WSOP 2011: Back on Exclusive form
Noah Boeken was a virtual nobody in the live poker world. He was young, Dutch, and best known to all the old tournament rounders as the protégé of Marcel Luske. The audacity of making the final table of a Season 1 European Poker Tour main event was hard to conceive. Across the table from him at the EPT Copenhagen main event was Ram Vaswani. Now there was a name people knew. Vaswani was part of the Hendon Mob. That's star-power.
What the old guard only learned later was that Boeken already was a star. A PokerStar, to be exact. There wasn't an online player worth his salt who hadn't heard of Exclusive. Exclusive was a man who made bank on PokerStars and made limit hold'em players his housekeepers. It had only been in the last year he'd been pushing his talents on the live tables. He'd scored $30,000 once, but nothing near that big the rest of the times he'd played.
Now he was up against one of the Hendon Mob. They'd played through a final table that took hours upon hours. The poker journalists' (the few that existed back then) laptop batteries died. Eyes drooped. Morning would come soon.
And then they were all in. Boeken held ace-queen to Vaswani's ace-jack. It was about to be over. The Hendon Mobster was having none of it. He willed a jack on the flop and set about crushing Boeken's hopes.
But Vaswani's will made a mistake. It also put a ten on the flop. And a king on the turn. What seconds before had been disaster was now a Broadway straight and Boeken's ticket to the big-time live poker world. The man once known exclusively as "Exclusive" would now be known by the name his mother gave him. The $191,355 he earned that day set him off on a career that continues today.
Now seven years into his live poker career, Boeken can claim more than $1 million in live tournament earnings to match the untold amounts he has won online. He may still be a PokerStar, but he's much more. He's a Team PokerStars Pro. He's a live pro who's crushing Day 1D of the WSOP.
This has been a fairly good World Series for Boeken. He's already cashed four times, including a $40,000 Mixed Hold'em final table. In today's Main Event flight, he's quadrupled his starting stack and is among the chip leaders. It's a refreshing change from the past year.
Before this Series, one had to look back all the way to last summer to see Boeken's last live cash. Sure, he supported himself well with his online winnings, but he hadn't notched anything live. Furthermore, Boeken hadn't had a cash as big as $40,000 since the summer of 2009 when he went deep in the WSOP Main Event. It was high time he did something big.
Now it appears Boeken has again found his live form. He's playing the game the way he used to and appears poised to once again do well here in the Main Event.
He's come a long way in the live world since the day he was just a nickname in Copenhagen, huh?
* * * *
STATISTIC OF THE HOUR
Number of people in line for the men's room at last break: 63
RANDOM STATS OF THE HOUR
All-time final tables made in WSOP history, prior to 2011:
1 Phil Hellmuth, 40
2 Men Nguyen, 39
3 T J Cloutier, 38
4 Erik Seidel, 32
5 Chis Ferguson, 30
SUSPECTED CHIP LEADER OF THE HOUR
Maynard Little with 170,000
ELIMINATION OF THE HOUR
Team PokerStars Pro Ivan Demidov
VIDEO OF THE HOUR