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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Players accept long grind at World Series of Poker

Oskar Garcia Associated Press

LAS VEGAS – Part of the marathon of the World Series of Poker involves players waiting to get back to the tables – back to their chip stacks and dreams of winning – after going as many as four days without playing.

The 1,251 players who began their second day of play Tuesday had been away from the main event since last week, and when they sat down they faced a new table of competitors that had been randomly drawn.

To win money, they still needed to wade through more than 3,000 remaining players to be one of the final 666 playing no-limit Texas Hold ‘em. Few, if any, were thinking about the crown and top prize of $9.12 million.

“It’s a long grind fixing to come,” said Mark Garner, a 44-year-old investment broker from Little Rock, Ark., who began the day with 194,900 chips – the most among those playing Tuesday and second overall in the $10,000 buy-in tournament. Henning Granstad of Oslo, Norway, who was scheduled to play today, has 242,950 in chips.

“All that was was a good start. It wasn’t a finish, it was a start,” Garner said.

Garner, who won $495,000 for finishing 25th at the main event in 2006, said he spent the weekend relaxing, gambling a little, and attending a show with his wife.

John Duthie, a poker professional from London, said it’s important to disregard what happened on the first day, refocus and learn about each new player at the table.

“Just try to relax and get into each hand,” Duthie said as a masseuse kneaded his arms at the table.

At this point in the tournament, the leaderboard is relatively meaningless because players can bet all their chips at any time.

As play continues at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in the tournament that will whittle down to nine final players over 11 days, it becomes more important for players to collect chips because minimum bets and antes rise every two hours.