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Moon and Kopp lead WSOP Main Event
Twenty-seven players will be going into Day 8 at the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event and the two players sitting at the top of leader board could not be any more different.
Darvin Moon overtook the chip lead late in the evening and was the first player to break into the 20 million range.
He owns a small logging company in Maryland and has only been playing for three years. He won his seat into the Main Event by winning a satellite at Wheeling Island Casino in West Virginia
If you had asked him a week ago if he thought he would make it this far, he would have replied with an emphatic no.
"I told them at home when I came that, without a doubt, I'd make the final table but that was just B.S. You get here and it's a little different."
Moon is a recreational player and the road so far has been fairly smooth.
"With the cards I'm getting it's easy. The first hand I sat down I had pocket kings and rivered trips. Three hands later I had pocket aces and flopped trips. How hard is it?"
He knows he has had some good fortune so far but he also knows he is up against some tough competition. The road ahead isn't going to be easy.
"I feel bad for these guys that have to gamble. I don't have to gamble. I told them as soon as I go card dead you guys will eat me alive. I'm humble. I know where I stand among the class of people I'm against. I'm outclassed by so far."
But for now, Moon remains focused and his plan is to keep it that way.
"I'm nervous but I gotta stay focused. I can't get excited. If I let this overwhelm me than I'll lose my focus."
Already guaranteed to bank over $350,000, Moon plans to use his newfound wealth to make life easier for his mother and father. Other than that, he wants to spend a few months touring Alaska. But for now, as soon as he gets home it's back to normal.
"I'm gonna work everyday," he said. "I fly home Thursday and I'll be back to work on Friday. Friday night i'll play cards."
The player who sits second in chips is very different than Moon. His name is Billy Kopp and he's a 23-year-old aspiring poker professional from Erlanger, Kentucky.
He's a full time student at the University of Kentucky studying management and tourism. He's on the verge on graduating, but if he makes the final table, plans might change.
"I have about nine classes left and I want to get my degree, but if I made the November Nine I would put that on hold for a little bit."
Kopp has been playing poker for six or seven years and takes it a little more seriously than Moon. He grinds tournaments online, often playing as many as ten at one time.
If he had been asked a week ago if he would be among the chip leaders going into Day 8, his reply would have been a little different.
"I would have said it's a possibility," he said. "I went deep in another couple of events. I feel good in deep stack poker where the structure is really good like this.
"I was feeling good and had a couple of good table draws early on where I was able to extract chips from weaker opponents."
Kopp says he has been playing well and running well, doing so at the most important points of the tournament.
"I'd say yesterday and today I ran the best," he said. "I feel when a good player gets good cards and plays well at the same time there's no stopping them."
Phil Ivey remains a huge factor in this event. He has a lot of chips and is clearly the most famous player left.
Moon and Kopp have completely opposite views on how they would handle the superstar if seated at the same table.
"I'm not really intimidated by anybody," said Kopp. "I think it's my ballgame. I played with him earlier and he actually won chips off of me, but I just played my game. I kept raising hands I would normally raise.
"I tried to block out the fact that he's real famous and a real good player. I feel like I can play with the best of them."
Moon was a little more intimidated by the Full Tilt pro.
"I'll stay away with him," he said. "Hide in a corner when I'm against him. I'm concerned about all of them, but if Phil Ivey is on my left, if he even looks at me, I'm mucking."