WSOP Main Event: Names among names

wsop2009_thn.gif There's a massive field in the Rio today, and some massive names gracing it. At PokerStars blog, we tend to follow a lot of them, owing to the presence on Team PokerStars Pro of some of the games brightest stars. But the World Series also frequently gives previously unheralded qualifiers the chance to shine and print their own names in the history books.

To be contrary seemingly simply for the sake of it, there are also some players who fit into neither of these categories. There are a few players in the Main Event today who are already notable names in their own right, and yet decided to chance their arm in a PokerStars satellite and won their seat to the Big Dance online. Among them are James Van Alstyne, Alexander Kostritsin and Nasr El Nasr, each of whom has been tearing through major tournament fields with little remorse over the past couple of years, and are today on our master list of PokerStars qualifiers here.

Van Alstyne has had the most recent glittering success, with this World Series already providing one bracelet, one runner-up spot and another sixth place. He took down the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event, outlasting 769 others to win close to a quarter of a million bucks, a few days after he narrowly missed out on first place in the $3,000 incarnation of the H.O.R.S.E. championship, picking up $200,000 and change.

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James Van Alstyne


Those two successes swelled Van Alstyne's career purse past the $3m mark, all the more reason to scrimp on the $10,000 entry fee to the Main Event and qualify via the PokerStars steps system.

Alexander Kostritsyn burst onto the poker scene in Australia, when he won the Aussie Millions main event in January 2008, earning the Australian equivalent of approximately $1.5m US. He came to Vegas that summer and cashed six times in the World Series, including a final table in the stud world championship, and then then he went back to Australia the following January and won a $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. Not bad, especially when you factor in things like jet-lag. As his name suggests Kostritsyn is from one of poker's newest hotbeds, Russia.

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Alexander Kostritsyn

Today Kostritsyn is out in the Brasilia Room, where he has more than 100,000 in chips, and has his radar working very soundly. Passing by moments ago, he called a 10,000 river bet staring at a board of K♦Q♣5♦4♣3♦, showing pockets sevens, which were good.

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JOHNNY LODDEN OF THE HOUR

PokerStars Nordic blogger Lina Olofsson on Lodden's first level: "He lost with flush against flush, down to 19,000. Then he raised with queen-eight, got one caller. Flop queen, seven, deuce. He checked, the other guy pushed and he called. Other guy turns over eights. Look who's almost drawing dead now, huh? And he says that he has an easy table." [CELLPHONE RINGS] "Ja Lina. Bra, bra, sex, bra. Ja, hurdy gurdy. Ja. Aaaah, Crum, crum. Puss, puss. Jaa........." Etc., etc., Swedish, etc.

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INJURY OF THE HOUR

Dan Harrington sitting in the Blue section of the Amazon Room in a neck brace.

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SURPRISE OF THE HOUR

Facing a raise to 1,600 from the hijack, Thierry van den Berg made the call. So did the button. The flop came down 9♠J♣A♠. The original raiser checked, Van den Berg bet 2,000, and both opponents folded.

"Pick one," said Van den Berg to the man on his right.

The raiser fingered the card closest to him and flipped it over. It was the 2♦.

"Oh!" said Van den Berg, "It's a deuce!"

He raked in his pot.

"I was hoping he would pick that one."

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QUOTE OF THE HOUR

"Humberto never bluffs!" --Humberto Brenes, speaking in the third person, after betting an opponent off a hand on the river

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FIGURE THIS ONE OUT TWEET OF THE HOUR

billchenpoker: Raised with Oedipus Rex 3 off to 1400 bb defends. Flop

q82 3 hearts I bet 2250 he jams for 15k. I call he shows as3h he hits
a heart.

billchenpoker: I am out O Rex is QJ I learned yesterday...

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POKERSTARS QUALIFIER OF THE HOUR

In terms of timing the World Series Main Event couldn't come at a worse moment for Connecticut native Alfonso Cammarota. He won his seat on PokerStars but his journey here was not an easy one. Cammarota headed to Las Vegas just three hours after bringing his wife home from the maternity ward 3am last Saturday with their new son Luca. Mother's always deserve a shout out, so for the folks back in Fairfield, including daughter Marissa and son Giancarlo, Dad us up on the day, with about 42,000.

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LUNCH OF THE HOUR

What does Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier eat for lunch? Today it's a one-pound chicken burrito.

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OUTBURST OF THE HOUR

"Show me ace-queen. Shoooooooooooooow me ace-queeeeeeeeeeeeeen." --said Humberto Brenes, to his opponent who, in fact, showed him ace-queen, a loser against Humberto's aces.

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(IS THE BEST) JOE GIRON'S PICTURE HOUR (OF THE SERIES SO FAR?)

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Joe Hachem and Joe Hachem