WSOP 2011: De Meulder double vision
Focus has no emergency alarm when it's about to expire. There are no sirens or power meters that signal the end. One minute the hole cards match the board for the perfect nuts. The next minute they can't beat third pair. What was once a yellow 1,000-chip call becomes a two 5,000 orange-chip raise. At the World Series of Poker, a daydream can become a living nightmare. Men with tattoos for sleeves always have pocket aces. Grandmothers with $10,000 bricks for card cappers are bluffing people off full houses. The entire tournament can become a 3D stereogram and there is no finding the hidden image under the giant blur.
And then suddenly, it's impossible to believe double vision hasn't taken over. In one room, the same man sits at two tables. He wears different clothes, but it's clear he's managed some odd metaphysical twist that allows him to multi-account a live tournament. Even if the eyes are playing tricks, the flag on the man's right shoulder--both of them!--bears the Belgian flag. It's a dead giveaway and something the tournament officials should see immediately. Call the floor! Call the police! Call Carl Sagan! Do something, anything, even if it's wrong. Just get it done because there is no doubt this man--both of him--will get heads up against himself for the WSOP Main Event title and the entire world will suck-in-blow-out-suck-in-again implode on itself.
Or maybe not.
Maybe it's just the De Meulder brothers.
Christophe and Matthias de Meulder are Team PokerStars Pro. They probably aren't evil. They are probably just one of life's cute genetic quirks. They are probably just identical twins that nobody can tell apart. They probably should play different flights of the WSOP Main Event.
But they don't. They don't because they are brothers, fellow Team Pro members, and spirits connected on some level that twin-less siblings can pretend to have. Also, they've probably seen "The Parent Trap," a movie that makes it clear being a twin is all about screwing with everybody's head.
It's late on Day 1C and both Chris and Matti are still in the Main Event. Fate has put them in different parts of the Amazon Room, but that doesn't help much. It requires actually asking each one his name. Further, it requires the brothers to tell the truth. After that, it's a matter of faith. Indeed, faith in a poker player. A poker player who looks just like another poker player. A poker player who looks just like another poker player in the same room. It's a recipe for a psychic crisis.
The twin brothers have been out here for several weeks. They provided the PokerStars Blog with a couple of updates on their progress. Even the editors of this site aren't sure who wrote what. It's embarrassing and futile to ask. In fact, unless one of the twins busts out tonight, it could be days before anybody knows which brother is sitting where.
In that way, the brothers are exactly one man playing as two. Their DNA, their playing style, their eyes-eating-your-soul's-liver...it's all basically the same. Like some regenerative starfish, even if one leg gets cut off, the parts continue on until they walk as a whole.
Or maybe that's all just the late night focus in a blue-screen-of-death fail. Maybe they are just a couple of twin brothers out for a good time in Vegas. Well-rested, focused people would probably come to this conclusion. In the light of Day 2, the brothers De Meulder will probably seems a lot less menacing.
For now, however, there is one hour left in a very long Day 1C flight, and trying to accept the doppelgangers as something innocent and cute just isn't in the cards.
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CHIPCOUNT OF THE HOUR
Team PokerStars Pro J.P. Kelly: 44,000
TWEET OF THE HOUR
Jason Mercier: "Getting mashed in every hand I enter. No big deal tho. Still in and ready to #mash asap... Have 21.7k"
HISTORY LESSON OF THE HOUR
1993 WSOP Main Event champ Jim Bechtel was a farmer when he won his gold bracelet.
BRANDING DIFFERENCE OF THE HOUR
Miller Lite slogan at MLB games: "Choose Taste"
Miller Lite slogan at WSOP: "Bet On Taste."