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An Orbit With an Olympian

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps

It's not every day that one can say that they played a major buy-in poker tournament with the most decorated Olympian in history. Michael Phelps' seven tablemates, however, can now say that they hold that distinction. While Phelps is the biggest name at the table, he is most certainly not among amateurs. Also found on the felt of Table 23 were 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Jesse Sylvia, Eddy Sabat, Guillaume Rivet, Byron Kaverman, and Matt Salsberg who has accolades in poker as well as being a writer/producer for the television program Weeds. We followed Phelps and those at his table for an entire orbit to track the action that goes on first hand. The following are our findings:

Major Stacks at Orbit's Start

PlayerChips
Guillaume Rivet242,000
Jesse Sylvia92,000
Matt Salsberg80,000
Eddy Sabat112,000
Byron Kaverman160,000
Michael Phelps82,000

Hand 1: Rivet had the button. Action folded around to him and he popped it up to 4,000. Sylvia and Salsberg released their blinds and Rivet took down the pot.

Hand 2: Sylvia had the button. Cristinel Dumitru raised to 4,100 from middle position and the rest of the table folded.

Hand 3: Salsberg had the button. Rivet opened to 4,100 from the hijack and was called by Sylvia from the cutoff, Salsberg on the button, and Kaverman from the big blind.

The flop came {6-Spades}{2-Clubs}{10-Hearts} and there were two checks to Sylvia. The Octo-Niner bet 7,300 which prompted quick folds from Salsberg and Kaverman. Rivet slid out a check raise to 20,000 and after tanking for about a minute, Sylvia called.

Fourth street was the {3-Clubs} and Rivet continued with 11,400. Sylvia opted to lay it down and Rivet took the pot.

Hand 4: Sabat had the button. Matt Salsberg opened to 5,000 from the cutoff only to have Sabat three-bet to 11,200 from the button. Kaverman looked at his cards and four-bet to 24,300 from the small blind which caused Phelps and Salsberg both to release their hands. Sabat called to see a flop.

The dealer fanned {J-Hearts}{7-Spades}{6-Diamonds} and Kaverman came out swinging with 19,300. Sabat called and the {2-Spades} fell on fourth. Kaverman slowed down on this street and Sabat shot out 15,000. Kaverman released and Sabat took down the pot.

"Trying to bluff for the cameras," said Kaverman with a laugh.

"I can't show you," replied Sabat. "You're a good player.

"You can show me!" chimed in Phelps from across the table. "I'm not!"

Phelps comment was received with laughter by Sabat as he stacked his new chips.

Hand 5: Kaverman had the button. Action folded around to him and he made it 5,000 to go. Phelps peeked at his cards and cut out a three-bet to 10,400. Dumitru would not go away easily from the big blind, though, as he moved out a four-bet to 24,600. Kaverman wasted little time plopping in a large stack of blue t5,000 chips into the middle, a bet that had both Phelps and Dumitru covered.

Phelps eventually released his hand, accidentally flashing the {A-Hearts} in the process. Dumitru tank folded as well, showing {9-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}. Phelps looked upset at the hand and confirmed to Kaverman and Sabat that he folded {A-Hearts}{K-Hearts}.

Hand 6: Phelps had the button. Rivet raised from early position to 4,100 only to have Patrick Devlin three-bet to 6,200 from the big blind. Rivet called and saw a flop of {10-Clubs}[2c}{6-Spades}. Devlin fired a c-bet of an unknown amount and Rivet released.

Hand 7: Dumitru had the button. Matt Salsberg opened the action with an early position raise to 4,500. Kevlin called and the duo looked at {10-Spades}{2-Clubs}{7-Spades}. Devlin bet 8,000 only to have Salsberg come over the top for 16,000. Devlin flat called and the {8-Spades} turned.

Devlin checked and Salsberg moved out 15,000. A call allowed the {6-Spades} to complete the board and both players checked. Devlin tabled {9-Diamonds}{9-Hearts} for a straight. A shaken Salsberg showed a {10-} for top pair but could not beat Devlin's straight.

Hand 8: Devlin had the button. Kaverman opened to 4,100 and the table folded.

So there you have it: One orbit around quite the stacked table. Kaverman seemed to be the action player of the table, especially during his bullying of Phelps and Dumitru in Hand 5. Phelps, on the other hand, seems to be nursing his stack and picking his spots wisely - as shown by when he admitted to folding {A-Hearts}{k-Hearts} against Kaverman.

Be sure to stay tuned here at PokerNews as we provide the latest updates as the action continues through this table and the rest of the room.

Chip Counts
Guillaume Rivet 268,000 68,000
Eddy Sabat 182,000 50,000
Byron Kaverman 164,000 164,000
Patrick Devlin 115,000 90,200
Cristinel Dumitru 85,000 5,800
Michael Phelps 71,000 -62,000
Jesse Sylvia 68,000 68,000
Matt Salsberg 26,000 -39,500

Tags: Byron KavermanEddy SabatJesse SylviaMatt SalsbergMichael Phelps

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