Young ballers thrive on frat-house setting

Entourage Season 5
Billirakis and his crew.

The first win of the 2007 Greg Mueller in the heads-up match for the bracelet.

While the chances that Billirakis' record will be broken this year are slim, it won't be a big surprise to anybody when another 21-year-old takes home the bling in 2008.

When the winner has his photo taken, there will most likely be a big crowd of supportive friends around him - and there's also a good chance that those friends will have been living together for the duration of the Matt Stout. The New Jersey native went in on a house with a group of young online poker friends from the East Coast and found the experience to be enriching.

"When we're playing online together at the house, we have the advantage of seeing how each other plays, and we get to discuss hands and talk a lot of strategy. That's one of the best parts of playing online," says Stout. "Sometimes when I talk strategy with others, they'll bring up some concept I've never even thought about. It's good to get different perspectives."

Matt Stout
Hoping a bigger posse will equal bigger success this year.

Unlike Bonomo and his friends, Stout and his crew have decided to band together once again this year in their quest for WSOP success - and this time their group is even larger than before.

"There was a group of people that all wanted to live together but there were too many, and we didn't want to get a mansion because it would have cost way too much," says the WSOP Circuit ring winner. "So we have a sister house this year."

"We all got along real well last year, so we're getting a slightly nicer house this year with a pool and everything. We're going to try and win some bracelets because we were all pretty miserable failures last year," he says with a self-deprecating laugh. "I went deep in the Main Event and had a few cashes, but overall I wasn't happy with my results."

If Stout does manage to score one of the 55 bracelets up for grabs this year, it's a sure bet that the winner's photo here on will feature a crowd of like-minded young players gathered around to celebrate his win almost as if it were their own.

Poker fans can follow these young guns all through the 2008 WSOP in the PokerListings Live Tournaments section. Our team will be on the scene as the first cards are dealt today at noon for the $10,000 World Championship Limit Hold'em event up until the Main Event wraps up to find a new world champion.

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