WSOP 2017: Silver's $90K burger and Moorman's $160K dream?


Max Silver aka Agent B

There's been a lot in the news recently about meetings in hotels--and we've got one to report ourselves. Last July two agents met in the newly-opened Smashburger restaurant at the Rio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, and traded verbal promissory notes over an unspecified cash amount.

A number of months later--if our sources are to believed--Agent A handed Agent B $93,224.56 in two packages of $46,612.28 each. Agent B also owed Agent A $4,324.22, which they offset against the higher amount. Agent B profited to the tune of $88,900.34, all for "services rendered" and mostly because of that anonymous meeting in Smashburger. Rumour has it, the money was handed over in November.

It's murky as all heck--and it doesn't get much better this year. This year, the very same Agent B has got himself embroiled in another highly suspicious-sounding trade agreement, this time predicated on the predictions of a clairvoyant from the south of England, wearing a jewel-encrusted gold bracelet.

Agent B has himself been brandishing the jewels this year. He too has a similar gold bracelet to that of the clairvoyant. Is this masonic? Are they in cahoots with some secret society? And where is Agent A these days? He hasn't been seen for at least a week.

Our source for all this is Agent B himself but if current political scandals have taught us anything, it's that we can't even necessarily believe what we hear coming out of protagonists' own mouths. It's all so confusing. But let's take a minute to examine the known evidence, and unravel this mystery.

The Rio Hotel & Casino in June and July is swarming with poker players. It's World Series of Poker time. And ever since the best poker players in the world figured out that the best way to make this game a profession was to profit when the going is good and mitigate losses when things are going less well, they have been selling action and swapping pieces in major events.

(To the uninitiated: "selling action" is when a tournament poker player raises the funds for his or her buy-in by selling small portions of the overall amount. The investor would then receive a return on any profit commensurate to their investment. In the most basic arrangement, if I buy 1% of a tournament buy-in and you win $100,000, I'll get $1,000 back. "Swapping" is when two players in the same tournament agree to trade percentages of their action.)

In this instance here, Agent B is Max Silver, the British pro. Silver is a long-time friend of PokerStars Blog and we've watched his career blossom from home-game regular to UKIPT boss, to EPT High Roller and Super High Roller and, this year, World Series bracelet winner. Silver struck gold in the $3,000 Limit Hold'em event, winning $172,645.

But Silver also has a great swap game, and last year, when both players were deep in the Main Event, Silver bumped into Gordon Vayo in the line at Smashburger. The pair had already swapped 1% of their action ahead of play, and decided to add another 1% as they waited for their dinners.


Gordon Vayo: Added some relish to Silver's burger

Silver placed 33rd last year, cashing for $24,722. Of that, $4,324.22 was Vayo's 2% cut. However, Vayo went all the way to second place and won $4.6 million. That agreement in the burger restaurant earned Silver $46,612.28 in addition to the $46,612.28 they had already agreed to swap.

Flash forward to this year, and it's Chris Moorman who is looking to cash in richly from Silver's deep run. Moorman, the winningest online tournament poker player in the world, also won his first World Series bracelet this year. But as he slept on the night of July 6, Moorman was dreaming of Silver--specifically Silver reaching the final table of the Main Event.

Moorman suggested an action swap with Silver, just in case his prediction came true:

So that's the truth of the story of the hotel meeting and the gold bedecked clairvoyant from England. Could Moorman's dream yet be worth around $160,000 to him?

It should probably be noted here that Silver will likely have a few more swaps going on in this event, and has maybe sold some action too. It's just common practice in high buy-in tournaments, where fields are huge, variance is high and it pays to have several horses running at once. It's not at all controversial to suggest that almost all professional players left in this event will have some kind of arrangement, or arrangements, in place.

Silver himself is also gifting another 2% of his action via his company's Twitter page. Silver is the designer and company founder for a popular app, named SnapShove, that determines correct short-stack strategy in no limit hold'em tournaments.

It was only slightly ironic that Silver won his most prominent title in limit hold'em, where shoving ranges are--how to put it?--a little less significant. (He joked on Twitter: "@SnapShove limit holdem module coming Q4 2017.")

Nonetheless, shoving ranges are exactly on Silver's mind at time of writing either. He is currently on the feature table with a chip stack of nearly 8 million--more than 100 big blinds.

Chris Moorman can already look forward to buying a very expensive new crystal ball.

WSOP photos by