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Poker Pros Not Feeling The Pressure On Day 5 Of The World Series Of Poker Main Event

Seasoned Players Shrug Off The Money And Play For The Win

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Sorel MizziThe World Series of Poker main event has been running for a week now. The field has dwindled to just 225 players and each player can now start to see the $8,527,982 at the end of the tunnel.

Looking around the room, it’s easy to spot the rookies making their first deep run at the WSOP. They play their hands passively, they shake nervously when they make a monster and they perk up when the ESPN cameras roll by.

The money, the title and the prestige that accompany this event, however, hasn’t added any pressure to the many pros still alive in the tournament.

“I honestly don’t think I’ll ever feel the pressure,” said veteran tournament grinder Sorel Mizzi. “I know this is the biggest tournament of the year, but I’ve been doing this too long to be affected by it. If you stop and take a look around at the situation, it might affect you, which is why I don’t let that happen. Maybe if I make the final nine, then I’ll let it sink in, but until then, it’s all business.”

Bracelet winner and four-time WSOP final tablist Jason Somerville agreed, adding that the pressure will mount as the field reaches the final table.

Jason Somerville“This is the farthest I’ve ever been in this event, but it still hasn’t hit me,” said Somerville. “I think once we get into the final 100 players, then it will set in that I actually have a shot at the biggest tournament in poker. I won’t let it affect my play, but it would be impossible not to think about it. The tension will be higher. When that time comes, we’ll see who can stay focused and composed and who crumbles.”

Not every pro is immune to the jitters, however. Amit Makhija made the money in 2010, and is using that experience to go even further this year.

“I’ve let it affect me in the past,” admitted Amit Makhija. “Right now, as cliche as it sounds, I’m taking it day by day. Every day is day 1 of the tournament for me. You can’t think about how many started this thing and how many are left. You just have to play your table and your table only.”

Some players, such as two-time bracelet winner Freddy Deeb, conceded that their stack dictates the amount of pressure a player can face.

“It’s hard to be nervous when you don’t have many chips,” said Freddy Deeb. “My decisions are pretty simple. I’m deep in the tournament and I’m going to try as hard as I can to go deeper, but in my situation, it’s not really up to me.”

2009 November Niner Eric Buchman, however, feels the magnitude of the event from the very first hand dealt. He may not be nervous, having been this deep before, but he certainly understands just how big of an opportunity is up for grabs.

Amit Makhija“This is the most prestigious tournament in poker,” said Eric Buchman. “If you’re not feeling it on day 1, then you aren’t really in it.”

While the pros may not be sweating the $10,000 payjumps, they have started to notice others who are.

“You could see it in people’s faces,” said Makhija. “They look tired and beaten down by this event. Every once in a while, you can kind of see them accept their fate, ready to punt away their stacks. They’ve settled for how far they’ve come and are unwilling to keep fighting.”

For complete coverage of the summer poker festival, check out our WSOP landing page.