Johannes Strassmann has become a force to be reckoned with in tournament poker, but he ran into the wrong man at the wrong time costing him his place in the $40,000 No Limit event. That man was Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker, who soars close to the one million chip mark as a result.
Strassmann, a member of Team PokerStars Germany Pro, has built up $820,000 in tournament winnings in EPT and WSOP events, and was deep here, inside the last 50 players with the money looming at 27th. But Moneymaker is a man rejuvinated, and it would take something special to set him back.
As it was, the pair were locked in a pot with the board showing Q-6-4. Strassmann led out, and Moneymaker re-popped another 55,000. The German moved all in, insta call, and they were on their backs:
Moneymaker waked away, not liking the option of watching the remaining two cards come from the deck. But the turn was a 9 and the river a K - and Moneymaker raked in another 200,000.
"You could'nt bear to watch, hey?" shouted a member of the nearby rail.
"No. If I watch bad things tend to happen," came the reply, as Moneymaker stacked up the goods.
Also happy right now are Greg Raymer and Vanessa Rousso. Raymer shot through the million mark by busting Huck Seed and then Chad Batista soon after. Seed pushed from the button once too often with 6♣7♣. Raymer pondered, then made the call with K♥9♦, which held up. "I had to call," said the Fossilman. "He'd been pushing with so many hands."
The 2004 WSOP champ then accounted for Batista. The pair saw a flop of 2♦3♥J♦ and Batista pushed with K♦7♦ for the flush draw to Raymer's 8♥8♣. Nothing changed and Raymer moved up among the chip leaders.
Rousso, meanwhile, found the golden double up she'd been waiting for when her K♠4♥ overtook fellow short-stack Bruno Fotoussi's A♦Q♣ - and then doubled again with 10-10 v A-K to take her to 360,000 on the dinner break.
When they come back, blinds will be 6,000-12,000 (1,000). With just 45 players left, the average stack is 548,000 - just 45 big blinds. Tournament staff say the plan is to play four more levels after dinner, or down to 18 players, whichever comes first.