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June 27, 2017

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Four ways to spot a poker player at the Rio in July


Steve Marcus

Christopher Greaves competes during the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold ‘em main event at the Rio Monday, July 14, 2014. Greaves finished in 12th place.

The World Series of Poker’s Main Event played down to nine players — its November Nine — early Tuesday morning, signaling the end of about six weeks of play.

The players, mostly in their 20s or early 30s, were easy to spot walking around the Rio Convention Center. Here are some telltale giveaways to spot them:

Most have a bad beat story

Stand in the hallways of the convention center during a break and you’ll surely hear multiple players complaining about how they lost a hand they should have won. The story rarely changes: The player who won got lucky after playing the hand poorly.

Headphones on, iPhone in hand

Hundreds of poker tables inside the Amazon Room were packed July 7 on the third starting flight of the Main Event. At each table, you could spot several players with headphones on listening to their mobile device, others checking Twitter or Facebook, or text-ing. Some even played online poker on WSOP’s site.

Comfortable dress

With some playing sessions lasting more than 10 hours, participants come ready for the long haul. They are dressed comfortably in sweat pants or loose clothing, and most have long sleeves. It’s more than 100 degrees outside in Las Vegas, but the air conditioning blasts inside the poker room.

Energy drinks a must

Sitting at a poker table doesn’t seem like an energy drain, but it quickly becomes tiresome and a mental challenge, meaning those 16-ounce energy drinks are vital in keeping some players alert.

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