By Simon Young

It takes all sorts to make up the colourful mix of qualifiers vying for a life-changing cash at the World Series of Poker Main Event. Many prefer a table full of unknowns so they can quietly go about their business. Others, like PartyPoker qualifier Stephen Kenna from Ireland, like to take on the the big guns.

He’s certainly got just that today with not one, but three big players on his table in the overspill Brasilia Room. First there is Johnny Chan, who needs no introduction as the holder of 10 WSOP bracelets. Sat next to Chan is Shawn Sheikhan, the tournament and big cash game player well known to any viewers of High Stakes Poker, and on Stephen’s left is veteran bracelet holder Willie Tann from the UK. Phew!

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Stephen Kenna, with Willie Tann on his left

“I like this table,” Stephen told me as Chan and Sheikhan contested another pot. “This is the sort of table I want to play at.” And it’s not doing him any harm either – in the first level today he had increased his stack to more than 80,000.

PartyPoker qualifier’s top Day 1 finisher Jan Skampa has got off to a steady start today, increasing his stack to 118,000 in the first hour, while Denmark’s Bo Christiansen is also off to a nice start, raking in yet another pot, below, as I passed by his table in the blue section of the Amazon Room.

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