2008 World Series: PokerStars' first couple

Team PokerStars Pros Chad Brown and Vanessa Rousso probably know more about each other's games than anyone else. It's no secret that the couple are, well, a "couple" and around the poker tables their rivalry might be fierce, but it's also based on mutual encouragement. Domestic bragging rights are one thing, but scratch the surface of their occasional goading and you'll find a deep desire for each to prosper at the World Series, in whatever tournament they're playing.

As a fairly slow day at the World Series enters the late-night session, both Brown and Rousso are doing just that -- still playing -- hoping to hog the limelight around tomorrow's breakfast table with tales of their impressive showing today. When they returned from their respective dinner breaks, both were chipped up in the $1,500 HORSE (Chad) and $1,500 hold 'em (Vanessa).


Chad has not only already made the money, having made the final 10 percent of the 817-player field, he is also chip leader of those still there.


Vanessa, similarly, has more than double the average in chips in the mammoth 2,693-player event, and another 300-odd will give her another pay-day.

"She's obviously a favourite to get into the money," said Chad.
"I'd bet on a Chad final table," said Vanessa.

It's difficult to argue with either predictions. Chad is well-known as a mixed games specialist and has played all the variants for many years. Two years ago, he won the first-ever $5,000 online HORSE tournament hosted during the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) at PokerStars. Two days ago, he narrowly missed a cash in the $50,000 HORSE championship event here, a result that first set him back but then fortified him for tournaments ahead.

"I'm very proud of him," Vanessa said. "After bubbling in the 50K HORSE, he was disappointed but is determined to do it now." Chad concurred, explaining how he had risen to the top of the pile in the $1,500 event: "In the 50K HORSE, I had to play perfect against the best players in the world just to come 24th. In the 1.5K HORSE, I'm playing against the most unknown players in the world."

Vanessa, for her part, is equally committed to a big score here. "I've cashed in the Series already this year, so I don't feel so much pressure," she said. "I know a lot of people who haven't cashed yet, so it's harder for them. But I still haven't had a result that I can be really proud of, so I'm hoping to get one here."

But, wisely, no one is getting ahead of themselves.

"There's still a lot of poker to be played," said Vanessa.
"There's a long way to go," said Chad. "That's just the way it is."