WSOP 2013: Rupert Elder on passports, tactics and seeing off the Brat

It's one of the significant moments of any main event - the departure of Phil Hellmuth. There was a time when it was his arrival that made headlines, the Poker Brat either carried across the threshold like a Roman Emperor, dressed in racing overalls escorted by a scantily clad pit crew, or stitched up like a general, with more stars on his helmet than Patten could ever dream of.

None of that this year, and a low key departure from the tournament area, shaking hands with everyone along the way, leaving via the service exit, another summer at the World Series complete.

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Phil Hellmuth departs

He left behind a difficult table, notable for the presence of one of the UK's most talented professionals right now Rupert Elder - a former EPT winner who had proved himself capable both of beating Hellmuth, and winding him up a bit.

"He was getting bothered that I kept three-betting him," said Elder, keen to dismiss him as a threat. "I won a big pot off him as well. He's just 'I'm going to have to four-bet you' and 'new table captain'. Shut up!"

Elder arrived in Las Vegas a day after the SCOOP main event finished. Since then he's cashed three times, taken a few swaps from good friend David Vamplew, and lived the life of one of those people we all wish we could be - young, successful and perfectly pleasant about it.

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Rupert Elder

To get here he took the PokerStars Passport route. At least he thinks so. When I asked he seemed a little vague and couldn't remember. "Yes. Yes. Yes! That's right!" he said, like someone remembering the pre-arranged story he was supposed to tell as his part in an elaborate hoax.

It's so far so good for the Englishman, playing well and so far no broken bones. Twelve months ago Elder broke his leg while playing soccer here. Right now his feet are both firmly on the ground, with a stack of more than 360,000. It's came the hard way. This morning he started alongside Eric Seidel and Melanie Weisner.

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Melanie Weisner

The former is an eight-time bracelet winner. The latter, another fearless player, is Elder's girlfriend, which as men we can surely all agree is an altogether more terrifying opponent. Elder laughed off such a suggestion.

"It was okay," he said. "When she was the hijack I was the big blind. So we didn't clash very often."

A wise tactical move on Elder's part, who survived the hour they were together (Weisner is up to around 500,000) before each was sent to a new table. Elder went first to a seat near chip leader at the time Mark Kroon, before reassignment to the immediately left of Hellmuth.

Now Hellmuth is gone, leaving Elder to resume his role as table captain in his wake. It's suiting him so far as we edge closer to Day 4.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter. Pictures courtesy of Poker Photo Archive.