by Craig Cunningham
Phil Hellmuth may show up late for WSOP events, but PokerStars morning folks were at the Rio early. Ron Blount from Houston was like most of the field here. He flew in Thursday, checked into Treasure Island, made it to the Rio by 1:00PM to register, then played a satellite at Paris. His gameplan today: figure out his opponents at the table, then do the opposite. He has a novel tourney strategy: fold those big cards. “I used to really love big pairs, but more and more I’ll just get rid of them if I run into problems. I figure I’ll just move on and keep playing in the tournament rather than busting out.” After hopping out of the cab we shared, Ron headed to Buzio’s for the breakfast spread provided by PokerStars. Well rested, hot food in the belly, two hours of casual conversation before taking his seat at Table 162.
For players waiting to enter the Main Event, here are the facts: 8,431 entered as of 9:00AM Pacific, with alternates to the Main Event for the first time in history. There are now satellites to become alternates as well. For those not familiar with the term alternate, it’s a simple yet fairly mind-boggling concept: an alternate takes the seat of a player who has busted out of a tournament. Juan Carlos Mortensen was the first alterate seated in Event #2 this year, and he ran his 1500 chips into the chip lead for most of the tourney and a final table finish. For those of us who play poker, however, it is hard to fathom a desire so great that one would plunk down $10k to wait for a seat at the Main Event, knowing that once you take the seat you will be below average in chips. With the blinds low, it won’t be the disadvantage that it might be at lower buy-in tourney. But who wants any disadvantage when they take their seat? For PokerStars qualifiers, they won’t need to worry about that. The Amazon Poker Room has been in lock down mode since 9:00, only players waiting to buy-in allowed to enter. For everyone else, all they can do is wait to get it started.Back to Top