2008 World Series: Team out in force for $1,500

For your average poker player, be they seasoned pro or fresh-faced amateur, Saturday at noon can seem like the middle of the night. Poker is a game seemingly conceived to be played during hours of darkness. We'll play through to tomorrow, sure, but midday is the time to think about going home, not coming out.

However, the huge number of players and limited space at the World Series means that noon starts are essential for most of the smaller buy-in events. There's just no way the fields of the multiple events can be accommodated and final tables reached if we don't brave the midday Las Vegas sun. So it is that the Amazon Room and its neighbours today have turned into cavernous vacuums: the place is filled with more than 3,000 people yawning concurrently, sucking deep lung-fulls of oxygen and they stretch arms and fingers upward, like weary cats just awoken from from an afternoon nap.

The other approach, of course, is to slightly delay your arrival, allow the masses to find their seats early on, then to bound in slightly later, find your chair and a stack of chips only minus a blind or two. Those extra forty winks are probably worth it. About an hour ago, after the majority of the field had already arrived, a flash of yellow came bounding past media row, clutching half-consumed banana in one hand and tournament ticket in the other. "Brasilia, orange, number six," said this character, scampering towards that spot.


This was Luca Pagano, the Team PokerStars Pro from Italy, who is among another strong showing from the Team in today's $1,500 no-limit event. Luca is among the best-known faces on the European Poker Tour, owing to a record nine cashes, three final tables, including sixth place in this year's Grand Final in Monte Carlo. He's gone into the money a few times in Vegas, but never quite scaled the heights of his European, or online form. No one would be surprised if and when it does happen in Nevada, however.

Also strolling through the corridors of the Rio sometime after the scheduled start was Team PokerStars Pro Isabelle Mercier, an unfortunate elimination from yesterday's HORSE event but back today for another shot. By the time I'd done a complete sweep of the room, Mercier was comfortably seated in the same section as Pagano, on table 36.

That sweep yielded quick chats or nods of acknowledgement to Hevad "RainKhaN" Khan, who is seated in the Brasilia room for the opening exchanges of this event, Victor Ramdin, in the red section, Bill Chen, in the green area, and new Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horeki, from Poland. We'll keep tabs on them all as they try to work their way through today's mammoth field.

In the meantime, two other Team PokerStars Pros have been talking to our video bloggers. First up, Gavin Griffin, the only player in the world to have won World Series, WPT and EPT events, assesses his own form in this year's WSOP.

Watch WSOP 08: Gavin Griffin On His Form on PokerStars.tv

And Andre Akkari, the Team PokerStars Pro from Brazil, runs through his top five tips on how to make money in Vegas. Enjoy.

Watch WSOP 08: Andre's Tips On Making Money In Vegas on PokerStars.tv

More video blogs from Las Vegas, and an archive of all previous event coverage, can be found over at PokerStars.tv