WSOP Main Event: It's getting hot in here, I'm sitting with T-Bone

wsop2009_thn.gifIt was an important moment. Cornell Haynes Jr. was about to raise the pot, but he had something important to do first. He stopped in mid-raise, raised a few fingers, and twinkled them in the air. A calm, confident smile spread across his face, his perfect teeth sparkling at the pretty floor girls as they passed by. The women, professional and businesslike, couldn't help but smile, too. After all, it's not every day you get to flirt with Cornell Haynes Jr--who you might know better as St. Louis rap mogul Nelly.

Then it was back to betting the T♥7♦9♣9♥ board. He got a call and they saw the 5♥ river. Once again, Nelly reached into his stack and bet. His opponent snap-called with 9♠8♠,only to see Nelly's Q♥7♥.

It's clear from watching the table for a moment, people are eager to call Nelly. Whether his tablemates think he is a fish or they want to bust a celebrity, they are more than willing to call with just about anything. In the last level, the rapper bluffed into a pot and got called. He turned over ace-high. His opponent mucked.

Nelly paused for a second laughing. "For real? Thank you." He sat for another second, still in disbelief. He shook his head. "I'm gonna walk around for a minute."

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Back in his seat, Nelly looked over his shoulder at the tennis match on TV.

"Roddick's on fire," he said casually to the man next to him. The guy nodded, quiet, and said nothing about wanting to be architect, it being the Summer of George, or worlds colliding.

That man, of course, is Jason Alexander, and he's making Nelly the second most famous man at the table. The two PokerStars players are sitting right next to each other and chatting as if they were longtime friends.

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Nelly and Alexander might talk more, but the rapper has other things on his mind. Another pretty floor person is walking by. He stops her with just a look. It's sort of scary to see the control the man has over women. The lady seems compelled to stop.

"How are you doing?" she asks, seemingly mesmerized.

"I'm treading water," Nelly said. "Trying to survive."

He didn't add anything about it getting hot in here or anyone taking off their clothes.

He didn't have to.

It was implied.

* * * * *


Jan Heitmann is an action player. In fact, he's an action player's action player. The guy likes to mix it up. Today he's found himself a nice short-handed game over on table 105 in the red section, where three seats remain empty more than an hour into play. That seems to be to Heitmann's liking as it gives him the perfect excuse to be in every single pot. Just recently, he was engaged in a friendly verbal joust with Kelly Corbin, a PokerStars qualifier. Heitman had re-raised Corbin's early position raise from the button, after one player had flat called between them. "That's a squeeze," said the caller after his cards followed Corbin's into the muck.

"I'll call you with nine-five but not with queens," said Corbin, and Heitmann did a double take. "Yeah, they were ladies. I said that." Heimann responded to this with what might have been called "Wince of the hour". "You gave it away, dude," said Corbin. "You had aces, kings or ace-king." Wince again. Although quite what that wince meant is anyone's guess.

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On the next hand, Heitmann was back at it. There was a raise pre-flop and two callers, meaning three players saw the flop of 3♠K♠3♣, Corbin and Heitmann among them. Corbin, who was in the big blind, checked in the dark, the player in seat nine bet 350 and Heitmann and Corbin called. The turn was Q♦ and all checked. The river was the J♣ and after Corbin bet and the nine seat folded, it was down to Heitmann to ponder the call. "I'll show ya!" said Corbin. And he had to, because Heitmann called. "If you call then you're good," said Corbin, and showed J♦3♥. Heitmann had pocket sevens, and Corbin took that one.

The very next hand was even bigger. It was the same three players to the flop of 9♦[10c]J♥ and the nine-seat bet 700. Heitmann made it 2,225, Corbin folded and the nine-seat called. The turn was the 2♥ and Heitmann bet 3,800, which was called, and they saw the 6♦. The player in the nine seat checked and Heitmann fired 16,300. "Wow!" said Corbin. The nine-seat was silent but folded. "Good bluff," said Corbin. Heitmann winced. Or was that a smile?