WSOP 2011: Bagging the great white (hatted) chip leader

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After four days and four nights of having no real clue as to who was leading the World Series of Poker main event, I thought it was high time we found out. And so, throwing caution to the wind, I mapped out a Chip Leader Safari, a true Big Game hunt to seek out who was ahead, and who wasn't.

This was no easy task. A chip leader safari is fraught with dangers. The stampede of a camera team on their way to cover an all-in is an ever-present risk. I've been trapped between two boom mikes unable to move before now and have seen, with my own eyes, respectable men and women side swiped by TV cameras.

Despite these dangers I strapped on some safari chic and set a course for orange country, the Orange section of the Amazon Room where the last known sighting of the chips leader Fred Berger was recorded. Berger started today with 209,000, effectively leading since Day 1A. But would he still be ahead?

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The chip leader is out there somewhere...

Putting aside the fact that I didn't know what Fred Berger looked like, and that new media restrictions meant I wouldn't be able to ask him his name to be certain, I headed to table 315. There, right in front of me in seat seven, was a man with around 185,000. He hadn't seen me so I went in close for a better look. Mr Berger I presume? 190,000 chips tops. If this was Berger (it was) he'd lost a few since this morning.

Not content to settle for that, I went off looking for a bigger prize. Along the way there was the occasional welcome flash of leopard skin but not much else. Until right there, resplendent in a mass-produced white trilby with the words "The Boss" embroidered on it, sat Giuseppe Zarbo with 230,000 chips. More than Berger. More than anyone. Here he was. Bang. Got him.

Job done I headed back to basecamp, happy in the knowledge that for now at least, we'd bagged a Zarbo.

But like the legend of the Beast of Bodmin, Sasquath or the goat sucking Chupacabra, word spread of a new menace out there somewhere, a new chip leader, and what's more they were refusing to give their name "on the advice of another player". Refusing to give their name? It seems we now have a bigger prize to bag, and it's angry.

Mount up.

****

HALLWAY BACKGROUND MUSIC OF THE HOUR
AC/DC: You Shook Me All Night Long

COLOUR UP OF THE HOUR
As the players head for their second break of the day, the green 25 chips are being coloured up.

SOMETHING TO CHEW ON OF THE HOUR
Number of chewing gum packets next to Humberto Brenes' chips: 4

TWEET OF THE HOUR
Dennis Phillips: "Just brought out basketball for Paul (Pierce) to sign. Which he did. Cool."

GUESS WHO'S NOT COMING TO DINNER OF THE HOUR
Jason Mercier, who has a special dinner planned at 6pm but probably won't make it until closer to 7pm. He's still playing in Day 2A.

KEYWORD OF THE DAY
Discipline, with which Lex Veldhuis is very happy today

EXPLANATION OF THE DAY
"See, in cricket, when they hit the ball out of the park, they have to go get it. The age of the ball is important to the game." -- PokerStars Blogger Stephen Bartley (British, traditionalist) explaining to PokerStars Blogger Brad Willis (American, neo-purist) how the ESPN highlight reel would be a nightmare for cricketers.