Team PokerStars Pro is an ever-growing entity. As the game becomes popular in even more countries around the world, owing to the likes of the European and Latin America Poker Tours (EPT and LAPT), so the players from some previously unvisited poker-playing countries come to the the world's attention, and have been known to earn themselves a place in poker's most exciting Team.
Just ahead of the World Series, two new recruits joined the ranks. One was William Thorson, from Sweden, a player with plenty of previous form in the main event here and who has been a leading light on the European poker scene for a good long while. Read all about William HERE. The second new player was perhaps less immediately recognisable than the distinctive Swede, but is no less well equipped to rise to the top of the game.
Marcin Horecki, from Poland, is a former professional downhill skier, a former corporate financier, a former Magic: The Gathering whizz, and now a professional poker player.
Horecki cashed on the EPT in Copenhagen last year, followed up with a final table in the Asian Poker Classic, and then took down an event at the Austrian Masters. Now he's here at the World Series, where he has already earned his first cash -- $5,569 for 82nd in one of the huge $1,500 no limit hold 'em events -- and is playing today in his first main event.
In truth, it hasn't quite been the introduction he would have liked and Horecki, known online as Goral, is down from his original starting stack of 20,000 to just more than 6,000. Still, he's done well to keep something playable in front of him. He's had a nut flush outdrawn when a two pair filled up on the end, and, as he recently whispered lest his adversaries hear, he has twice laid down the second-best hand when he knew he was beaten. Good folds keep you in these kind of tournaments and allow the chance to prosper from the big hands when they come.
Meanwhile, other Team PokerStars Pros have not been able to survive the mayhem of these early levels. Chad Brown recently joined Katja Thater and Raymond Rahme on the rail, when he was dealt A-K for the third time and lost with it again. First he ran it into K-K; second, he ran it into A-A and then even when he was ahead, running it into K-Q he still finished second best when the lower hand made a flush. Noah Boeken, Tuan Lam and Luca Pagano remain in the hunt, as do PokerStars sponsored players Scotty Nguyen and Mekhi Phifer.
The players are now on their 90 minute dinner break, signalling the half-way point of day 1A. Updated chip counts will appear HERE at the end of the break.
We will shortly also be in possession of a full player list from the day, meaning we'll know exactly who is in this thing, and where they sat at the start. Obviously some tables have broken and some players have moved, but if there's any PokerStars qualifier's progress you'd like to follow, then send us an e-mail and we'll do our best to find them. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and put "URGENT WSOP Main Event" in the subject line. Then give us a few biographical details about your friend/relative and we'll do our best to get them on the blog and chip count list, hopefully all the way into the money stages of this one.
Arjen Witteveen is among the vast list of PokerStars qualifiers here, but is in a distinguished minority among them in that essentially he's freerolling. Although you do have to rack up some real-money play to accrue Frequent Player Points (FPPs), you would have got them anyway if you play a lot on the sight. Then, like the Dutchman Witteveen, you can play in a satellite and hope to ride them all the way to Las Vegas, something that, as he explains to the video blog team, excites him greatly.
Watch WSOP 08: Aryen Witteveen Online Qualifier on PokerStars.tv
A reminder, watch to the end of the video blog for the password to the PokerStars.tv freeroll. And another reminder that all our video coverage, including heaps from the World Series plus an archive of former event videos, can be found over there at PokerStars.tv.