WSOP Main Event Day 1C: The Lex Veldhuis post
Three Dutch poker reporters were given one word to describe the tournament style of the Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis. "Volatile," said one. "Crazy," added another and "suicide" from the third earned a fist pump.
There's certainly no mistaking the man known as "RaSZi" for a shrinking violet. He's one of the most feared and fearsome poker players on the planet today, graduating from the online tables of PokerStars, through the EPTs and World Series, all the way to the most visible televised games in the world.
Along the way, he has garnered a reputation for seemingly insane aggression - pushing, pushing, pushing - until his adversaries are either worn down or finally find a hand to peg him back.
Those three Dutch reporters soon lapsed into the tale of Veldhuis and the "king-four hand", which occurred in Dortmund in 2007. Veldhuis had four-bet shoved with K♥4♦ for his tournament life and his opponent tanked for more than four minutes before calling with pocket kings.
RaSZi was sent to the rail, but the whole thing was typical Veldhuis. He risked his tournament with king high and still got an opponent to consider folding the second-best hand in hold 'em. His friends immortalised the moment in a video filmed in Copenhagen, featuring ElkY, Gus Hansen and Daniel Negreanu. The pros each gave mock interviews describing a "crucial hand" that day when they all supposedly had king-four off-suit. Even Thomas Kremser got in the act and had a king and a four poking out of his top pocket as he called the final table.
But Veldhuis' style is far from mindless. He slayed some king-four demons in memorable style at the 2009 World Series Main Event, when he three bet with K♠4♠ and then called Simon Muenz's four-bet all in shove.
Muenz tabled 6♥7♥ and so Veldhuis was ahead. "How did you know you had the best hand?" asked Eli Elezra, also at the table. Veldhuis merely glanced back at Elezra, his silence speaking volumes. He just knew, all right. (That video is also on YouTube.)
Rather like tracking Dario Minieri, there's always action with Veldhuis. He gives it and so he gets it. He flew out the blocks on day 1C and was up to about 70,000 at one point. Then I popped by to check on his progress and saw him raise to 600 from the small blind.
His neighbour three bet to 3,000 and Vedhuis moved all in, covering his adversary. Veldhuis, of course, had a king, although he also had a jack - K♣J♣, perfectly standard for a raise from the small blind. This time, however, he had run into pocket aces and lost more than half his stack.
That sent me scurrying back to the press room to write this article, hoping to get it finished before there were any more Veldhuis swings. But it couldn't be done. About four paragraphs in, a tweet came over the airwaves from @RaSZi that said: "Doubled to 40k with 44 vs 67 on 664. Turnaround point? Plzzz".
And just as I was writing that last paragraph, there was another one: "Btn raises 1k i call bb QTcc flop Q32, him 2300, me 5800, he calls, turn 9 ch/ch. River 6 i shove 15k for his life. He calls. Happy."
You can never be sure, but that should be enough to see Veldhuis through to day two. Probably. Maybe. Possibly.
INTERESTED RAILBIRD OF THE HOUR
DON'T WE KNOW THAT GUY? OF THE HOUR
Over the years we've become pretty familiar with a guy named Sarne Lightman. He was a PokerStars qualifier here in 2005 and has been affiliated in one way or another with PokerStars ever since. Right now, he is happily flying the PokerStars flag with 120,000.
ELIMINATION OF THE HOUR
Nick "FU_15" Maimone who went deep for PokerStars last year has been eliminated from this year's WSOP. With an hour and half left to go in Day 1C, he lost a 40,000 flip with big slick versus pocket queens.
COFFEE CALL OF THE HOUR
Terrence Chan needs a pick-me-up. He accidentally woke up at 7:30 this morning and is already flagging. Chip-wise, however, he's doing fine with 46,000
STATISTIC OF THE HOUR
Number of chairs available for Day 1D: 3,800 (which is, incidentally, more than the entire population of the town in which PokerStars Blogger Brad Willis went to high school).
IN A PERFECT WORLD MOMENT OF THE HOUR
"Excuse me, is there a list of where everyone is sitting? I saw two players but I didn't recognise them."
PLAYER BLING OF THE HOUR
Number of shiny bits on Alfonso Amendola: 12
JOE GIRON'S PHOTO HOUR
HURDY GURDY OF THE HOUR OF THE HOUR
Vi går ner på niohandat i turneringen och den äldre mannen på säte ett på Stefan Mattssons bord flyttas. "Nej dom tar min gubbe", suckar Mattsson som tydligen hade hittat en liten synmaskin som gärna betalade bra för sig.
TEAM POKERSTARS LOOKALIKE OF THE HOUR