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Poker players overcome theft, build big stacks at WSOP Main Event

The start of the World Series of Poker Main Event could not have been much worse for Mo Nuwwarah and Josh Reichard.

It’s gone considerably better for the pair since.

After Nuwwarah and Reichard had their car broken into last week, the longtime friends were each in a strong position on Day 3 of the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship on Tuesday at Horseshoe Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas.

“People were telling me, ‘This is the universe balancing itself out,’” Nuwwarah said. “I have some friends who would shame me for talking about good karma. But just trying to keep playing strong poker and hope things work themselves out.”

The Main Event, which drew a record field of 10,112 entrants, continues Wednesday at Horseshoe Las Vegas. The money bubble is expected to burst early on Day 4 with the top 1,517 players getting paid.

Reichard unofficially climbed into the top 10 at the 7 p.m. dinner break Tuesday and was one of a handful of players over the 1-million chip mark. Nuwwarah was still hovering unofficially in the top 150 of the more than 2,100 players still battling for the $10 million first prize.

Nuwwarah arrived in Las Vegas on July 4 from his home in Omaha, Nebraska, and was picked up at the airport by Reichard. The two went to lunch at a popular Italian spot and while they were eating, Nuwwarah said a restaurant employee told them their car had been broken into.

Nuwwarah and Reichard noticed their bags were missing when they arrived at the scene. Reichard did not have anything of value in his bag, but Nuwwarah had a significant amount of cash to buy into the Main Event. He also had personal items in his bags that were stolen.

“Maybe Mo got motivated by what happened,” Reichard said. “Hopefully there’s some good karma coming our way from the bad (expletive) that happened. … It’s nice that he made a nice recovery. It couldn’t have started a lot worse than that.”

Nuwwarah was a live update reporter and editor for PokerNews from 2013 to 2021 and covered the Main Event each year for the online publication. He currently works as the lead writer for The Lines, a sports betting and daily fantasy sports website.

Nuwwarah has had considerable success at the poker table the past few years at Mid-States Poker Tour events. He won the MSPT’s $1,110 buy-in No-limit Hold’em Main Event in January at Bally’s Black Hawk Casino in Colorado for more than $155,000. His career live tournament earnings are just shy of $600,000, according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database.

Despite the theft, Nuwwarah bagged one of the biggest chip stacks at the end of Day 1C and entered Day 3 in the top 50 of his first Main Event.

“Technically, my stack in the Main Event was worth more than what I lost probably on Day 1 even. Now I’m just trying to make it count,” Nuwwarah said. “Generally, this tournament isn’t the best for me. I can be a little bit too willing to mix it up at times. I don’t know if this structure is the best for me, but I’m trying to adjust.”

Reichard more than doubled his 60,000-chip starting stack after the first day and wasn’t far behind Nuwwarah entering play Tuesday.

The poker pro from Janesville, Wisconsin, is one of the most recognizable players in the Midwest and has more than $4 million in live tournament earnings. Reichard is tied for third all time with 15 career WSOP rings, which are awarded for WSOP circuit event victories.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on X.

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