamburger started playing hold'em in 2003, inspired by Chris Moneymaker's World Series victory. Now married for more than 43 years, Hamburger has spent his time playing cards and Senior League baseball

"Baseball is life," he once told me. "The rest is just details."

Since then, I've seen him at the WSOP tables many times. The first time, he was an FPP qualifier. Now, he's here again as a cash qualifier and looking for a good showing.

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Jim Hamburger in blue

Another familiar gentleman with whom I've never actually shared a conversation is serial qualifier Paul Testud. Testud's English is as good as my French, and unless he was saying "I like to hang out in bed with a bowl of potato salad" I wouldn't have any idea what he was saying. Still, I've seen him everywhere from Austria, to France, to good ol' Las Vegas.

"He's a legend in France," said French writer Benjo from his seat beside me on media row. Benjo explained Testud looks so tired today because he was up until 8am playing a tournament at the Bellagio.

Tonight, he's yawning, but looking to turn his PokerStars satellite win into some more cash here.

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In late news tonight, Team PokerStars Pro Gavin Griffin has made a pre-dinner exit . Chris Moneymaker has continued to impress this afternoon and still sits among the tourney leaders. We'll have more on Moneymaker after the dinner break, scheduled to end at 8:30 PST.