By Simon Young

Two years ago Stephen Kenna suffered a serious back injury that laid him up for months. Unable to work, there was little he could do to pass the time during the long, painful road to recovery – aside from playing online poker.

“Moving a mouse around on the screen was about all I could do, so I decided to try out online poker on PartyPoker. Within weeks I had come third in the $300K Guaranteed Sunday, winning about $25,000. I thought to myself, ‘This game is okay’, and began to play more seriously.”

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Stephen Kenna: off to a great start in Day 1D

Stephen, 33, from Dublin in Ireland, began a career in playing online poker that has seen him qualify for the WSOP Main Event with PartyPoker for the second year running, a fantastic achievement. Last year he was going along nicely until the end of Day 1 when his Q-Q made a full house on the flop – but his opponent with K-K made a bigger full house on the river.

The pain of that elimination was nothing compared to what the former tiler has been through since his injury seriously damaged three vertebrae in his lower back. He can not work anymore, but poker is making up for it. Despite his obvious discomfort at the table, he’s off to a flying start today, and is already up to over 40,000 chips from his 20,000 starting stack.

“I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I have a good day, and a better one than last year,” he said.

Stephen, who plays on PartyPoker as skenna (“I couldn’t think of anything better at the time!”), is here enjoying the sights of Vegas with his girlfriend, Sile.

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In a previous existence I worked for a UK poker television show where one of my co-presenters was the lovely Kara Scott. Regular blog readers may recall Kara won the PartyPoker Sports Stars Challenge III title earlier this year, collecting a £20,000 pay day.

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Kara Scott with the PartyPoker trophy

Kara, a Canadian who now lives in the UK, was playing the Main Event Day 1C yesterday and finished with a bumper 111,000 chip stack, knocking out seasoned pro Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo along the way. Many congrats, Kara.

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