By Simon Young

Canadian Derrick Spurrell splashes out a bit of cash at his local pub game a couple of times a month, but it was just $3 well spent on a  PartyPoker qualifier that got him a $10,000 seat, flights and accommodation in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. That’s not a bad return for such a small investment, and Derrick is keen to make the most of it.

“Whatever happens I am going to enjoy myself,” he said. “I’d really like to rub shoulders with the big guns at my table.”


Derrick Spurrell: All smiles at the Rio 

When I wandered by, the merchant marine sailor from Newfoundland and Labrador had not yet got his wish for a star name at his table. But he’s clearly been involved since his chips have risen to 28,000 into the second second level. He’s being supported on the rail here by his wife Sharon.

The couple came to Vegas for their honeymoon 15 years ago. “We hardly left the Strip back then,” he said. “Now the city has grown so much, the population must have doubled and there are new hotels all over the place.”

Aside from his local pub game, where 50 folks may sit down to play, Derrick has not played a live event before. He’s used to tournament strategy, however, as this is his bread and butter on PartyPoker where is plays as newfiecan strictly, he says, as a hobby.

Also playing today is fellow Canadian PartyPoker player Neil McCluskey – who also got here via the $3 qualifier route. A financial analyst, he has a head for figures that he intends to use today. He’s not new to the big stage, though, having taken a shot at the WPT Foxwoods event in 2005 and also the $1,500 NL event in this year’s WSOP.


Neil McCluskey: still going strong on Day 1C 

“I’ll be sitting back in the early stages today observing the other players to see what I’m up against. Then I’ll adapt my game accordingly,” he said.

Our last inspection found Neil with about 16,000 chips, not a million miles short of his 20,000 starting point. Mike Sexton, meanwile, has slipped to about 17,000, while Carina Thuritz sits on about 16,000.


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