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Believe the hype: Luske putting out for Stud
There's a lot of hype to live up to - reasonable or not - when you're a certified, TV-sanctioned poker professional. And, more often than not, there's no way a player can meet the expectations of the media-fed masses. Not so with the "Flying Dutchman" Marcel Luske: He's every bit as engaging, professional and talented as the cameras make him out to be, and he proved it again on Day 2 of the $3,000 Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better World Championship.
Impeccably dressed as always, in a nicely cut tan linen suit, Luske has been holding court for most of the day at the Stud tables here at the 2007 World Series of Poker - keeping the action loose, singing a few bars if the muse hits, and definitely keeping a smile on people's faces - even on those whose chips he's taking as he builds his stack towards a seemingly inevitable final table appearance.
And it's not like there hasn't been any competition for the spotlight: Scotty Nguyen, Mike Matusow, Layne Flack, David Sklansky, Mike Sexton, Eli Elezra, John Juanda have all been sharing the same small patch of tables all day, playing their respective games and making a bit of noise themselves. (Flack even loudly professing his appearance in some 70s porn movies at one point - "You know, the ones where they took their panties off and it still looked like they had panties on.")
But it was the polite and debonaire Dutchman who quietly ruled the day from an all-around fan perspective - the man knows how to carry himself in a crowd.
He graciously took a few minutes during a break to give PokerListings.com a few insights on the latest:
On his game today:
"I was up to 29,000 and then I dropped all the way to 12,000, so I had to make a change. But once I started to play the people - to get a feel for the table - then I was OK."
On his musical inclinations and his upcoming poker-themed album, including the now-infamous "poker poker poker" song:
"It's for fun, not for a living. They're going to make an album, for sure, but I don't know if they will use the clip this year or not. The lyrics are good, about poker. I know this, so that's enough."
On the World Poker Association and the International Poker Federation - two organizations he's intimately involved with, working to standardize the rules of poker and to up the general level of poker etiquette across the globe:
"It's good for the game. We're working to make the rules the same for everybody. Right now, you go to the Wynn, you go to Bellagio - all have different rules. So it's good for poker."
Luske carried his good nature and good play with him throughout the day today. When last we saw him, he had been moved to a new table, sandwiched between two-time WSOP bracelet winner Bill Chen and renowned World Poker Tour host Mike Sexton.
And within minutes he'd scooped a nice pot off Chen and cracked the entire table up with a bit about being afraid of a nine or ten.
So believe the hype. The Dutchman is as advertised, and he came to play.
At last count, he was one of the chip leaders, at 64,000, as they neared the final table. You can check out all the live updates of his progress here, in the Live Tournaments Section.