The Red Spade Brigade. That’s my tongue-in-cheek name for the players that proudly wear the PokerStars red spade as part of Team PokerStars Pro and PokerStars Team Online. None of the Team Online players made the journey to Punta del Este this year but there were six Team PokerStars Pros in the field, all of them LATAM-based. They weren’t six hundred, but they were a force ready to boldly ride into the jaws of Death, into the mouth of Hell, hoping to capture glory four days hence.
Team Pros Christian de Leon and Andre Akkari wound up seated next to each other yesterday after de Leon’s initial table broke. Theirs was not to reason why; theirs but to do and die. Both players were retired to the rail before the end of the day. Akkari’s elimination lowered the total of Brazilians in the field by one, an important development in Akkari’s “who’s your daddy” bet against Team Pro Jose “Nacho” Barbero.
Barbero made Day 2 with about 22,000 and has steadily chipped up throughout the day. By the start of Level 9 he had about 40,000 chips, right around the chip average. He spent several stretches of the first few Day 2 levels chatting amiably across the table with fellow Argentinian Veronica Dabul. Plunged in the elimination-smoke, right through the average-stack line they’ve broke.
One Argentinian sure not to be at the final table is Team Pro Leo Fernandez. Like Akkari and de Leon, Fernandez did not survive Day 1. Akkari is surely hoping that all 87 other Argentinians that started Day 2 follow Fernandez’s example.
The remaining two Team Pros have had divergent fates. Humberto Brenes lost 90% of his stack in the first twenty minutes of play yesterday, then rallied to finish the day with 17,000. But he had cannon stacks to the left of him, cannon stacks to the right of him, cannon stacks in front of him and plenty of volley and thunder in the Day 2 early-going. His seat was empty to start Level 9, and a quick chat with his former tablemates confirmed that “Da Chark” was storm’d at with shot and shell, while his chip stack and hero fell.
Angel Guillen, on the other hand, started Day 2 with 24,000 and has doubled up twice to reach the rather lofty total of 80,000. His table, Table 3, seems to be having difficulty hanging onto players. In the time I watched his table, three players busted off of it – and they were not the first three players of the day to bust from that table. Guillen, however, seems non-plussed. He’s chewing some gum, sunglasses on his face and ear buds in his ear, looking for all the world like he expects to run deep.
When can his glory fade? O, the wild charge Guillen made to start Day 2. If he can keep it up all the way to a Day 4 final table appearance, I’m certain that Akkari and Barbero will gladly rally their flags behind their Mexican Team Pro compatriot, no matter that he doesn’t figure into their bet.
They’d have to honour the charge Guillen made, honour the Red Spade Brigade.