WSOP 2011: Ruthenberg's table needing help from above
It was a curious sight. Either the massage therapist was looking for some divine approval to do a good job, or she was was seeking assistance from above for the players who have the misfortune to be at Sebastian Ruthenberg's table. Whatever the reason, as she prepared to set to work on the Team PokerStars Pro's back, she looked up to the ceiling and crossed herself.
Now, if Ruthenberg had been an obese, sweaty mess of a man, I could understand her needing support from a higher authority; you'd certainly need some sort of incentive to get up and personal to that. But the German is a fit, good-looking guy; the perfect gig for a masseuse. The only conclusion, therefore, is that she must have felt fearful for the those sat at his table.
She would have good reason; Ruthenberg sits with 2.1 million chips, good for a top-ten spot on the leader board, and looks so relaxed that a massage would surely send him to sleep.
"I need this massage to relieve some German pressure," Ruthenberg said as his therapist got to work, kneading the small of his back. "Man, you've been applying German pressure all day... to us," the player four seats along quipped. The table chortled, and then it was back to business. Serious business. There were raise and takes, three bets galore, but Ruthenberg was seemingly taking time out from his aggression. For an orbit, he folded all the way, including giving the big blind a walk when he was in the small.
But perhaps this is one of the secrets of his success. Smash his way through a table, relentlessly bullying and building his stack, then take a back seat for some relaxation for a while. The benefit of that strategy, of course, is that the other players are always second-guessing when he would revert to Status: Aggressive.
It's worked for Ruthenberg many times before. He has $3.3 million in tournament winnings to his name, including victory at EPT Barcelona in 2008 and 3rd in EPT Dortmund a year earlier. If he were into bling, he could also wear the WSOP bracelet he won in 2008 in the $5,000 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo.
It's a record that suggests he can run deep here, and few sitting at his table would argue with that, even if he does currently look a little too laid back.
Hear from the man himself as the video team caught up with him on Day 4...
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ELIMINATION OF THE HOUR
Daniel Negreanu, out when pocket tens failed to hold up against ace-seven.
HAT OF THE HOUR
Picture of a yacht with the word "Indiscretion" above it
QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"I used to be a hot-head back in the day. I'm a little too high-strung." --Player explaining why he was refusing to look at the board during an all-in (he won).
INVENTORY OF THE HOUR
David Bach's poker kit includes a blue leather duffel bag, a leather hat, a PokerStars hat, a spring-grip hand exerciser, a package of Sheets dissolving energy strips.
GREAT NEWS OF THE HOUR, IF A LITTLE LATE
We just discovered that we qualify for discount at Starbucks in the Rio.
QUOTE OF THE HOUR
Woman walking through the Rio casino, reading a sign: "Welcome to the World Series of Poker?"