Longtime poker matron LINDA JOHNSON was in the room Friday night. The First Lady of Poker was playing $75/$150 Omaha Hi/Lo with a kill. When we first stumbled upon her she had between $500 and $1,000 in front of her, and she was seen a couple hours later cashing out with at least $2,500.
One of her opponents was "OMAHA ED" TONNELLIER (below) from Ontario,
Canada, who took second place in WSOP Event #5 - $2,500 Omaha/7-stud Hi/Lo. Here's a fundamental poker question: If a guy sits down at your $75/150 Omaha Hi/Lo table, and he's wearing a shirt with Omaha Ed embroidered on it, is that a good sign? Or is it a sign that you should get up and leave?
A couple tables over, PAT POELS sat at a $50/$100 Omaha/7-stud Hi Lotable . Poels is a pro from Arizona, but not one that many people recognize. He has two WSOP bracelets - one for Omaha Hi/Lo, the other for 7-stud Hi/Lo - so you've got to think this might be a good game for him. He bought in for $2,000, had grown it to $3,500 when we checked on him a couple hours later, and then hand more than $5,000 a couple hours after that.
This table started out short-handed, but soon filled up. One of the players joining the action - seated two to Poels' left - was TONY MA, who has quite the impressive poker resume. In addition to being the CardPlayer Player of the Year in 1999, he has 158 big-tourney cashes, 12
first-place finished, and two WSOP bracelets to his name.
BRETT JUNGBLUT continues to be one of the more regular Rio cash game players.
Last night he was playing $50-a-point Chinese poker.
In the low-stakes games, professional poker blogger BRAD "OTIS" WILLIS (above, Up for Poker, Rapid Eye Reality, and PokerStars Blog) was playing $2/$5 no-limit
hold'em, and seemed to be holding his own with more than $600 in front of him.
And also playing 2/5, MARK THOENNES, (above) from Greenville, South Carolina, was absolutely tearing it up -
having turned his $500 buy-in into more than $2,000 when we saw him. And that came after having just lost a $2,600 pot. Thoennes had flopped the nut-straight, and he got plenty of action from an opponent who flopped a set ... which turned into a boat on the river.
Seen in the hallway not long after, he responded to the question, "How's it going?" with an extreme wince. "We don't want to talk about it," answered his friend, Brad Willis. Apparently the two were just taking a break, because Thoennes still had chips on the table - about $1,000. Enough for him to still be up for his Friday-night session, but in his stomach it had to feel like he was way down.