WSOP 2011: A tall story with Lex Veldhuis
Lex Veldhuis stood up, then up some more. He's well over six feet and has the type of hair that puts inches more on top. Before we even speak, he extends his arm to shake hands and sports a wide grin that suggests his Day 1A has been good so far. He's still in, which is one thing, but better than that he had built his stack to 65,000 heading into the last level of the night.
"It's going okay," he said. "But it started much better. I was up to 85,000 at one point but lost a big pot."
Anyone who has followed the fortunes of the Dutch Team PokerStars Pro will know he has something of a loose-aggressive style. He's a bit like his PokerStars stablemate Johnny Lodden in that respect: the swings in their chip stacks are regular and large. Lodden, incidentally, is on 102,000 at the time of writing.
So it's a surprise for Veldhuis to say he's playing "fairly tight". Then again, fairly tight to Veldhuis is probably still maniac style to the rest of us.
The reason for his apparent conservative nature today is defined by what is happening at his table. He sits in seat one, while round the table in seat seven is Sammy Farha, a man of great experience and even greater aggression. While he smiles and chats at the table, Farha's nature is to seize on wounded prey and devour it, a killer instinct that saw him famously make it to heads-up with Chris Moneymaker in 2003, only to be beaten and... well, the rest is written in poker folklore.
Veldhuis is in no mood to be gobbled up today. "I was up then lost some. But there are some very big hands being played at the table, what with Sammy being here."
Earlier in the day, Veldhuis won a big pot that characterised his table. It was, he said, a "crazy hand". First he got dealt an ace that the dealer flipped up accidentally. His replacement first card was another ace and his second card was an ace, too. Nice! With blinds at 150-300, he raised to 800 and got three callers before Farha made it 4,000. Veldhuis flatted and there were two folds and a call. The flop was 6-5-3 rainbow and Farha bet 5,000. Veldhuis called before the button moved all-in for 20,000. Farha called once more, then folded when Veldhuis added 15,000 extra to the pot. The button showed 4-4 for small pair but with an open-ended draw - and Veldhuis faded the outs for his aces held up.
The Dutchman did not have to contend with Farha for much longer, though. His was the first table to break after players filed back in to the Amazon Room for the last two-hour push of the day. Farha was heard raising his new tablemates as soon as he sat down. For Veldhuis, a much quieter-looking table that should have him loosening up no end.
But with his preferred style now undoubtedly back in action, there's no guessing what wild swings he'll endure before the end of the night.
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OH, DO SHUT UP QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"Every time I've had aces or kings today, I've flopped a set"
BEST T-SHIRT OF THE HOUR
"I void warranties."
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To Jani Sointula: The minimum length of a donation to Locks of Love is 10 inches. You could do it three times and still have three times as much hair as Team PokerStars Blog combined.