WSOP Diary Day 30: Climbing the cash ladder with Humberto Brenes

wsop2010_thn.jpgLate in the 2008 World Series of Poker, Humberto Brenes had a question. He had just been eliminated in 77th place of a $1,000 no limit hold 'em event, earning $7,776, but the money didn't seem important.

"How many cashes do I have now?" he asked me. He seemed to think he had reached a landmark, but couldn't be sure.

This kind of forgetfulness could mean one of three things: senility (not Humberto; he's as sharp as a shark's tooth), indifference (not Humberto; he's back every year to the WSOP and pumped as ever) or the fact that he had simply lost count.


I went back to the laptop, ploughed through his records, and discovered that he had just secured his 53rd World Series in-the-money finish. You could easily forget one, two, 10, 20 of those.


Humberto Brenes

That min-cash put Brenes eighth in the all time list of in-the-money finishers at the World Series, ahead of his peers Johnny Chan, Dewey Tomko, Mike Sexton and a vast number of other superstars. In 2009, he added two more cashes, and in event five of the 2010 renewal, he picked up this year's first payday. Brenes has cashed at least once in all but three years at the World Series since 1987 (missing out in 1997, 2001 and 2004). That, folks, is remarkable.

Yesterday, Brenes was back at it. He had been near the top of the chip-counts since the very early stages of event #42, a $1,500 no limit event, and he stayed there right until the final day. Surrounded by young internet sensations - the likes of EPT London champion Aaron Gustavson and EPT Deauville final table-ist Craig Bergeron - Brenes held his own until the final two tables.


Humberto Brenes' shark

Then it all got a bit messy. Brenes got in a spot of bother with the tournament director and picked up a one-hand penalty for whispering to his neighbour (Humberto has never exactly held back on the speech play, but whispering is a new one) and then he got his dwindling stack in the middle.

Brenes was well equipped with his A♥K♠ and had plenty of possibilities against Gustavson's 3♠3♣, especially when the K♣ flopped. But when the 3♥ turned, it was all over for Brenes and he headed to the cash cage, where he might as well have his own personal window.


Aaron Gustavson

His $21,577 was cash number 58. And counting.



With 55 players left in the $2,500 mixed hold 'em event, Randy "nanonoko" Lew was the short stack. And that was critical because 54 players only would be paid.

"I think nanonoko's going to be the bubble," confided one tournament reporter, who had been tracking the tournament since its outset. And even though you can't believe a word tournament reporters say, this time he might have been right. Lew had about 12,000 chips and the big blind was 3,000. It wasn't looking good.


Randy "Nanonoko" Lew

But Lew, a member of Team PokerStars Online, knows that poker is about timing. And good timing comes easier when you find good cards. Lew got his chips in with aces and doubled up, then again with pocket queens and more than doubled up again.

With 21 players left, he found yet another premium hand - A♥K♥ - and got them all in again. But this time Timothy Finne's 9♣9♠ was going nowhere, especially when a 9♦ flopped.

Lew finally made his way out of the tournament, $8,372 richer after the last-gasp comeback.



It was day one of another $1,500 no limit hold 'em event, as well as a $5,000 Omaha split tournament. If you don't like one, you can go for the other; there's always choice during the WSOP.


A packed Pavilion Room

As previously mentioned, you don't win these events on day one, but you can lose all chance. And as usual, some of Team Pro made themselves a solid foundation for a run into the money, while others will be looking for alternative entertainment. Here's the quick list.

Event 45: $1,000 No limit hold 'em

Veronica Dabul - 70,000
Fatima Moreira de Melo - 41,000
Victor Ramdin - 28,500
Dusty Schmidt - 22,000
Gualter Salles - 20,000
Richard Toth - 15,000

Bust: Dennis Phillips, Arnaud Mattern, ElkY, Darus Suharto, Maridu, JP Kelly, Luca Pagano.


JP Kelly

(Leader has 156,000; 400 players left from 3,097)

Event 46, $5,000 pot-limit Omaha hi-low split

Johannes Steindl - 47,000
Barry Greenstein - 33,000
George Lind - 22,000
Alex Kravchenko - 21,000
George Danzer - 15,000
Humbero Brenes - 9,500


Johannes Steindl

Dario Minieri, Jason Mericer, Greg Raymer, Pat Pezzin, Michael Keiner, Joe Hachem, Daniel Negreanu.

(Leader has 88,000; 130 players left from 284 starters.)



If you've ever followed live tournament updates on PokerStars Blog, the chances are you've seen one of our "A Round With..." features before. The idea is simple: stand beside a table and report every single hand for one orbit.

The series offers a random, but instructive, insight into the nature of tournament poker. Sometimes nothing at all happens, sometimes there are sudden fireworks, but that's the way this game works. It's not always all in with queens against ace-king, as televised poker might have us believe.

Today's "A Round With..." joins the Team PokerStars Pro Alexandre Gomes on his starting table on day two of the $2,500 mixed hold 'em event. Here's how table 365 lined up, with approximate stacks:

Seat 1: Valdemar Kwaysser (76,400)
LAPT Costa Rica champion; recent WSOP bracelet winner

Seat 2: Cyriel Dohmen (53,900)
Young Dutch player, one WSOP cash this year.

Seat 3: Derrick Yamada (31,100)
Young American player, one WSOP cash this year.

Seat 4: Alexandre Gomes (65,000)
Team PokerStars Pro from Brazil. First Brazilian ever to win WSOP bracelet. Also a WPT champion and fourth place at PCA.

