It's as if I can hear the sweet sound of violins in the Amazon room; see rose petals drifting down from the ceiling, dancing crazily as they get caught up in the jet-stream of industrial air conditioning. Yes, we have a love story at the WSOP in Las Vegas, a tale to warm the heart at a time when we're surrounded by the normal selfishness and gruffness of live tournament poker.
This is a romance that is worn on the sleeve, but is being played out over a distance of thousands of miles (4,153 to be exact) - and Twitter. Let me explain. Team PokerStars Pro Maria 'Maridu' Mayrinck is madly in love with PokerStars player David 'WhooooKidd' Baker (and he with her, I should stress). Now, Baker has made it to the final of the WSOP $50,000 Poker Player's Championship, he's second in chips, and while he's already guaranteed $182,000, it's the $1,559,000 first prize he's really after tonight. Here's the problem - Maridu had been railing him in the early days, but has now had to fly off to Lima in Peru to play in the PokerStars LAPT event that kicks off there tomorrow.
While the Brazilian is delighted to be representing Team PokerStars Pro at the LAPT, she's a little sad to be missing her man's big day. Sad, but overly excited at the same time. If you've ever met Maridu 'excited', then you'll understand just how charged-up her 'overly excited' must be - a bit like a kid who has just been told every day is Christmas.
Thanks to the world of Twitter (@Maridu), we can get a better understanding of this long-distance love affair...
... "OMG MY DAVID IS THE CL OF THE 50K 8 GAME FT OF THE #WSOP! I'm sooo proud, I can't even describe this. Baby you work so hard, my hero! TID <3"...
... That just about sums it up. But there's more...
..."David Baker, My baby, is CHIP LEADER of the 50K 8 game FINAL TABLE! Goooo babyyyy win it for the good guys! <3 I AM SO PROUD!"...
...Er, and more...
... "Just landed in Lima, I am so proud of my David CL of the 50K 8 game... I'm in tears... so proud"
I think you probably get the picture by now. So while you're keeping up with events at the Rio tonight, when the $50K players sit down at the final table, spare a thought for a lady in Lima who will be going in to Tweet overdrive.
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In other news
While five events have begun/ended here at the WSOP, and another two due to start today, we've had the first Team PokerStars Pro cash. With the thousands of dollars that has been forked out, the cash is not a lot but, heck, it's a start. The benefactor of the first win? Vanessa Rousso. The amount? $1,877 for 421st in the $1,000 No Limit. You've gotta start somewhere.
Rousso was unlucky with her exit. There was a raise in mid position and Lisa Parsons made it 7,000 from the button. Rousso was in the big blind and moved in for 30,000, only for the initial raiser to re-shove for 46,000. Parsons got out of the way.
No help on the [10s]5♣3♥2♠6♣ board and Rousso was off to find the cash desk.
To be frank, I'd hoped for a little more in payouts - but it's very early days and there's no doubt you'll be reading of some much jucier paydays in the coming weeks. Of those that had a chance of pocketing the readies yesterday, Alex Kravchenko, Dario Minieri and George Lind fell short of the money in day two of the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better. The first two fell away, while Minieri, in customary fashion, worked his 12,000 starting stack up to 36,000 before managing to turn it into zero.
Yesterday also saw the start of Event #5, the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em, attracting a bumper 2,099 players. Among them a veritable who's who of Team PokerStars Pro such as Daniel Negreanu, Greg Raymer, Barry Greenstein, Joe Cada, Chad Brown, Humberto Brenes, JP Kelly. Gavin Griffin, Lex Veldhuis, Victor Ramdin, Dario Minieri, Hevad Khan, Tom McEvoy and Jason Mercier. Phew.
Of that lot, only two made it safely through the day. With 223 left, they have a great chance of joining Rousso on the Team Pro WSOP Scoreboard. Brown is 45th in chips with 61,800, a stack that was helped along the way when his K-5 bested K-Q on a J-5-K-10-A board. Brenes is down in 188th with 14,900, but he kept himself alive winning a couple of key hands, first when his A-J overtook an opponent's 7-7, and then winning a three-way pot, all-in with J♦J♥ against two players both holding A-Q.
Some of the others fell in fairly standard ways. Still painful nonetheless. Negreanu lost a race with 3-3 against K-9 (around 75 short of the money), Raymer lost with A♦K♠ against Nathan Huvelle's J♠J♣, Kelly lost with J-J against K-K, Griffin with A-K against K-K, Veldhuis with A-Q against Q-Q, and Ramdin with A-Q against A-K.
While Brown and Brenes return for day 2 today, many of the rest will be ponying up for the new starts - the Event #6 $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout and the Event #7 $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit).
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PokerStars Blog v World Champion
A poker writer obviously needs to play once in a while to keep the poker mind working as it should. And so it was I wandered by the Palms poker room last night - to play a little and keep up my poker knowledge (that's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it). The 1-3 no limit game looked juicy, so I stumped up $300 to sit down.
And who should be there, sitting behind around $600 in chips? Jerry Yang, the 2007 WSOP Main Event World Champion. He won $8.2 million for that, and now he was risking it all by taking on me. The fool!
Sadly he did not stick around for long - I clearly scared him off - but what I saw was a lot of early-position limping, and raises when he had an ace. Hmm. Anyway, I bagged a $110 profit, but I don't think Mr Yang was going to lose any sleep over it.
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Tweets of the Day
@RaSZi: Woke up too early. Having a rough time getting the right schedule down. Shoutout today. Bubbled FT last year, hope to do better. Feel good.
@Dennis_Phillips: Will miss first part of WSOP but should be worth it. How often do u get a chance to fly to Peru?
@RealKidPoker: Busto. All in with 33 vs K9 lost. Missed the money finishing about 290th it paid 216. Busy day tomm 5k NLh Shootout at noon
@Jason Mercier: Playing event 5 1500 nlhe today. My last event before heading home for my sisters wedding
@FossilMan: Level 6 no good. Raised & won 3 times in row. Got reraised 4th time. Shoved AK but lost to JJ. :-(
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Thought of the Day
Everyone likes a love story
Previous WSOP Diary entries
WSOP Diary: Viva la revolution in Las Vegas
WSOP Diary: Safari, so good for Noah Boeken
WSOP Diary: Barry Greenstein mixes it up in the $50K
WSOP Diary: Going supersize in Las Vegas