2008 World Series: Team Moneymaker in action
Sprinkled across the field today in both the Amazon and Brasilia Rooms are the members of Team Moneymaker, each of whom won their seats for $39 - the same amount Chris Moneymaker paid when he won a satellite in 2003 which ultimately led to World Series glory.
Darren Keyes, from Toronto, is one of that team. At the dinner break he reported back on his progress, starting first with a certain player known to most in the game.
Darren Keyes of Team Moneymaker
"Another member of Team Moneymaker told me 'You got TJ at your table'" said Darren. "Sure enough I turn around and see TJ Cloutier sitting at my table."
Darren's start was a slow one, dropping down a few grand before a few hands came along to bump up his confidence and his stack. But like a lot of guys new to this cut throat environment the tendency is to worry, and when raise after raise comes along you start to think you're the weak link at the table.
Looking for a break and down to 15K, a pot against that man TJ Cloutier himself came along. Darren picks up the action...
"TJ limped in from the cut off seat and the button and small blind both called. I checked from the big blind with 2d8d and the flop came 2c7s4s - everyone checks. The turn brought an 8s for a possible flush and TJ bet out 800. I made the call figuring he was bluffing with one spade.
"The river is a 7h and I check to TJ. He bets out strong with 2,500 and I just totally feel he is bluffing. I make the call and he says 'you win'. He announces queen high and my pair of 8's gets me back into the tournament."
But you can't beat a Hall of Famer and not expect to take a little flak later...
"Later I limped in the small blind with pocket nines. Alan Barrie in the big blind raised to 900 and I call. The flop came 9-Q-J with two hearts. I check and he checks. The turn card is an eight, I bet out 1,200 and he calls.
"The river is another eight and I check to him to induce a bet and he bites, with $1,900. Now I think about a re-raise but eventually decide he might have queens or kings. So I said 'well, this might be a wussy play, but I'm just gonna call'.
"He turns over aces and I win the pot. TJ said 'Wussy? I'll say it was wussy!' So now TJ thinks I'm a wuss!"
By the dinner break Darren has 45K. "Happy thoughts, happy thoughts!"
There are other members of the team still in the fight today. Mickey Parkinson, a nurse from Alberta in Canada, played her way close to 30K earlier today. She's down a bit but still looks like the experience is a fun one, sitting with 21K.
Russell Spaid from Pierre, South Dakota is in a similar way, up to 31K, whilst Quebecois Serge Grenier, just arrived at his new table in the Amazon Room from the Brasilia Room, carried in a bag of chips worth 55K.
Of course at the centre of all this is Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker himself playing today and up to 68,000. No check that, 80,000.
Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker with Donald Hobbs watching from the rail
Just a few moments ago Moneymaker hit a five-outer against a short-stack to build his own pile of chips to 80,000. While he stacked his chips, an opponent said, "Chris, when you pull the horseshoe out, do it slowly. You don't want to cut anything."
Chris barely thought before responding, "Nah, you gotta yank it. I'll probably take some ribbing for that, but I'll take it, as long as you ship me the pot."
Donald Hobbs is sweating him on the rail, preparing for his World Series debut tomorrow. Donald, Chris and all the Team Moneymaker players got together for a 'boot camp' yesterday, as the PokerStars video blog team report...
Watch WSOP 08: Moneymaker Boot camp on PokerStars.tv