WSOP 2011: Jason Alexander unfazed by tough table
In Seinfeld, the blockbuster US sitcom, Jason Alexander played George Costanza, a character who could be described as the quintessential loser; he could not hold down a job, and finding a girl was nigh-on impossible. In real life, Alexander oozes success and the wealth that comes with a top-notch acting career not just on TV, but on the Broadway stage, too.
He is also a keen poker player with $30,000 in tournament winnings to his name, which is why you'll find him playing Day 1A of the main event today. But the fate of the table draw has defined his task: difficult. Sitting with Alexander, a Friend of PokerStars, are Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst, Card Player's Barry Shulman and Matt Glantz. That's a fearsome line-up for sure, probably the toughest table in the room, but it's a challenge that Alexander is relishing.
In the early stages he has built his stack from the starting 30,000 to 57,000. On this hand there was a flop of 4♦9♣5♠ and Alexander tossed in a 1,400 bet from middle position, getting calls from the cut-off and the button. The turn was 4♣ and this time Alexander made a bet of 5,500. Both opponents folded.
Selbst, meanwhile, is taking it steady. For a woman who has won $4.3million in tournaments, the Team PokerStars Pro can afford to bide her time. She eased up to around 35,000 after the first level, but in the second she dropped back to below her starting stack. "Terrible level so far," she tweeted. "Have made 2 very big folds I think right both times. Down to 28k could be a lot worse though."
Watching Selbst is not always eventful. While she can be involved in many pots, you rarely see a flicker of emotion as she concentrates on her game. Today there is little table chatter, but with Alexander, Shulman and Glantz for company on the first day, there's not a great deal to laugh about.
To be honest the atmosphere is fairly subdued throughout the Amazon Room. In previous years there would be whooping and hollering on Day 1A, as players fight for camera time and their moment of glory in the ESPN spotlight. That's not happening here, maybe because fewer qualifiers have been sent by the online poker sites meaning we have a far higher percentage of tournament regulars.
Regardless, it's making for a quiet start. Whole swathes of the room are hushed aside from the usual, infernal clattering of chips... and the occasional outburst from 'refreshed' Swedish player Peter Hedlund.
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THE "YOU MIGHT SAY THAT" QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"I think I might get drunk for a change."
ATTENTION SEEKING HAT OF THE HOUR
The orange inflatable plastic crown (with matching orange garland) worn by one player.
INTERESTING TABLE DRAW OF THE HOUR
Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer now shares a table with Team PokerStars Pro Jan Heitmann.
OLD SCHOOL CHAMPS OF THE HOUR
Rob Hollink and Jeff Williams, the EPT Seasons 1 & 2 champions, both in the Day 1A field.
BEST DECISION EVER OF THE HOUR
Jani Sointula growing a beard
TWEET OF THE HOUR
Daniel Negreanu: "For those asking, I'm still undecided what Day 1 I'll be playing. It's either 1C or 1D depending how I feel that day."
RANDOM STAT OF THE HOUR
Number of bracelets won by people from Hungary in 2010 WSOP: 2