WSOP Main Event: Cash, check or busted
Once more with feeling, if you can muster it... After three full days at the table you can forgive a player for a few frayed edges, a 1,000 yard stare and a little self doubt. For many this will rank as the longest they've played. But elimination now is still out of reach of the money, at least for 140 people today but for the others it will provide a new lease of life, chance to let out a primordial scream, shake hands with the guy next to them and play freely, aware they can now live happy in the knowledge that they will walk away from here with money in their pocket.
Yesterday we saw Bertrand ElkY Grospellier put on a show of domination on his table, capturing the chips, the chip lead and the imagination of the viewing public there in force to watch him cry havoc on his table and let loose a stack of over one million to close the day with the chip lead. It was an hypnotic performance, an ever increasing monolith in front of him. Yesterday confusion reigned as to where ElkY comes from. France? Korea? England or Vegas? I'd say it's neither of those. I'd say he comes from Space. His progress today should be studied by scientists rather than the media.
Plaudits should also be bestowed at those working at the tough end of the field. Yesterday Team PokerStars Pro Maria Maridu Mayrinck pulled off one of those under that radar miracle escapes. Beginning with 22,000 should pounced on an early double up playing rock face poker, ending the day on 102,500. Still less than half the average but Maridu is working best under pressure.
In terms of a potential draw today ElkY will only be rivalled by the drawing of Joe Hachem and Peter Eastgate at the same table. Two former World Champs, two Team PokerStars Pros, both of whom like to play ruthless poker - Hachem the steely faced Aussie, Eastgate's pulling faces that the rest of us only pull in private. Two very different players, one identical goal.
Theirs, and the future of everyone in this room, will change a little today, for good or bad, for richer or poorer. The playing area now takes up just half of he Amazon Room and the announcement has been made that today we play to 400 or for four levels. The money bags are opened for 648 place up. It should be a good one.
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JOE GIRON PHOTO HOUR
Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem being miked up for the second feature table