WSOP 2011: A score to settle before getting down to business
Kevin Bryniczka slowly turned up the corners of the first two cards he was dealt today. Pocket kings. Beautiful. He won a small pot, but there's no need to get fancy this early in the main event. It was, after all, just the first step on a long road that could lead to millions, although he would be happy for any decent result to sweeten the bitter aftertaste of last year.
"It was my first main event and I made it to Day 2 before being one-outered," he said, the pain still etched on his face. "This year, I want to make up for that."
Bryniczka, screen name VicTree, is a PokerStars Supernova Elite, one of those rare online gladiators who dedicate so much to the game that they reach the highest level in the PokerStars VIP program. The rewards and bonuses received as a result are a great return for their loyalty.
Bryniczka was mainly a cash game player, grinding the mid-stakes no limit hold'em and Omaha tables with considerable success.
Was? Sadly, yes. Living in Chicago, he is a victim of circumstances following recent online poker developments in the US. He can no longer play. A trip to Las Vegas to play live poker, therefore, was too much to resist.
He's here with a friend, who plays the main event tomorrow, and the trip has started well.
"I played a $1,000 tournament at the Venetian a few days ago and final tabled, finishing tenth for $7,700, so I'm hoping to keep some of that momentum going," he said.
Bryniczka, now 22, started playing after graduating from high school when he was 18. He set himself a mission to reach the Supernova Elite status, taking a year off to do so. And he's been playing hard ever since. At least he was until legal changes meant he could no longer do so.
He's a pragmatist, however, and took the forced change to his lifestyle as an opportunity to be grabbed. He now plans to go to Indiana University to take a business degree.
That could not be further from his thoughts right now. Instead, he's concentrating on the matter in hand: trying to go deep in WSOP main event by avoiding those one-outers.
The early signs are good, and after we chatted near his table, he Tweeted: "After the interview my table has been reluctant to even enter into a hand vs. me... Nice :)"
Run good, sir.
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INAPPROPRIATE USES OF TOWEL OF THE HOUR
Man #1: Wearing a hand towel on his head as he enters the VIP cash-out area of the WSOP
Man #2: Wearing bath towel around his waist as he walks out of the Amazon Room
STATISTIC OF THE HOUR
Percentage of curse words directed at dealer by Padraig Parkinson in one sentence: 75
IRONIC T-SHIRT OF THE HOUR
Jason Potter's "Something Corporate" chemise
DOPPLEGANGER OF THE HOUR
Helen Prager lookalike sitting in the blue section of the Amazon Room
SMELL OF THE HOUR
The Pavilion, which smells something like a pair of used socks would if dipped in a swimming pool and left to dry on the air conditioning unit.
NUTRITIONAL STATISTIC OF THE HOUR
Number of bad sandwiches consumed by the blog team because they couldn't bear the thought of waiting in line for the good stuff: 1
RANDOM FACT OF THE HOUR FROM THE OFFICAL MEDIA GUIDE
The first amateur World Champion was Hal Fowler in 1979. Fowler worked as an advertising executive before winning the main event.