Poker.org at the 2022 WSOP: Neymar’s crew and a bucket of hams

Haley Hintze
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Posted on June 21, 2022 8:43 pm EDT

The arrival of world-famous footballer Neymar Jr. was among the social highlights as the 2022 World Series of Poker grinds its way through mid-June and the heart of the everyday schedule, while the Main Event and its related pomp and circumstance remain a couple of weeks away. Neymar’s arrival and first-ever WSOP cash aside, it’s a poker stretch where the seeming unending string of events can turn into a grind… unless one has some fun with the long hours and tourney stress.

Poker.org returns here with another handful of photos showing the latest happenings at the Paris and Bally’s casinos in Las Vegas, as captured by your admittedly amateur photographer.

Neymar’s security detail — When you’re a global athletic superstar on the order of Neymar Jr., you’ll have a small security detail accompanying you amid the crowded scene of the WSOP. Neymar played in the $1,000 Super Turbo NLH event and ran deep into the money for a 49th-place finish. On breaks, while playing in the Paris Ballroom, he was quickly hustled off to a small, private lounge nearby somewhere behind the King’s Lounge area. Here he’s rushing back to his seat at the end of a break, accompanied by personal security, casino security, and a couple of poker friends, including Andre Akkari.

At the table, with security respectfully just outside the playing area, you might walk right by Neymar and never realize he was playing:

More fun in the sun — In the last edition, we caught up with Louisiana’s Joe Hebert, most famous in poker circles for winning the U.S. half of the 2020 WSOP’s online Main Event. Hebert was rockin’ a bright red tropical outfit at the tables in that earlier edition. Little did we know, he has one in orange, too:

Just your everyday Hellmuthian arrival — When Phil Hellmuth shows up, it’s always an entrance, whether or not it’s an entrance, a la the Main Event. Within a couple of minutes of taking his seat in Event #31: $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship, but before playing any hands, he’s (1) taken a couple of bites out of a sandwich he’d brought, (2) hailed a waitress and grabbed four bottled waters from her tray while tipping her generously, (3) announced to the table, “Five bucks a water. Who wants one?” and (4) posed briefly for tablemate Brian Hastings, who’s in a video chat of his own at the time and takes a few seconds to film Hellmuth’s appearance. Matt Glantz (at right) is seated between Hellmuth and Hastings, while Hastings, it’s worth noting, went on to win the event.

Jeanne loves Scotty — The early levels of the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E championship provide plenty of time for low-pressure camaraderie and joviality at the table. Here, Jeanne David and Scotty Nguyen are all smiles not long after the event gets underway.

Dietrich the photo bomber — The photography task seemed simple: Get a picture of Jonathan van Fleet, then shift the camera slightly and get one of Dietrich Fast, the well-known German pro who’s spent a lot of time in the States recently. Except Dietrich wasn’t in on the photographer’s plan. Once, twice, three times, all ended up as photos of Dietrich’s hand somewhere in front of Jonathan’s upper body. Eventually, they figured it out, and half the table got a chuckle out of the moment.

A near miss on Phil Ivey’s 11th bracelet — Phil Ivey arrived at the streamed final of the $100,000 NLH High Roller second in chips, and several hours later, that’s where he’d finish. Ivey (second from right) couldn’t overtake Aleksejs Ponakovs (second from left). It was Ivey’s deepest run at a bracelet in several years, while Ponakovs captured his own second bracelet win, and his first one in a live WSOP event.

Nap time — Sometimes the long days at Paris and Bally’s are a first-magnitude energy drain, especially if you’re not staying on-property. Here, an unidentified player rests his eyelids for a few minutes in one of the relatively quiet areas of the Paris hallways.

All images copyright Haley Hintze 2022