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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
open/closeVin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.


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Dutch player knocks out Georges St. Pierre at the WSOP Main Event
 

LAS VEGAS -- The early days of the World Series of Poker Main Event are about more than winning and losing. Yes, players care about winning. But for most, cashing is a pipe dream. So playing in the Main Event becomes a bucket list item -- the experience of a lifetime.

Stephan Patz is getting the most out of his experience of a lifetime.

I ran into Patz while eating dinner at the TGI Friday's in the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino during Sunday's dinner break. (Also leaving the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to eat dinner in the Gold Coast was Russian pro Vitaly Lunkin, but he opted for the buffet.)

Patz, who is playing in his first Main Event, comes from a small town in the Netherlands -- about 90 minutes outside Amsterdam. "That's pretty close for Americans," Patz noted.

Patz won the $10,000 he needed to enter the Main Event (and travel to Vegas) in the satellite "step" tournaments on PokerStars. "I only invested a few hundred dollars," Patz said.

At the dinner break, Patz had increased his chip stack to about 42,000 -- players begin with 30,000. He also had one major scalp to report.

Top UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre was eliminated by Stephan Patz at the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Sunday.

Top UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre was eliminated by Stephan Patz at the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Sunday. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

"I knocked out the UFC guy," Patz admitted sheepishly.

The UFC guy would be Georges St. Pierre, the top MMA welterweight.

Patz didn't know who St. Pierre was when he sat down at the table. But his friend certainly did.

"My friends back home are UFC fans. They texted me and asked me to get his autograph. I texted back and said, 'That's going to be tough, I eliminated him about an hour ago,'" Patz said.

In the hand that eliminated St. Pierre, Patz was holding pocket jacks (Jd Js) while St. Pierre held Jh 8h. Patz put St. Pierre all in when jack hit on the turn, and the UFC fighter called.

"He thought he'd lost," Patz said. "I had to remind him he still had a flush draw."

St. Pierre didn't make it though, giving Patz a story to tell for the rest of his life.

Patz hopes his Main Event isn't done. While he would really like to cash, his main goal was reaching the second day of the tournaments.

"My friends thought I'd be eliminated on the first day," Patz said. "But I've had a great time."

Patz didn't make it to Day 2A. But he was in good company. Several notable players from Sunday's field of 2,114 players busted out of the tournament, including Greg Raymer, Tom Dwan, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Men Nguyen, Scotty Nguyen, Scott Montgomery, Carter Phillips, Mark Kroon, Dennis Phillips, James Carroll, Ville Wahlbeck and Joe Sebok.

John Hoang is the Day 1B chip leader with 180,000. Other notable chip stacks include: Maria Ho (130,425), Daniel Negreanu (140,075), Dan Harrington (83,750), Bernard Lee (97,675), Sam Farha (80,000), Dan Shak (75,000) and Vanessa Selbst (168,350).

With 3,180 entrants so far, and one opening day remaining, the Main Event has a reasonable chance to match last year's field of 6,865.

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