WSOP Main Event: Six Flags, Las Vegas

wsop2009_thn.gifAfter the thrill ride of the bubble, the Amazon Room has now acquired another item of furniture to make it look even more like an amusement park. The cash-out table appeared down at the west end of the tournament arena and a makeshift winding fence in front of it shepherds a long line of players clutching payout tickets. It's as though the vanquished are queuing for their turn on a roller coaster -- "Wait: two hours from here" -- although the truth is that these players have already bottomed out. Their topsy-turvy run has ended with a firm thud.

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"I had pocket sixes," explained one player in the line to a buddy on the phone, although the buddy seemed not to be wholly supportive. "Mike," began our exasperated hero, "I had 38,000 in chips and found pocket sixes. What was I supposed to do?" There then followed a brief pause, during which it's not difficult to determine the question coming from "Mike" at the other end of the line. "Pocket sevens," chuckled the man in Las Vegas.

Not far away, we find Noah Boeken, who has cashed again in a major tournament. Boeken is on a relative short stack right now, about 150,000, but has great savvy in these situations despite his tender years.

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Noah Boeken

A few tables across the room is Thierry van den Berg, Boeken's countryman and now team-mate on Team PokerStars Pro: Holland. Van den Berg has been in and around the very top of the European game for several years now, and recently was signed up to the team that best showcases poker talent.

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Thierry van den Berg

Van den Berg has now cashed in the Main Event of the World Series for the third consecutive year. Welcome to the Team, Thierry.

Glance further up the Amazon Room, and you might see Benjamin Kang engaged in vigorous high-fiving of his German friends. This is Kang's first Main Event cash and he is now hanging around to try to move up the ladder. He was recently all in with pocket nines against ace-king and won.

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Ben Kang

"That was such an important double up," said one member of the German media, who may or may not have some vested interest in Kang's progression.

Some quick tournament house-keeping: the players have just returned from a 20-minute break at the end of the day's second level. As a result of the extended bubble period, the tournament officials added an additional 39-minutes to the tournament clock, representing three minutes for each of the 13 hands played during the hand-for-hand period. The idea is to take a dinner break at the end of level three -- in approximately one hour, thirty minutes -- and then play a fourth level tonight before calling it a day. If, however, they reach 400 players, the day will be called a wrap at whatever time the clock currently shows and the remaining players will return tomorrow. Easy.

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Players in line at cash out table within no more than five minutes of the bubble bursting: 16
Approximate rate at which line at cash out table is increasing: two per minute

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Now that the tournament staff has colored up a bit, it's a bit easier to get a read on ElkY's stack. Here's how it breaks down.

225,000 in dark green
1.1 million in orange
360,000 in yellow

1,685,000 chips

Although some players are closing in, that's still good for the chip lead with fewer than 570 players remaining.

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"Stay!" - given to a player who just busted ready to run to the hills. Players have to be escorted to the cashier to collect their prize money.

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PokerStars qualifier Ron Wasiel cashing in his first World Series Main Event.

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Bubble anguish for Giovanni Nervo. He was eliminated about four places off the money

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Team PokerStars Pro offers their tips and advice for the WSOP:

Watch WSOP 2009: Tips and Advice for the WSOP on