WSOP 2011: Brokos earning respect going into top 100
"How old are you?" This was veteran pro John Esposito talking to Stefan Huber who replied that he was 25. Esposito, who has been playing poker since the year before Huber was born, looked around at the table, pointing as he counted out aloud. "23, 23, 25." This was funny to him, because he's surrounded by young guys and is, by some way, the only players at the table with any grey hair.
It's a point that we've grown so used to that we tend to ignore it. But it was being driven home to Esposito that poker is now a game occupied for the most part by kids, internet guys and gals making a fortune at home while guys his age make a living at the office.
Lesson number two was quick to follow.
"Where are you from?" Esposito asked.
"Zurich," replied Huber.
"Ah, Scandinavia" said Esposito, knowingly. He knew the reputation of Scandinavian players, the ones first spotted more than five years ago tearing through events like this, and he was being friendly. So was Huber, who didn't want to say that Switzerland isn't in Scandinavia.
Another of the younger guys at this table is Andrew Brokos. But he's a veteran to the World Series, particular deep runs in the main event of the World Series, who has now reached the top 100 for the past three years. He's cashed in five of the past six.
Brokos, a member of Team PokerStars Online, doesn't say much, whether he's not in the pot, or in one, as his hand against Huber would demonstrate.
With the board showing 3♥8♦6♠J♣ Brokos was checking to Huber and allowing him to lead the betting in late position. With the turn on the board Huber slowly pushed 169,000 forward. Brokos asked the dealer quietly how much it was, then called with a tower of orange chips topped with green.
The river card came 6♣. Against Brokos tapped the table, sending the cameras spinning towards Huber. Brokos checked again. Huber, paused, then went to his stack which was aligned with the markings on the chips making long diagonals, like the barber pole of some psychedelic hair cutter. From that he peeled off 252,000.
Brokos nodded, against asked how much, but it seemed like a formality. With a million chips behind Brokos called.
"Good call," said Huber, who turned over T♠9♠. Brokos's A♦T♥ was good.
"Wow," said Esposito. "That's playing poker right there buddy. Quite a call."
"Sick," mumbled another player.
"Give me a little love," said Esposito, extending a fist towards Brokos and perhaps hoping some of whatever he had would rub off. Brokos doesn't seem the type to do fist taps but he respected his elders, just as his elder respected him.
Huber was left slightly red faced. "How much would you fold?" he asked, but Brokos didn't answer, leaving Esposito to do the talking and Huber to stew. Brokos up to nearly 2,000,000.
HAPPIEST MAN IN THE RIO OF THE HOUR
The Japanese man in Starbucks who, without speaking a word of English, successfully ordered himself a Café Latte.
HAND OF THE HOUR
It was a blind versus blind battle that saw Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg flop lucky in the big blind with 6♦8♣ against J♣J♠ on a T♣6♣8♦ flop. They got it all in and the bottom two pair held. Ruthenberg now sits on 4.4 million.
POKER TERMINOLOGY OF THE HOUR
Reverse Jinx: Being behind against an all-in opponent and how many chips he has with one card left to come in an attempt to get the poker fates to let you suck out.
NICKNAME OF THE HOUR
German, the name given to Sebastian Ruthenberg by Claudia Crawford. She's from the US. He is, well, German.
BUST OUT OF THE HOUR
PokerStars qualifier Julian Stuer's deep run at this year's WSOP is over. He's out, leaving six PokerStars players in the remaining field of 92.
DEBATABLE STATEMENT OF THE HOUR
"I haven't lied once today," - Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem as he turned over pocket queens after pushing a player out of a hand.
GOOD WORK OF THE HOUR
News from Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin: "Am in Guyana on my annual charity trip with my family and the rest of the crew. It feels good to be doing a real job instead of my usual poker grind."
VIDEO OF THE HOUR
Here's Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem, still in the mix here in the WSOP Main Event...