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WSOP, Day 5 (pt. 3)

Posted: Thursday July 14, 2005 4:11PM; Updated: Friday July 15, 2005 1:41AM
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The Soundtrack
And now, a WSOP-inspired iPod mix --J.W.
Artist Song
The Who You Better You Bet
Barbra Streisand The Main Event
Bruce Springsteen Two Hearts
John Lennon Mind Games
The Byrds Turn! Turn! Turn!
Elton John Diamond Girl
The Police King of Pain
Various Artists Hands Across America
Psychedelic Furs Here Comes Cowboys
Bob Dylan Positively 4th Street
Chicago No Tell Lover
Aerosmith Kings and Queens
Bruce Springsteen The River
Talking Heads Take Me to the River
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers You Got Lucky
Joe Jackson Beat Crazy
Franz Ferdinand Take Me Out

Sookie, who works poker tours exclusively (talk about a niche career), rubbed Russell's shoulders, his calves, his thighs, his feet, his arms, his lower back, his scalp and even his forehead. All in the midst of the tournament. And if another player rubbed the Muscle the wrong way, Sookie was there to rub him the right way.

"That one hand where the guy [Minh Ly] got me all riled up by asking an official to put me on a count [which happens when one player thinks another is stalling before deciding whether or not to bet]," said Salzer. "That got me all riled up. Sookie calmed me down."

Next week Sookie is off to Paris for another tournament. Just another week in the life of a poker masseuse.

Hand of the day

Defending champion Greg "Everybody Loves" Raymer came within one card of going home Wednesday. Sitting at the featured table, Raymer went all in against surprise rookie Tiffany Williamsen. It was just after 6:30 p.m. and Raymer, who had lost a head-to-head or three in the previous two days after finishing Monday as the chip leader, was sitting on a pair of kings.

Williamsen, who despite being the last remaining female in the field has displayed cojones grandes this week, was holding an A-J unsuited.

The flop came 6-6-2. Raymer went all in and turned over his cowboys.

On Wednesday, Williamsen, an attorney from London, had been raised by a pair of kings and gone all in with an A-Q with more than $1 million in her stack. She caught an ace and doubled up. This time versus Raymer, Williamsen was not so lucky. She called his bet. The turn was a 4, the river a 9. Raymer not only survived, he doubled up and enters Thursday in fifth place, once more a force with which to be reckoned.

The blinds

Kenna James of Downey, Calif., got knocked out in the afternoon to finish in 44th place and take home $235,390. His wife, Marsha Waggoner, finished 12th in this event in 1997.

• Previously mentioned young guns Adam Friedman and Joe Stillman also were KO'd Wednesday. Stillman, clad in an anachronistic Washington Bullets Michael Jordan jersey, finished 50th for a $173,880 payday, while Friedman finished 43rd ($235,390).

• Russell the Muscle or Russell the Hustle? The aforementioned Salzer had a pretty decent cheering section Wednesday. Friends walked around toting "Team Russell The Muscle" T-shirts. Then, following one 20-minute recess, two of them suddenly appeared in the prime media viewing area locale. Both were toting press credentials that identified them as reporters from "AP Radio." When I asked them how they'd suddenly become members of the fourth estate in the past hour, they just laughed.

• From the "Are You Sure They Should be The Sponsor?" department. The feature table at the WSOP has branding from Levitra. "Raise?" "Yep, I'm all in. I've got the nuts, after all."

• As much as it's evolved/expanded in the past three years, the WSOP's main event still has street cred. This year's event featured a "Doc" (Doc Barry Schwarz of Newport Beach, Calif.), a Tex (Barch, currently in fourth place) and of course, Brunson.