The grizzled are here. No doubt about it. There are more wrinkles in this room than a kennel full of Shar Peis. While the smell of Ben Gay is present, it is not as pervasive as the scent of youth (what that smells like is open to debate, but for me it's chewing gum and soap).
Few of the young guns in this room have been more successful than a couple of rail-thin young'uns who recently reached an age such that they could play in the World Series.
Jeff "yellowsub86" Williams went from college student to balla in one week in the spring of 2006. Still too young to compete in the United States, Williams headed to Monte Carlo for the Season 2 EPT Grand Final. The Atlanta, GA native went on to win the tournament and a million bucks. Since turning 21, Williams has done nothing but cash in poker tournaments. Last April, he won $34,000 in the $5,000 WPT event at the Bellagio. Then he cashed in three WSOP events this year. Today, the PokerStars qualifier sits in Amazon Room and is looking to add a major American title to his young resume. He came tantalizingly close just a few weeks ago. He finished runner-up $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em with rebuys event and won $406,000.
In early action today, Williams is up to 22,000 from his original starting stack of 20,000.
In competition with Williams for the Thinnest Poker Player in Vegas title is Ricky Fohrenbach. We met the diminutive poker player at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure this year where TV producers gave him a pillow so he would sit high enough in his chair that the cameras could see him. He was on TV because he made the final table of the 2008 PCA. He fiinished in 8th place, earning $150,000.
This will be a long two weeks in the Amazon Room, but these two kids are used to this kind of pressure and marathon games. Both proven at the game, they are settling in for the long haul. Among the 2008 people who qualified on PokerStars, the Jeff and Ricky show should be a good one to watch.
In the meantime, watch this PokerStars Video Blog interview with online qualifier, Gladys Landegger as she arrives in town, gets her goodies, and heads off to play. Watch until the end for the password to the PokerStars.tv WSOP freeroll.
Watch WSOP 08: Gladys Landegger Online qualifier on PokerStars.tv