WSOP Main Event Day 1B: A magical year

wsop2010_thn.jpgGerman Team PokerStars Pro Jan Heitmann can make the impossible happen. If there is anything he does better than play poker, it's perform magic. One heady evening in Monte Carlo, I watched Heitmann casually bewitch an unsuspecting table of 12 young ladies with a series of card tricks that had even me--a grizzled and jaded blogger--wishing I had just one more minute with the tricky German.

Indeed, Heitmann can seemingly do anything...except, apparently, leave the World Series with a profit. Since coming to the WSOP in 2004, Heitmann has only put together four cashes. Of those, only one was more than four figures.

It's not as though the man can't play. At 33 years old, he's got 15 years experience in the game. He has more than $300,000 in live tournament cashes. Still, despite his ability to pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat, he cant pull a profit out of Vegas.

Until now.

No, he's not put together a great run at the World Series this year. Even today, he's below his Day 1B starting stack. But, just a few days ago, Heitmann wandered down to the Bellagio to play in the $1,000 rebuy event. He managed to win the event and pocket $39,000. For the first time ever, no matter what happens in the WSOP Main Event, Heitmann will be going back to Germany with more money in his pocket than he had when he arrived.

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Heitmann et al may not have made any money yet today, but they have reached the first minor milestone of the 2010 WSOP Main Event. All of the players are headed out for a dinner break.

It will still take some time to determine exactly how magical this year will be. As of this hour, we believe the total number of players in Days 1A and 1B to be 2,614. Already, that's more than the 2004 WSOP (2,576), aka the year Greg Raymer took it down. That said, it's going to take nearly 2,000 players per day over Days 1C and 1D to eclipse last year's total of 6,494.

Numbers like those, however, are for the bean counters like us. The only figures that matter to people like Heitmann (still alive) and Arnaud Mattern (already bust) are the numbers on the checks they cash when this shindig is all over.


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STATISTIC OF THE HOUR

Unofficial number of Day 1B players: 1,489


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HAND OF THE HOUR

All-in pre-flop Paulo Rink, a PokerStars qualifier from Brazil, turned over pocket kings. Next to him though was Brandon Adams who had called with pocket aces leaving Rink looking for help. He got it. The door card was a king, but as the rest of the flop emerged an ace also featured. Queue that 'punched in the stomach' noise from everyone at the table and all those who'd heard that noise and leapt chairs to see for themselves.

But this hand wasn't done just yet. The turn card may have blanked the Brazilian but the river card didn't, a fourth king giving Rink quads, Adams great pain and everyone else a good story.

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DID YOU UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION OF THE HOUR?

Railbird to friend: "On a scale o one to ten, do you feel good?"
Friend: "Er, what does good mean?"

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SELECTED CHIP COUNTS OF THE HOUR

Ivan Demidov - 17,500
Maria Mayrinck - 16,300
Vadim Markushevski - 42,000
Johnny Lodden - 62,000
Florian Langmann - 56,000

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PLAYERS TRANSLATING THEIR COUNTRY'S SOCCER WORLD CUP FORM INTO THE WORLD SERIES MAIN EVENT OF THE HOUR

ElkY and Julien Brecard. Both, like the French national soccer team, are out on day one.