The Life/Poker Balance
We love poker. That’s why we’re here. Most of the players here love poker too and would like to play all the time.
There are some though, for some reason or another, don’t play as much as they used to. Some fall out of love with the game, some fall in love with someone or something else, and some are told they can’t play anymore.
We came across three such players today who haven’t played as many events as they have done in previous years, and all for very different reasons.
Sebastian Ruthenberg was one of the original German poker stars. He crushed online and took down EPT Barcelona in Season 5 for €1.3 million. He supported and inspired a whole generation of young German players, many who dominate today.
Ruthenberg grinded hard at the game for many years but it grew to be tiresome for him and he looked elsewhere for fulfilment. He found it in food.
He went back to college and studied all about the restaurant business. How to cook, how front of house works and how the business element worked. The restaurant business is his future now.
There was a rumour flying around before the series started that Ruthenberg was going to be the hired chef for all the German high roller players.
When Ruthenberg arrived at the back end of the series to play the $50k players championship, he quaffed at the rumours and said they were spread as a joke.
Ruthenberg is playing the Main Event today and looking to go out on a big high.
Eric Liu had always primarily been known as a cash game player and instructor playing as “p3achy_keen” online. For many years though he made a name for himself in some of the biggest tournaments around.
He came fourth for $430k at EPT London back in Season 5 for a career high cash and followed that up with some impressive scores.
Liu’s priorities changed though. He got married to Jessica this year and travelling the circuit is less of a priority. This is Liu’s second tournament of the summer and he’s struggling a bit with his stack down below 20k.
Simon Charette has won more than $1.5 million in tournament earnings throughout his career and nearly twice as much online under the handle, Pokerbrat13.
Last year, he won his first bracelet in the $3k NLHE and immediately went home and wasn’t seen until this year’s series. He min-cashed five out of the first 11 tournaments and then he went home again.
He came back for the Main Event and is doing well on average stack here on Day 2C.
When Charette was younger he broke his hip and since then, his body’s grown and has caused him no-end of problems, mostly in his back. His doctors have told him he has to stop playing, as the position he sits in to play will only make his condition worse.
Charette is not down on life though and says he feels like the luckiest man alive as he got the chance win a bracelet. He did admit that we might not see him much again after this Main Event is over.
Here’s hoping he’s gets back stronger than ever, and if not, here’s hoping he goes out on a massive high.
Random Updates From The Big Names
Swedish top pro, Ramzi Jelassi, is being his usual self as he’s sitting behind a big stack early on Day 2. Right next to Jelassi we spotted Vivek Rajkumar, also with a good stack, and the more we wandered through the Gold Section of the Brasilia Room the more big names we’ve spotted.
Further down we spotted Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier who explained that it felt like he had a short stack.
“I’ve got around 30,000 chips and it feels like I’m short but I still have 50 big blinds.”
The WSOP Main Event has the best structure in the world and even a stack worth 50 big blinds feels very small at this time. Throughout this tournament the average stack will be a lot closer to 80 big blinds and that’s why it’s very important to keep realizing that you’re in no rush to play.
Mercier- Do I have a big stack?
Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen is sitting back relaxed while his Chilean Nicolas Fierro just got knocked out.
Two-time bracelet winner Jesper Hougaard got into it at the table about sushi restaurants and apparently we all need to go to Kabuto. Lars Bonding, one of Hougaard’s fellow countryman and friends, acknowledged the place but said he always went to Sushi Fever.
Phil Hellmuth is sitting at a table with Brent Hanks and Jennifer Harman and he’s awfully quiet so far. The 13-time champ is sitting on around 90,000 and that means he’s already around the end-of-day average.
Finally we also spotted two-time bracelet winner Dutch Boyd, November Nine participant Sam Holden, Team PokerStars Pro Julien Brecard and genius/wizard/math god Nate Silver still very much alive in this event.
Jose Rosencrantz is outshined on the poker world in several fronts.
When people hear the name Rosencrantz, they think of the "Bet Raise Fold" produce, Jay Rosencrantz.
When people think of Costa Rican poker players, they think of Team PokerStars Humberto Brenes.
But Jose Rosencrantz is both a Costa Rican and a Rosencrantz.
Humberto "The Shark" Brenes
While Rosencrantz lives in anonymity, he's been a part of Costa Rican poker since its inception. Early in Level 7, Rosencrantz was eliminated and went to go watch Brenes from the rail.
There he recalled how he and Brenes got their start in poker.
They first came to play poker Las Vegas in 1986 after their friends Max and Maria Stern -- the only married couple to both win a WSOP bracelet -- told them there was lots of money in poker.
"[Max] said all we had to do was find the tourists," Rosencrantz said. "We went to the Golden Nugget every day but ended up losing every single day."
After a specifically bad day, Rosencrantz remembers standing up and yelling at Brenes from across the room.
"'Where are all the tourists?' I yelled," Rosencrantz said. "Then Humberto stood up and yelled 'We're the tourists."
After that trip to Vegas, the two returned to Costa Rica and studied the game. Rosencrantz and Brenes read Doyle Brunson's "Super System" and started studying the numbers. While they improved their game, it was still an uphill battle when they returned to Las Vegas.
"Latins are always looked down on," Rosencrantz said. "They had no idea where Costa Rica was so they just called us 'Below Mexicans.'"
With racial barriers and broken english, the only way Rosencrantz and Brenes were able to earn their respect was through poker.
"Brenes and I came back and started winning tournaments," Rosencrantz said. "One year I won two tournaments downtown and got a fourth place finish. After that, some players started bowing down when I walked by."
Brenes, Rosencrantz and the small group of Costa Ricans continued to play and win in the WSOP.
Who didn't Brunson teach to play?
"We were the only Latin American players and they thought we were crazy," Rosencrantz said. "Like all the young kids today."
Rosencrantz had limited success in the WSOP while Brenes went on to win two WSOP bracelets and cash for more than $2.2 million at the WSOP.
Rosencrantz then dropped out of the poker scene in 1996 after divorcing his wife and hitting a rough patch. Rosencrantz didn't get back into the poker scene for six years but he hit it hard when he came back.
The World Poker Tour held an event in Costa Rica in 2002 and Rosencrantz took it down for his first six-figure cash.
"All these great players from all around the world were there," Rosencrantz said. "It felt great to beat them all and keep the trophy home."
Rosencrantz and Brenes continued to influence poker in Latin America and Rosencrantz's brother opened the first dedicated poker room in Costa Rica.
Rosencrantz has enjoyed seeing poker grown in Latin America and has recently been impressed by both Brazilians and one Latin American Player
"The Brazilians are crazy," Rosencrantz said. "But they're always so happy. Win or lose. It's contagious, I love playing with them."
Rosencrantz said the game was very young in Latin America and players are still learning. There's one young Latin American player that has impressed Rosencrantz though, Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen.
"He's amazing," Rosencrantz said. "I love watching him play and think he's going to go a long way."
The top 10 chip counts according to WSOP.com are:
1. Mark Kroon - 280,000
2. Ercan Olgun - 225,000
3. Matthew Bray - 218,500
4. Joseph Flagiello - 201,050
5. Jonathan Jaffe - 200,000
6. Frederik Jensen - 196,000
7. Carlos Mortensen - 195,000
8. Haralabos Voulgaris - 186,000
9. Stephen Chidwick - 185,000
10. Bryn Kenney - 180,000