WSOP Main Event Day 1D: The fall and rise of Peter Traply
Poker can be a cruel game. It can also be one of great cheer. It follows that one should never be too disheartened when one is at ones lowest ebb, just like one should never crow to loudly when things are going ones way.
A young PokerStars qualifier named Peter Traply, sitting in the Pavilion Room today, knows all about the lows and the highs of top level poker. His is a tale of warm redemption, bouncing back from crippling disappointment to savour the glory. He went from zero to hero in the space of a couple of months last summer.
Allow me to explain.
As the bubble burst at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo of 2008, Traply was the tournament chip leader. He cruised into the money, but things didn't go precisely as planned and he eventually finished 26th place, missing out on the first major final table of his career.
The next year, in precisely the same spot, Traply led the EPT Grand Final as the bubble burst. Again he cruised into the money but this time he managed to navigate his way to the eight-handed final table, and was third in chips, with position on both of the big stacks. I interviewed Traply ahead of the final table then and he was confident that things would go his way. But they didn't. In fact, in a matter of a couple of hours, his dreams died and he departed in eighth place - first out. The memory still stings today.
"I was really, really disappointed," he said, after a brief pause to clear a lump in his throat. "I had so many chips and I had a great chance to finish first. I can't even say how disappointed I was."
In truth, he didn't need to. His face was one of utter dejection: stunned, sallow and gaunt. There was a brief glimpse of the same expression during our conversation today, but we both knew there were better times to discuss and quickly moved on.
You see, Traply picked himself up from that low ebb (he won €170,000 for eighth, but it wasn't the point) and came to Vegas for the World Series.
"I didn't even want to play poker again after Monte Carlo," Traply said. "I didn't play at all before I came to the World Series. But I tried really hard to win a bracelet, or even a final table. It didn't work out for the first 20 events."
Soon enough, they were up to event 41, the $5,000 six-max shootout. Traply entered and made it to the final, his first cash, but now faced Andrew Lichetenberger, Max Lykov, Danny Wong, Nasr El Nasr and Barny Boatman for the bracelet. Traply won it.
"It was the opposite of the disappointment," Traply said. "It was a huge dream which came true. I couldn't believe it."
The added bonus was that Traply became the first ever World Series bracelet winner from his native Hungary, and he became a small celebrity back home. "Sometimes people recognise me in the street," Traply said. "It was big for the Hungarian poker community."
It was also an inspiration. Traply's countryman Andras Koroknai won a WPT event in Los Angeles this year and then both Peter Gelencser and Valdemar Kwaysser picked up bracelets in Vegas last month. Traply's reign as the only Hungarian bracelet owner was brief.
Traply has cashed three times at the World Series this year, although he was frustrated with 14th in one of the massive $1,000 fields. So near and yet so far, etc. His Main Event didn't start so well either. "I played really loose in the beginning but couldn't hit top pair. I lost half my stack."
But if there's one man who knows how to overcome a setback, it's Traply. This is a marathon not a sprint.
TEAM PRO ROLL-CALL OF THE HOUR
Anh Van Nguyen
Bill Chen (Friend of PokerStars)
Jason Alexander (Friend of PokerStars)
Steve Paul (Team Online)
Andre Coimbra (Team Online)
Eric Buchman (Sponsored)
ELIMINATION OF THE HOUR
Emitt Smith. (He'll need to work on his game if he's to become the only entrant to both the Football and the Poker Hall of Fame.)
DEJA VU OF THE HOUR
MERCIFULLY NON-SPECIFIC LOCATION INFORMATION OF THE HOUR
"I'm in Las Vegas! At a poker tournament!" -- A voice from the stall in the men's bathroom, pants around ankles, making a phone call.
TWEET OF THE HOUR
Jason Mercier: Up to 38.4k so far. Doin work. Feeling good!
I'M TELLING YOU THIS WHETHER YOU WANT TO KNOW OR NOT
"William Thorson is on table 310." - Swedish blogger Lina Olofsson.
INTERESTING MASSAGE TIP OF THE HOUR
Parts of the body you may not have known could be massaged before
today: The elbow, and fingers.
HURDY GURDY OF THE HOUR OF THE HOUR
TIMMENS SIT OUT
När kommer Micke Thuritz egentligen? Enligt Alenius ligger han troligen fortfarande och sover.