For those of us hoping if not expecting a final table of some celebrity repute; battles between big hitters such as one-time chip leader Gus Hansen, his tennis partner to-be Patrick Antonius and the mercurial Daniel Negreanu, have been surprised to find the most prestigious seats at the inaugural WSOPE filled by those we least expected. Having said that, we do have a potential superstar in the making in Annette Obrestad, who at the time of writing is sitting in third place out of the last 3 players with $1,100,000 in chips.
Whilst having a Scandinavian main event champion wouldn’t be that much of a surprise given today’s climate, having a female winner of the first World Series of Poker bracelet to be awarded outside of Las Vegas would do untold good for an already burgeoning women’s game. However, there is still a long way to go until we have a champion, and if ‘Annette 15’ as she is known in cyberspace harbours any hopes of winning, she must first hold her nerve against chip leader John Tabatabai ($3,500,000), and Matthew McCullough ($2,600,000), with Oyvind Riisem having just busted out.
Whoever walks away with the main event title, the improved £1 million ($2 million) first prize, and a place in WSOP history, will have done so in the most esteemed company that Europe, or indeed anywhere outside the US has ever seen. Many were predicting a 12th bracelet for Phil Hellmuth, and after speaking to him prior to the tournament, he certainly fancied his chances. Many were looking to the leading lights of Johnny Chan, Daniel Negreanu, and certainly after close of play on Friday, Gus Hansen. But once again, the World Series will deliver a new name to join the game’s top table.
With 10 minutes to the break, the action is intensifying and table chat is at a premium. We await our champion with baited breath.