WSOP 2015: Navigating through Day 2's No Fun Swamp

Fatima Moreira de Melo pushed her chair back from the one-seat of her table and put it back, careful not to bump Todd Brunson's knees as he finished his hand. She looked one more time at her stack, put two finger guns to both temples, and pulled the triggers.

It's not been her best day.

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Leaning against the Brasilia Room stage, she stood just a couple of feet from a stack that is good for only one thing: shoving or folding. She's been doing a lot of both.

"Dude, I'm grinding my ass off," she said.

Day 2 of the WSOP might be the hardest of all. Day 1 is full of adrenaline and excitement. Days 3 and 4 mean the money bubble is close or already gone. Day 2 is a terrible, muddy, humid slog through the No Fun Swamp.

De Melo started the day with 20,000, and it's a good thing she is inclined to smile, because the kind of afternoon she has endured is enough to make people give up. She got in a hand with a guy who'd limped before her. De Melo flopped a flush draw and gutshot with A♣5♣. The guy check-called her. When she paired her ace on the turn, she got check-called again. The river bricked, so she checked behind. What does her man flip up? Pocket aces.

"It's like f--k that hand!" she said. "If he check-raises me on the flop, I'm done. I'm never going to fold."

So, she went to work, surviving pairs versus sets, and countless all-ins. She was down to 8,000, doubled up, and fell back to 6,000. She is the queen of No Fun Swamp

"I shoved with ace-jack, no call. I shoved with ace-king, no call. I shoved with queens, no call. I shoved with fives, no call," she said.

Despite the finger guns, she is keeping it together. In the old days, she says, she would've just shoved it in with trash to end the pain. Now, she's avoiding the high-variance situations and looking for the best spot.

"I'm proud of myself. I'm keeping my cool," she said. "I feel like I have been making the right decisions, but it would just be nice to be on top, you know, one time?"

Meanwhile, through the brackish waters of the Amazon Room, Jaime Staples is finding Day 2 to have a lot more sunshine. Having started the day with 14,000, Staples has been cruising.

"My table is super action, so I've been lucky enough to have some hands where people are getting a lot of chips in," he said during the same break.

As we reported earlier, this is Staples very first WSOP Main Event, and as his stack doubled and doubled again, he let himself start believing.

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"There was a moment there where I let myself think, 'Okay, this might happen.' I got that shot of adrenaline all of a sudden," he said.

But Staples is no dummy. Even though he returned from break with 70 big blinds, he knows Day 2 is a swamp, and even if you stumble into a spot of sunshine, there no way to avoid just how messy and unpredictable this day can be. To wit: he lost a big one as soon as he got back to his table.

Still, Staples has no complaints

"Just grind on. Pick your spots. It's seven days, right?" he said.

Seven days, indeed, but to see any more of them, both he and De Melo are going to have to find their way out of the No Fun Swamp without a map.

is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Photos by