WSOP Main Event Day 5: Michael Skender, from court star to PokerStar

wsop2010_thn.jpgIt might look as though it's been cobbled together by a rabble of hungover oiks, but there's more efficiency to PokerStars Blog than you think. Today, for instance, we have a German reporter who is wearing a tracksuit.

Robin Scherr, for it is he, expends most of his energies on PokerStarsBlog.de - and if you like vowels with little dots floating above them, there is nowhere better to get World Series of Poker updates in Deutsch. Sometimes, however, Scherr jogs over to our table and tells us about a German player with international appeal, and if he's persistent enough and talks slowly, sometimes we even listen to him.

Yesterday morning, Scherr was Deutsch-ing on about a man named Michael Skender, who spent the early stages with his arm around Bruce Buffer reminiscing about a $10,000 tournament they played together. Scherr brought that to our attention, and then after the table broke, he continued to bring us updates on Skender's surge up the leaderboard.

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Bruce Buffer and Michael Skender, pictured on day four

This trend simply hasn't stopped. Skender keeps chipping up; Scherr keeps telling us. Most recently, we heard that Skender was closing in on two million chips. It was finally time to take Scherr and Skender seriously.

Skender, 30, is a fascinating character. He is also very tall. This latter fact belies his previous employment, as a professional basketball player in the German second league. He played for his hometown Kaiserslautern for close to 10 seasons, but in the past couple of years he has traded court for laptop with startling success.

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Michael Skender now has more than two million chips

Skender is now entering his second term as a PokerStars Supernova Elite having enjoyed rapid promotion from the micro-stakes tables. He started playing for the tiniest of buy-ins with his friend Paul Knebel, but bounced up and up until last year he was entering the World Series Main Event as one of his first ever live tournaments.

That did not go well. Scherr recalls seeing a distraught Skender sitting in the halls outside the Amazon Room only two levels into day one. After a few days of introspection, he finally decided to learn from his mistakes and come back stronger next year.

He is now reaping the rewards in some style. So far in this tournament, he has never been all in, never got to showdown against anyone but tiny stacks, and has steadily gone through the gears towards the top of the counts.

According to the latest report, he is currently sitting with 2.2 million. And I wouldn't be surprised to see Scherr appearing at this desk at regular intervals all the way until Saturday.

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CHIP COUNTS OF THE HOUR

Michael Skender 2.2 million
Fokke Beukers 2 million
Martijn Schirp 2 million
Antonio Ribeiro 1.4 million
JP Kelly 1.1 million
William Thorson 950,000
Corey Emery 840,000
Nicolas Babel 600,000
Matt Red 590,000
Nicolas Babel 600,000
Johnny Lodden 545,000
Gualter Salles 480,000
Andre Coimbra 390,000
Mark Meloche 370,000
Marcelo Dabus 310,000
Max Gurevich 260,000
Paul Dlugozim 200,000

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William Thorson has a lot of chips

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Martijn Schirp has a lot of chips too

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ELIMINATION OF THE HOUR

Greg DeBora is out in 386th place, earning $36,463. The Team PokerStars Pro from Canada was the last remaining North American Team member in the WSOP field.

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JOHNNY LODDEN-O-METER OF THE HOUR

In Prague in 2008, we introduced you to the PokerStars Lodden-o-Meter™, described as "an impressive chunk of machinery designed specifically to record the major fluctuations in chip stack of the Norwegian pro Johnny Lodden. It's something like a cross between a seismograph and a polygraph, and is the only thing capable of plotting the continual up and down motion, often in jagged spikes, of this action player's stack."

It's out today and it's quivering violently. Lodden began the day with 766,000, went down to 500,000, then 300,000, then 85,000. He then moved up to 240,000 and the latest report has Lodden on 545,000 again. The funny thing is that his expression never, ever changes.

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OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR

"Is there a Dora the Explorer convention going on? Is Boots there?"

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FLASHBACK OF THE HOUR

The song Point Of No Return by Kansas, played in the corridor.

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SECURITY GUARD UTILITY BELT OF THE HOUR

Radio, cuffs, keys, baton, hand wash, money.

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OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR II

"It looks like it weighs about a pound."