2008 World Series: View from the virtual rail

The break is a manic time for anyone not able to duck into the sanctuary of the media area. At the end of each level the Amazon Room is cleared of all its 1,300 or so players for twenty minutes, who are in turn joined by the hundreds of others from the adjoining Brasilia and Tropical Rooms. Add all that up and imagine the sheer mass of humanity gathering in the halls outside.

Whilst it does mean a long wait for the bathroom and a walking pace slower than a rush hour freeway, it does make for some interesting listening. The word “raised” and “fold” are common as you’d expect, interspersed with those instantly recognisable words used to describe those who may have been fortunate at our own expense. Most of this is relayed via cell phone to the thousands of loved ones around the world being kept in the World Series loop, with news reaching them every two hours.

“I just need to calm down” said one guy, hoping for moral support from whoever was at the other end of the line.

Then there’s the slightly more chipper...

“I took a lot of chips from a fairly famous guy.”

Donald Hobbs alongside Phil Hellmuth on the feature table

Victor Ramdin was taking the time to rack up a frame of pool in the Champions Lounge whilst his day one continues to go well. That’s where I caught up with Donald Hobbs who, with Chris Moneymaker sweating him on the rail, now has some added excitement to deal with, lining up as he does on his new table alongside Phil Hellmuth on the feature table.

PokerStars qualifier Nick Young first came to our attention in an email received at blog@pokerstars.com from his family back in London, Ontario. He just moved table looking pretty determined, iPod switched on with around 21K and looking for that dream breakthrough.

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PokerStars qualifier Nick Young

“We are all hoping for the best from him” wrote his mom Christine, “and just hope he has a great time in Vegas. He deserves it and we are all so proud of him.”

As far as we can see all is well for the Canadian. So too for Brad Tisdale from Atoka, Oklahoma, a state champion in The Sooner State and PokerStars qualifier (qualifying for just $7.50) with a gang of virtual railbirds keeping watch via the blog, including his parents Ron and Paula and no doubt his own wife and kids.

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PokerStars qualifier Brad Tisdale

“Watch him, he may be your next winner!”

Then there’s PokerStars qualifier Alessandro Longobardi, here with his girlfriend Maddalena. The Italian is actually a friend of Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano, and is making not only his first trip to the World Series, but his first to Las Vegas also.

Alessandro Longobardi

“It’s fabulous – an absolute dream for me. I’m very excited.”

But whilst many players arrive for their first taste of competitive live poker, for Alessandro this is his next step having turning pro two years ago and making a mark back home by playing nine of this season’s Campionato Italia events and cashing in six of them. The 22-year-old also won the Notte del Poker tournament in Venice last March, a haul worth €70,000.

Thanks to everyone who got in touch with us. We’ll hopefully have more news of their success later today.