Back at the end of 2009, the folks at PokerStars had a good idea. Granted, there's a constant stream of great innovation coming out of the Good Ideas department back at base camp. It's a little like Q and his boffins in the James Bond movies, where they come up with all manner of new ways to get the better of the competition. Except in the poker world, no one gets killed. Hopefully.
Back then we had Team PokerStars Pro, devoted to the best live performers on the poker stage. There were world champions and players who represented the best of many countries throughout the world. People like Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier, Jonathan Duhamel and ElkY. The list to this day remains long and impressive.
But it was as though something was missing: a celebration of great online players at PokerStars.
That's when one bright spark came up with the concept of Team PokerStars Online. The team would welcome players who could be found across all stakes and disciplines, and from cash games and sit and goes to multi-table tournaments.
All PokerStars players were invited to apply, and in the event 2,000 did so. Of those, just one per cent got in at the first time of asking.
One of those was Jorge Arias. Originally from Venezuela, he took a business degree and worked in the world of stocks and shares before finding he could put those skills to better use around the poker table. He has notched live winnings of $380,000, including 12 WSOP cashes, as well as being a regular at the PokerStars tables.
Today, you'll find him in the Rio in Las Vegas, grinding his short stack as he looks to rebuild and make a run for the money, expected to hit some time tomorrow. He started with 62,900 and, judging by the massage he was having at his table for the first hour of play, he intends to stick around for a while.
Arias is plying his trade in the Pavilion, the spill over room from the Amazon. It's here that you'll also find Andrew Brokos, the second of the two Team PokerStars Online players remaining in the field.
Brokos, PokerStars screen name foucault82, has a degree in Philosophy. Like Arias, who sends money back to Venezuala to help under privileged children, Brokos supports a non-profit organization that help kids back in his native Boston. And like Arias, Brokos has a pretty good live record to go with his online success. In total, he's bagged $350,000 in live winnings, most of which has come in the WSOP Main Event:
2010, 87th for $79,806
2008, 35th for $193,000
2007, 361st for $34,664
2006, 279th for $38,759
I have no idea what went wrong in 2009, but his record here suggests Brokos will go deep once more. He started today with 137,900, perfectly placed to launch another assault on the WSOP money vaults.
To find out more about the team, visit the Team PokerStars Online page.
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TWEET OF THE HOUR
Daniel Negreanu: "End level 11 121,000. Didn't win a hand 1st hour but only played 3. Picked up near the end. Next limit is 1k-2k blinds. I'm feelin' good."
DOUBLE UP OF THE HOUR
Vanessa Rousso, now up to 115,000
ROLLER COASTER RIDE OF THE HOUR
Noah Boeken, who doubled to 100,000, but then lost with queens to ace-king to drop back down to 69,000
PERSONAL ASSESSMENT OF THE HOUR
"Lookin' good and smellin' good! -- Bathroom attendant in response to "How are you doing?"
TAKING THE .... OF THE HOUR
Such is the demand for restroom capacity during the breaks the ladies bathroom has now been commandeered for use by the men. We have no idea where the ladies are being asked to go.