Seat 5: Dimitrios Sachinidis (9,600)
Unknown player, no recorded results

Seat 6: Matt Stout (62,000)
Well known American pro, with 13 WSOP cashes, four this year. Best result: third in WPT event in 2009.

Seat 7: Kyle Zartman (40,400)
Rising American star. Four WSOP cashes; ninth at NAPT Venetian event in February

Seat 8: Elliot Smith (85,300)
Canadian player with string of cashes across the world, most notably third in 2009 Aussie Millions.

Seat 9: Grant Hinkle (36,900)
Four WSOP cashes, including bracelet in 2008 and $831,279 win.

And here's the action:
This was a no limit round, with blinds at 600-1,200.

Hand one: Cyriel Dohmen on button
Folded to Cyriel Dohmen, he opened for a standard raise of 3,000. The table short-stack Derrick Yamada shoved from the small blind, and Dohmen called.

Dohmen: A♣9♦
Yamada: J♥J♣

The pocket jacks looked good and Yamada was well placed for a double up. The dealer had other ideas. The board ran: 7♥A♦Q♦8♦6♦ and Yamada was eliminated.


Alex Gomes' table in $2,500 mixed hold 'em (photo taken an hour approx after this round

Hand two: dead button, Cyriel Dohmen last to act
Trying to extend the rush, Dohmen raised to 3,000 when it was folded to him. Alex Gomes, in the small blind, re-raised another 6,300 and Dohmen folded, wings clipped. Gomes took it.

Hand three: Alex Gomes on button
Folded to Gomes, he raised to 3,000, winning blinds and antes.


Alex Gomes

Hand four: Dimitrios Sachinidis on button
From mid-position, Elliot Smith raised to 3,000. Everyone else folded.

Hand five: Matt Stout on button
Grant Hinkle opened for the standard 3,000 and took the blinds and antes without any resistance.

Hand six: Kyle Zartman on button
Cyriel Dohmen again opened the pot, and again he took it down as everyone else folded.

Hand seven: Elliot Smith on button
It was folded to Kyle Zartman in the cut off and he raised to 3,100. Smith folded his button, but Hinkle, in the small blind, re-raised 6,400 more. Zartman shoved for about 30,000 and Hinkle made a quick call.

Hinkle: A♠Q♣
Zartman: Q♠K♠

It was looking bleak for Zartman, with a dominated hand and a shorter stack than Hinkle. But the cruelty of this table continued as the board ran: 6♦Q♦7♥K♣9♣ and Zartman's two pair gave him the double up and left Hinkle with only 4,100 chips.

Hand eight: Valdemar Kwaysser on button
In mid position, Dimitrios Sachinidis open shoved for 10,400. Matt Stout called instantly, one seat to his left, and everyone else folded, leaving the two of them to determine Sachinidis' fate. He was in trouble:

Sachinidis: Q♥[10s]
Stout: K♠K♦

Sachinidis got up from his chair, but Stout cautioned: "Not yet," and he was wise to be circumspect. The flop came [10d]Q♣8♣ and vaulted Sachinidis into the lead. Sachinidis stopped in his tracks, but then watched the dealer burn and turn 9♠ and 9♦ and Stout's kings up took it. Sachinidis departed.

Hand nine: Cyriel Dohmen on button
Alex Gomes raised to 3,000 under-the-gun and won.

That was the last hand of the orbit. It was a good one for Matt Stout and Kyle Zartman. Gomes finished slightly in the positive column, while Kwaysser was silent. Grant Hinkle had a shocker and Sachinidis was eliminated.

In a word: standard.

(Update: Gomes finished the tournament in 38th place, winning $5,503, the same amount of money as Elliot Smith. Kyle Zartman and Cyriel Dohmen went out in 16th and 17th respectively, winning $10,459 and Valdemar Kwaysser cashed in 13th. None of the others made the money.)



There are hundreds of options for food and drink at the Rio. In a selfless series, PokerStars Blog samples some of the delights and brings you a daily snack review from the shelves of the poker kitchen and beyond.

Day #4 - Apple danish
Available from:
Price: $2.75

If, like me, you've dreamed about diving into a swimming pool full of sweet apply gunge, the apple danish offers you the chance to live your dream. Not for diabetics, weight-watchers or the icing-averse, this delicacy offers a gloopy sugar-rush like no other: a pond of sweetness floating on moist pastry, drizzled with white icing. Sugar, on sugar, on sugar. Stuff one down your neck during a break, then come back to the table with sticky fingers and you can mark the cards without even trying*.

*PokerStars Blog does not encourage card marking. With sugar or otherwise.


Previous WSOP Diary entries

WSOP Diary: Day 29: Mandy "roxy24" Thomas mixes it with the big boys
WSOP Diary: Day 28: Barry Greenstein eyes final as shark attacks the Rio
WSOP Diary: Day 27: PokerStars party goes Dogg style
WSOP Diary Day 26: Bill Chen: Poker player, wedding planner, bridesmaid
WSOP Diary Day 25: Cutting through the throngs
WSOP Diary Day 24: Last chance to join us in Las Vegas
WSOP Diary Day 23: Anh Van Nguyen, remember the name
WSOP Diary Day 22: Love to hate Phil Hellmuth? You gotta see this
WSOP Diary Day 21: Classic rub down for Daniel Negreanu
WSOP Diary Day 20: Maria Mayrinck, something in the water
WSOP Diary Day 19: Who needs a rest anyway?
WSOP Diary Day 18: An apology
WSOP Diary Day 17: George Danzer just misses first bracelet for PokerStars

Read all WSOP diary entries here.