WSOP Main Event: Cannibalism

wsop2009_thn.gifChris Moneymaker pulled out the only empty seat at Table 3 as he lamented his draw.

"What a beat," he said.

In the two seat sat Russian Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko. Two seats around the table was 2004 WSOP champion Greg Raymer.

"Just kidding," Moneymaker said, and walked away to his real chair two tables away.

"That would have been a good feature table," Raymer said. "Chris, Alex, me, and six guys who can kick our ass."

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While it might have made for some good television, it would've been sort of tough for the Team PokerStars Pros. As it is, the potential for Team Pro cannibalism is already high. Kravchenko, a stern-faced, scarily silent Russian, is one of the most feared players from his part of the world. Raymer, of course, holds a championship bracelet. He also placed third in the $40,000 buy-in WSOP event this year.

Raymer, who jokingly claimed the tournament chip lead on the first hand of the tournament, was already worried about his chances.

"I lost my chip lead and now I can find a hand," he said 15 minutes into the first level.

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You could throw a Nerf ball and hit another Team Pro table. Barry Greenstein, fresh off a successful seven-cash 2009 WSOP is settled in at the same felt as Italian Team Pro Luca Pagano.

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Unlike the successful Dream Team Poker series that has started up in Vegas, the players here don't get points if their teammate goes deep. Raymer has no incentive to soft-play Kravchenko. Greenstein won't give Pagano any breaks. If there is a meal to be had, the men are going to eat.

Cannibalism isn't a nice concept, but poker isn't a nice game.

So, bon appetit.

* * * * *


"I was kinda hoping to get on TV." -- PokerStars qualifier Bryan Kerr finds himself on the ESPN feature table, two seats down from Mike Matusow.


"All in call on table 77!" This was about 20 minutes into level one, and for the moment we'll leave aside the questions of how this is even possible with stacks of 30,000, blinds of 50-100 and the action all occurring pre-flop. But the net result was a statistically improbable Angelo versus Angelo showdown.

It was the PokerStars qualifier Angelo Ricci versus his namesake Angelo Miele -- Ricci had aces ("What else could he have!?!" questioned a few table-mates), while Miele tabled Q♥Q♣. There was no outdraw and Ricci doubled up. Miele, on the other hand, was left to pose for a television interview, shake some hands and wander away in an endearingly philosophical mood. "That's the way this game goes," he said. "Next year will be next year."

Ricci is our early chip leader.


"Dismal start to the Main Event. Started with 30k. Down to 21k. The three best players at my table have over 35k." --@barrygreenstein


Yesterday we mentioned how the early stages are a waiting game. Well, we might have been wrong. And frankly if you paid the ten grand to sit here you can play any way you want. That seems to be the plan of Wayne Shidler, a PokerStars qualifier from Mesquite, Texas who just tangled in two sizable pots. The first on a K♦6♣6♦J♠A♥ board, with Shidler showing A♠5♥ to his opponent's A♣Q♥. Then, getting back in the saddle in the next hand with equal measure, splitting a pot worth 17,000 with pocket sevens against Q♣T♣ on a board of 8♥6♠[10d]7♦9♦, the Texan raising all the way.


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Christopher Reyes set up mini-cam to record a Facebook video blog of his day in the WSOP


Watch WSOP 2009: How you feel in Vegas on