WSOP 2011: Positively 4th Street

wsop2011-thumb-blog.pngA little way up the Flamingo road tonight, the legendary Bob Dylan is live on stage at The Palms. Several poker players of note are known to have grabbed the chance to see the great man select a song list from a rich back catalog that includes Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Lay Lady Lay, Like a Rolling Stone and, thankfully, Positively 4th Street. That last one cheers me up no end, not only because the title has a tenuous link to poker--and a way into this post-dinner story-- but because one of the verses rings very true with what is going on here at Rio, half a mile from Dylan's stage.

You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, "How are you?" "Good luck"
But you don't mean it

Think about it, how many times have you wished players at your table good luck? Plenty, I'm sure, just as I'm certain you don't mean it. After all, why would you want your opponents to get lucky against you?

When the remaining 174 players returned from dinner, there were plenty of good-mannered "good lucks". None of them meant it. While it may have rung true at the start of the WSOP main event, there's simply too much at stake now for anyone to say it sincerely. Each of those players is now guaranteed $47,101. The next pay jump is worth an additional $7,000. Soon the pay jumps will be more substantial still. As if you need reminding, the winner here will take home more than $8.7 million.

Faces are looking more stern now than we have seen so far in the tournament. "He looks like he has not got a face made for smiling," a colleague said, pointing out the young man in the white Abercrombie & Fitch hoodie with closely-cut gelled hair. This was Philipp Gruissem, a PokerStars qualifier who won his seat here in a Main Event Passport $700 satellite.

It was true, at that time Gruissem looked like an angry man with a frown on his face. Not even picking up two pots within an orbit made him happy. Then he got a walk in the big blind, and one of his friends on the rail said: "It's an easy game for some people." That caused Gruissem to break into a smile at last. He wandered over for a chat with the joker while his denim jeans hung fashionably low over his backside, a trend that tends not to work once you get over a certain age. It wouldn't look good on Bob Dylan, for example.


Philipp Gruissem at the PCA

Gruissem has won $130,000 or so in live tournaments, but it would have been substantially more had he not bubbled the PCA High Roller. In the online poker world, he has made a small fortune. He is known as philbort on PokerStars, where he will regularly be in the money. In the recent SCOOP series he final tabled the Main Event (Medium) and cashed for $86,000. Another final table cash, this time for $37,000 came in a SCOOP rebuy, high buy-in.

The young German has naked aggression, a powerful tool online that he is now taking into his live game. His biggest cash has been $95,355 for coming third in the EPT Berlin high roller in April. Sitting with more than 1.2 million chips right now, he's on course to at least top that here.

If he goes on and wins the full $8.7 million, consider this: it would still be $71 million short of Bob Dylan's net worth. And that is positively easy street

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ElkY: "Sick finished summer with a min-cash at Bellagio cup. Was short all day was quite tough. Oh well. 2 months 2 millions can't complain ;)"

A stack of 1,000 denomination chips spilled all over a table and the floor during a color up (all of the chips were found)

Friend of the PokerStars Blog, Garry Gates. gg GG.

"Show the bluff! Show the bluff! We're going to see it anyway."
Railbird, to the player who had just beaten Max Heinzelmann out of a pot in front of at least three TV cameras.

@JPKellyStars: "Just had mental hand on my table...fine line between genius and insanity??"