Back in the long forgotten hours of day 1a, we introduced you to a new European poker force. The players from Germany had made their way to Las Vegas clutching EPT titles, bundles of cash and a reputation as the players to fear on the international poker scene. We also cautioned that there were more of them to come. And today they have arrived. And then some.
We mentioned earlier about Franz Fischer. He was the PokerStars qualifier whose Lazarus-like climb from 725 chips before dinner to 25,000 shortly after earned him "Climber of the Hour" honours. But even Fischer would probably admit that his climb is small fry compared with that of Thomas "boku87" Boekhoff, who thousands of you are likely to know from the PokerStars sit and go tables. Boekoff set himself the challenge of turning $100 into $10,000 playing sit and goes on PokerStars with buy ins of between $1 and $12 only.
As a man who plays a minimum of 20 tables at a time, he figured it was possible and gave himself a 14-day deadline to complete the challenge. He upped his volume, playing something like 50 tables at once for a couple of weeks and got the job done in 12 days. Easy peasy. Not to be idle, Boekoff has now set himself another challenge. When he gets back to his home in Osnerbrück from the World Series, he is intending to try to turn $5 into $100,000, playing the same levels. He's withdrawn the time limit aspect, but -- that would just be stupid -- but expect another burst of 50-table action at those low limits very soon.
Boekoff's countrymen Sebastian Ruthenberg and Ahmet Wuscher are also worth a mention. Ruthenberg, a founder member of Team PokerStars Germany Pro (back when he and his compadres were known as ShootingStars), Ruthenberg had been cashing on the EPT for fun before he won his first bracelet in Vegas last summer. He came back to Europe soon after and picked up his first EPT title in the first event of season five, earning close to two million bucks for first place in Barcelona.
In between those high points, his Main Event was a rare blip and Ruthenberg bust within the first couple of levels. Today, he's playing considerably tighter, according to his followers on the PokerStars Blog Germany edition, in order to keep the dream alive slightly longer.
By contrast Wuscher, a PokerStars qualifier, has been all in already today. But if you're going to get all your chips in during the opening exchanges, it's great to be sitting with pocket nines, another nine on the flop and a final nine on the river. Especially good when your opponent has pocket aces. That was Wuscher's double up hand today, and he sits with something close to 40,000, the same as both Boekoff and Ruthenberg.
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REPRIEVE OF THE HOUR
"That's Gavin Griffin out," said a colleague on media row, glancing over at the Team PokerStars Pro with his bag slung across his chest, stood behind his seat, bidding farewell to his table-mates.
"Oh," said the same colleague, after a slight whoop from others watching and Griffin sitting silently down again.
A quick scamper across the room showed the dealer shoving the chips in Griffin's direction, past his exposed pocket tens. His single opponent's pocket queens were also in front of him, but the flop was telling: 2♦K♣Q♦A♥J♦, that jack on the river filling the straight to beat the set and sit Griffin back down.
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QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"I don't know. I don't count." -- PokerStars qualifier Steve Gahaghan, when asked exactly how many chips he had in his mounting stack. (He has comfortably more than 120,000.)
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READING MATERIAL OF THE HOUR
FIGHT! magazine, read by Sebastian Ruthenberg in between, and sometimes during hands.
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RELIABLE SOURCE OF "OF THE HOUR" MATERIAL USE OF THE HOUR
MARIA MAYRINCK VERSUS JOE HACHEM - SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION
HAND OF THE HOUR I
Maridu makes it 1,000 from mid position and the player on the button calls. Joe Hachem, in the small blind, makes it 4,300 and shortly after winking at her adversary, maridu says: "Joe stop it. What are you doing?" as she calls. The player on the button folds and the flop comes 9♠6♠8♦, which prompts Hachem to bet 8,000. "That's soooo much," says Mayrinck. She thinks and then folds. "I wouldn't lie to you," says Hachem, showing her pocket kings. "Yeah, you're ahead," confesses the Brazilian, later saying she folded jacks.
WHINE OF THE HOUR
"No ESPN. I'm only filmed when I'm losing." -- Mayrinck upon raking a pot
HAND OF THE HOUR II
It was Mayrinck's big blind and the player under the gun plus one played it easy by limping into the pot with a single 500 chip. Two seats away, Joe Hachem tossed out three 100 chips.
"One more," said the dealer.
"Four hundred?" Hachem said over his mountain of chips. "I wouldn't have
called for 400."
He tossed in the extra black chip. A couple more limps and it was around Mayrinck, who offered a resigned, "Ooooookay," as she checked.
The flop came out 6♦T♥K♦ and the original limper bet 1,100. Hachem made the call and everybody else went away.
On the 4♠ turn, the man led into Hachem again, this time for 2,600. Again, Hachem called. The river, the Q♥, drew an immediate 5,100 bet and Hachem called with
barely a moment's hesitation. Over went the bettor's hand: T♦8♦. Hachem casually turned over K♠8♠.
Across the table, Mayrinck's mouth fell open like poker's version of Munch's "The Scream." It hung there for as long as we could watch.
Hachem stole glance at his opponent. "If the eight had come," he said, "we would've had fireworks."
JOE GIRON'S PICTURE HOUR