WSOP: Faces of the World Series -- djslash

Because it is a little quiet on the PokerStars front this evening, I thought I'd start introducing you to some of the people I'm meeting during the "Be on the Blog" sessions in the PokerStars suite. Here's the first one.

"I'm nervous," he said.

Larry Wagner, known at PokerStars as djslash, was shirtless and sitting on one of the white leather couches in the PokerStars suite. He'd brought his PokerStars.com shirt he'd purchased with his FPP points. He didn't know that dot-com-wear is strictly forbidden at the WSOP. Anne Marie, our lovely morning suite host and top-notch on-the-ground coordinator, gave Wagner a new shirt, which he promptly put on.

"I'm nervous," he said again.


Larry "djslash" Wagner


Wagner is not the type of guy I would expect to fall victim to nerves. He performs every night in front of a crowd of rowdy men and half-naked women. The 36-year-old is a disc jockey at a Greensboro, North Carolina...gentleman's club.

He was in his 30s when he started playing poker. In 2004, Wagner found PokerStars.

"Right after Fossilman won the World Series," he said.

While he always liked to visit Vegas to gamble around the Fourth of July, he had never been to the World Series of Poker. After building his bankroll playing online, he decided it was time to play his first event. For scheduling reasons alone, he chose a $1,500 Limit Hold'em event.

Knowing he was going to be playing in the first limit hold'em tournament of his life, he played countless hours of limit poker and limit tournaments. He wanted to be ready.

"I'm not playing the first hand, no matter what. After the first hand, I'll relax."

Wagner disappered shortly thereafter, his new shirt and old nerves all over him.

There is something that grizzled old veterans--or even some young online poker meteors--never really feel anymore. It's a 30-something guy's anxiety as he enters his first WSOP event. The veterans have done it countless times over. The young meteors still have the shield of youthful ego to protect them from the nerves. The 30-something guys are just old enough to realize they are about to enter something monumental and potentially life changing. In short, it's a feeling you only experience once. After that, that sense of anticipation wanes with each event.

Larry Wagner got to experience that feeling this week. His results aside, he won't forget that feeling. He won't forget that sense of nervousness. He won't forget the twist in his stomach as he crossed the threshold into the Amazon ballroom.

That is why people come here.