WSOP 2011: Linde punching Passport in lawless back country
It was a lawless day in the Amazon. For every person who lived, another's throat spilled on the carpet. Fate culled the field and culled it again for good measure. On the sidelines hung cackling, drunk loons who cheered the blood and kicked the dead. In the Thunderdome, amphetamine-crazed shamans pushed the bounds of humanity to Earth's edge and over. Crank-fueled outlaw bikers would've been scared. Against all odds, 57 survived.
In the middle of it all was the placid-faced Swede, Per Linde. If he smiles or frowns, he does it in private, at home, under a thick blanket where no one can see. He's a static picture of a poker face, a catalog model pointing stoically at an unseen zeppelin in an dark sky. He might as well be an online avatar for all the emotion he shows. Hell, as near as anyone can tell, he is an online avatar, one with an average stack going into Day 7 of the 2011 WSOP.
Linde is one of several people who are here on a few bucks courtesy of PokerStars. As has been mentioned here frequently over the past few days, the PokerStars Main Event Passports offered players a chance to play in qualifying tournaments that could win them seats in any EPT, APPT, LAPT, PCA or WSOP Main Event. Many of the winners chose the WSOP. Linde was among the three Passport-holders who started today with chips. Julian Stuer, a 21-year old from Germany, capped off his tournament with a 93rd place finish for $64,531. Meanwhile, Phillip Gruissem and Linde spent the day collecting chips and head into Day 7 with their Passports still in their pockets.
The Passport-holders made up nearly half of the PokerStars Magnificent Seven, including three Team PokerStars Pros, the three Main Event Passport winners, and one member of Team PokerStars Online. When the day ended, 57 remained, less than one percent of the total starting field.
Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg lead the way most of the day and looked to continue the flagman's charge into Day 7. He very well might have if it hadn't been for losing half his stack in a three-way all in. Ruthenberg's big slick couldn't outrun pocket queens and pocket fours. Instead of ending the day with the chip lead, he finished with the smallest stack in the room.
That left JP Kelly as the star of Team PokerStars Pro. He'd been nipping at Ruthenberg's heels for days. When the German Team Pro slipped late in the evening, Kelly stepped right up. After sitting at the feature table for most of the night, Kelly finished the day in decent shape with an above-average stack. While he's still a long way away from claiming the Main Event title, he still has the chance to take over Phil Ivey's spot as youngest person to win three bracelets.
While Tony Hachem doesn't yet have a bracelet to call his own, he can boast of winning the ANZPT Player of the Year Award twice. It's a distinction he holds proudly, but one that would do him no good throughout the day. Card-dead or second-best from the shuffle-up-and-deal to the final bell, at this point Hachem has to be happy to even have chips. Late in the day, he managed to climb around the two million mark, bigger than he'd been all day, but still a bit off pace. In any case, he's still around and looking at add another "Hachem" to the list of Main Event champions.
If you're looking for someone with a reason to be proud, look no further than Team PokerStars Online's Andrew Brokos. This year not only marks his fifth cash in six years, but also marks his third consecutive Top 100 finish. His best finish to date is 35th place. He'll know by this time tomorrow whether he's done it. It will take some work. He's also sitting on a half-average stack and in need of a double up tomorrow.
Alas, none of them finished anywhere near Ryan Lenaghan, the man who at this hour appears to be he runaway chip leader with more than three times the chip average.
According to WSOP officials, the remaining players will come back tomorrow and play four levels or down to 12 players, whichever comes first. After that, only one more day will remain until the fourth November Nine heads off for an autumn of thinking about the chance at a WSOP bracelet.
Join us back here Monday at noon local time for the penultimate day of summer play. Here's to hoping for a more civilized day.