Some tables here on Day 2 of the Main Event are quiet, as players strap on their headphones, send texts or fiddle with their tablets. (I even saw one player with his phone out, watching the action from the TV table which was taking place some 25 feet from where his own chips were in play. That’s some serious left-brain/right-brain stuff going on there).
Other tables seem to seethe with an unspoken aggression, as rivered 3-outers linger in the memory and bad blood bubbles beneath the surface. Most tables, though, are just what you’d expect: players getting down to the business of poker. Concentrating. Focusing. Ordering cocktails.
And then there’s table 35.
For nine guys playing for a first prize just shy of $1.5M, there’s an awful lot of laughter coming from table 35. That may have something to do with Shaun Deeb and Chris Moneymaker, who are sitting in seats 6 and 8, and seem to be approaching this Main Event with a suitably Bahamian sense of seriousness.
Moneymaker and Deeb: serious players
“We play way too may pots together” laughs Deeb, after he and Moneymaker take it all the way to a showdown both holding queens with a king kicker. Moneymaker shoots Deeb a wink as the dealer splits the pot.
Over in seat 3 is the young American Daniel Strelitz, fresh from his 16th place finish in the LAPT Main Event. While he plays his fourth straight day of tournament poker, his fiancée is out shopping, getting stuff for their new apartment.
“You better keep running good, kid,” Moneymaker deadpans as he opens from the button. Both blinds fold in quick succession. He gestures to the button in front of him and smiles as he drags the pot. “Shaun told me if you get this you’re supposed to raise”.
Deeb and Moneymaker are both sitting behind decent stacks. Between the two sits Marco Johnson, nursing the table’s short stack. As you might expect, he seems a little tenser than his tablemates.
Keen to join in with the laidback atmosphere, he does the only sensible thing…and calls over a masseuse.
Adam Hampton is a copywriter for PokerStars