We have another great story over in the Pavilion today. At Table 16 is our friend Ray Del Cueto, better known around the tournament trail as "Tampa Bay Ray". He's a gregarious 68-year-old fellow from Bradenton Beach, Florida, and he's here today chasing the dream.
Del Cueto started this Day 2 with 57,600, but based on a quick chat, it sounds like he's really just glad to be here regardless of his chip count. In 1997, Del Cueto was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which he caught early and soundly beat. Three years later, though, the disease tried again, and Del Cueto was forced to fight another battle, this time with prostate cancer. Once again, an early catch led to a full recovery, and Del Cueto has been cancer free for more than ten years now. In the last fifteen years, he's become quite a proponent of screening and early detection, and he's always more than happy to give a quick prostate lesson to anyone willing to listen.
It was during his recovery period that Del Cueto took to poker, grinding online at first, then joining in the Florida poker rush that has been building for the last couple years. In February of this year, he played the first World Series of Poker Circuit event held in Florida, hosted by the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Del Cueto notched his first-ever live tournament cash there, earning himself a gold ring and $28,800 for a win in a $345 event. He cashed once more down there in Palm Beach, and he won a $500 online satellite to qualify his way into this 2011 Main Event.
Del Cueto's Day 2 has started off well enough, and his stack has increased up over 60,000 after the first break. His daughters Julie and Kristy are watching from back home with his grandchildren Elly and Matthew, and they're likely not the only ones rooting for Tampa Bay Ray today. He's got a tough table, but he does have direct position on Allen Cunningham.