The few became fewer today. This beleaguered poker bastion known as the Amazon Room got smaller and smaller and its surviving 79 occupants endured another day of triumph and trauma. The camp was small as players took their seats at high noon and by 11:30pm what remained were just a handful of tables with thousands of wide spectator eyes fixed upon them.
The whole room had taken on a different atmosphere today, with the tables from previous days gone and the area of action reduced table by table towards the main stage. It was quite a day, one of ups and downs for those playing under the PokerStars banner, headed by Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin, with the likes of sponsored player Kara Scott equally popular with the railbirds.
But on days like these surviving the cut depends on chips, cards, courage and that all important bit of luck. For much of this week Kara had the chips, the courage and didn’t need the cards, but that last bit of luck drained away this evening, her magnificent main event performance ended fittingly in front of the cameras and crowds on the feature table, her KQ running into AT on an AK4 flop to mark the end of an effort worth $41,816 for 104th place.
Joining Kara on the rail was the last of the FPP qualifiers Doug Ashmore from Houston, Texas. Doug paid 4,000 FPPs to enter a satellite, finishing as one of the top three players of 426 to win a seat to the World Series. Today he went even better, effectively turning that buy in into $41,816 with a 124th place finish.
FPP qualifier Doug Ashmore
It was not all about goodbyes. Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin, who already has a final table to his name this year, continued his pursuit of the ultimate second making a powerful start, bouncing his way up into the millions.
Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin
Victor excelled, flying as high as the three million mark before a harsh dose of tournament reality struck, costing him much of his fortune. He ended the day with just under a million, certainly enough for a player of his calibre to return to make his mark on Day 6.
As we find year on year it’s not just the quantity of PokerStars qualifiers that impresses, but also the quality.
Romanian qualifier Cristian Dragomir has enjoyed a somewhat meteoric rise up the chip lists from day one to now. His story is one of the ultimate spin-up, having won $1.87 on a freeroll four years ago which he gradually increased into thousands. In a nice parallel he’s done the same here. At the end of day one he had 55,000, a day later he was up to 193,000. Yesterday that figure was 824,000 and then in the first couple of levels this afternoon he jacked that up to 2.5 million. He returns tomorrow slightly down at 1.8million.
PokerStars qualifier Cristian Dragomir
His story could potentially be a big one, not least in his native Romania.
“It’s huge,” he said. “I just read on the internet that I’m going to be on the news. All my friends back home are rooting for me. It’s massive.”
Brian Tatum, a steps qualifier from Illinois, is making the most of his first trip to Vegas. He plays at PokerStars like it’s his “morning cup of coffee” according to his girlfriend Joanne, who wrote to us at email@example.com, and now he’s on the mother of all caffeine rushes.
PokerStars qualifier Brian Tatum
He secured his seat on the final weekend before the main event and is still in with more than a million in chips going into the sixth day. He’s being followed closely by all his family back home, and Joanne has also helped us out with some editorial on the site. It’s a great story, and we’ve got a great narrator on board as well.
A mention also for Andrew Brokos who stormed towards the chip lead late today, ending with 4 million to bag and tag. Brandon Cantu, David Rheem, Greg Byard, Larry Wright, Geert Jens, Owen Crowe and Ylon Schwartz are all among those flying the flag for PokerStars heading into Day 6. You can find a complete list of who else is charged that task by clicking HERE.
PokerStars qualifier Andrew Brokos
PokerStars player Brandon Cantu
PokerStars qualifier Owen Crowe
PokerStars player Ylon Schwartz
But where there is joy there is also loss. There’s something ingrained onto the DNA of poker players that sees success as nothing short of total victory. Whilst a top 100 finish right now seem an incredible feat, years down the line a poker player will look on it more as a missed opportunity. The very best players operate in different circles to the rest of us mere mortals.
An honourable mention today goes to all PokerStars qualifiers and players who today took home a combined $981,077.
A total of 79 players survived today’s onslaught, the trials and tribulations of a day that was more intense than yesterday but will come nowhere near the pressures of tomorrow when the perimeter will move even closer as we arrive at the last 27.
All that will start at noon in Las Vegas but for all the coverage from the day we broke the 100 barrier, check out the links below:
And now, day five
Under the lights
War of words
Party on, Garth
Keeping ones feet on (Romanian) ground
4,000 FPPs = $40,000 at WSOP
About the break
Nice gals finish 104th
This from our Brian Tatum correspondent
Cantu can do
Throughout the day, the PokerStars video blog team has been posting video blogs from the World Series on the brand new PokerStars.tv. Be sure to check out the latest videos to get the password for the PokerStars.tv freeroll.
Selected chip counts from Day 5 can be found on our 2008 World Series Chip Counts page. When the tourney staff sends out the final list for Day 6, we’ll post it on the same page.
For coverage from all the previous days, we’ve posted summaries below.
Photos (c) 2008 by Joe Giron/IMPDI