Love, competition in the WSOP cards

The Happy Couple
Robert and Olga Varkonyi barely qualify with just one cash apiece.

That green expanse of felt is, apparently, fertile ground for romance. Nowhere is this love more prevalent than at the World Series of Poker, where players' toughest competition could be their spouses.

Poker has produced some remarkable duos - Schoenberg and Benyamine, Tilly and Laak, Hawbaker and Newhouse, Hawbaker and Franklin, Hawbaker and Sklansky - and opportunities for pro-couple rivalry are rife at the 2007 WSOP.

But new poker paramours have a long way to go before they catch up to some the of the WSOP's top-cashing husband-and-wife teams.

You won't find the tournament's top pro-couple eliciting any gossip on the Neverwin Poker forums, but Harry and Jeri Thomas lead the pack for combined marital cashes at the series.

Harry has seen 31 paydays at the World Series while Jeri has 10; what makes the Thomases all the more impressive, though, is the fact that they hold his-and-hers gold bracelets - one of just two couples who can claim the honor.

Hot on the rhyming couple's heels, however, is top cash-game player Jennifer Harman, with 20 in-the-money results, and Marco Traniello, her husband and an up-and-coming poker star with 13 cashes.

Bill and Kristy Gazes might have the number three spot among the married set but it is a record that is bound to be broken seeing as, well, they aren't married anymore. The divorced duo has a combined 31 Series cashes, 27 of which belong to Bill and four of which are Kristy's.

The only other couple to each possess a gold bracelet comes in at number four. Max and Maria Stern both earned their hardware at the 1997 tournament: He won in No-Limit Hold'em while she took down a Seven-Card Stud event. Together they have 30 cashes - five for Maria and 25 for Max.

But with for spaces to make up, Bob and Maureen Feduniak are looking to unseat the Sterns with his 16 WSOP paychecks and her 10.

Though they don't place on the list, it's worth noting that 2002 championship Robert Varkonyi and his wife, Olga, also count - but just barely. While his only cash was the most important one of all, her solo payday was $28,375 for finishing 238th in the 2007 Main Event.

From Ron and Teresa McMillian - the first couple to play together in a Main Event during the 1980s - to forum-fodder online couples such as Jennicide and Neverwin, love, it seems, is always in the cards at the World Series of Poker.



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