WSOP 2012: The Watch List

wsop-130x100.pngMaybe it's that Venus is crossing in front of the sun today. Maybe it's that I've been starting my days with a three-glass cocktail of coffee, energy drinks, and Diet Coke. Maybe it's that I've finally started to slip off the edge a little (again). Whatever it is, I get the sense something big is about to happen with Team PokerStars Pro this week. At least four members of the Team have come very close to winning bracelets since the World Series of Poker kicked off. Now, there's a little tingle in my noodle that tells me something interesting is afoot.

As such, I've holed myself up in a bunker with a steady supply of Caribou coffee, soy nuts, and eye drops, and I'm waiting. I've put together a Team PokerStars Pro Watch List to help me keep track of the moving and shaking that's going on. The list is part conspiracy theory and part black op intel. I can't tell you how I know all of this. I just do.

Since I'm caffeine-addled and using poor judgment, I thought I'd share the list with you, the loyal PokerStars Blog reader.

  • Eugene Katchalov is an android. He's quiet. Too quiet. Like some rogue sleeper cell of the Team Pro Liberation Movement, he will come out of nowhere to do something astounding. He did it last year when he won his first WSOP bracelet in he $1,500 Seven Card Stud event. Today, Katchalov is second in chips out of the final 16 players in the $5,000 stud event. While he's one of the most honorable men I've met, I don't trust him to bow out of this event without a fight, or without going all Terminator on us. First place is $190,000, which I guarantee is of less importance to the Team Pro than his second bracelet. Robots like bling, after all. Threat Level: shiny

    eugene_katchalov_5kstud_wsop2012.jpg

    Just picture him in wrap-around shades saying "I'll be back."

  • Jonathan Duhamel's baby face is created by a special effects artist. I don't have any proof of that, but I trust it to be true. No one can look so much like the boy next door and still eviscerate people with such ease and carefree joy. Underneath the special effects, I feel certain there is a wrinkled, scowling, 70-year-old man who chews plugs of tobacco, eats runny eggs on toast, and wins stacks of money just so he has something to throw at the kids who wander into his yard. Today, Duhamel sits in fifth place out of the remaining 33 players in the $1,500 NLHE re-entry event. More than 3,400 people started the tournament. Duhamel is not only looking at his second bracelet. He also has a chance to win the first place purse of $781,398, which if wrapped and thrown correctly could knock several people unconscious. Threat level: French Canadian

    jonathan_duhamel_event9_wsop12.jpg

    Underneath all that make-up, he's scary...scarier...

  • Liv Boeree's injury is a rope-a-dope. You might have seen all the internet chatter about Liv Boeree's stumble-turned-fractured ankle at the big WSOP house party over the weekend. It might have looked swollen and battered, but consider the possibility that it's all just a way to make the rock-and-roll Team Pro rocket scientist goddess seem more vulnerable to her opponents. Admit it, Boeree can be sort of intimidating. She's not the kind of person you just walk over, and you wouldn't try such a thing at the table unless...indeed, unless she's injured, vulnerable, broken, and sad. Now that she has everybody thinking she's frail and brittle, she has her opponents where she wants them. She posted her first cash of the Series last night. I shudder to think what she could do with those crutches. Threat level: black and blue.
  • liv_boeree_wsop12_event92.jpg

    Broken ankle not pictured (as far as you know)

    Meanwhile, I've been keeping track of all of Team Pro's cashes so far. As of right now, here's how the top five look.

    1. Vanessa Selbst: $161,345
    2. Barry Greenstein: $78,038
    3. Daniel Negreanu: $47,322
    4. David Williams: $46,144
    5. Victor Ramdin: $19,472

    I've yet to imagine any conspiracies afoot with those luminaries, but give me time. I'm only on my tenth cup of coffee, and the real good paranoia doesn't kick in until I've hit a dozen.

    Good luck to all of Team Pro tonight at the WSOP. And, about all of the above, I'm just kidding.

    Sort of.

    Brad Willis
    @BradWillis in World Series of Poker