Last night, around 3:30am local time, I wrote something in the final table live updates alluding to the infamous quote from Teddy KGB from the film Rounders. I said, "The kid has alligator blood in his veins." That perfectly described Thomas Bihl, the German who came out of nowhere to top one of the strongest fields in tournament poker that I had seen in the last three years.
On Day 2 of HORSE, we confused two players and thought Bihl busted. He qualified through WSOPE sponsor Betfair and one of their reps mentioned to us about the error. I jokingly said something to the effect that, "Bihl's going to make the final table now."
Well, not only did he make the final table, he won the whole thing becoming the first ever player to win a bracelet outside of Las Vegas. And his feat was not an easy task. He had to outlast a final table comprising of some of the best players in the world.
Alex KGB? Some would argue that he had one of the best runs aside from Donkey Bomber at the 2007 WSOP.
Jesus? He's one of the best tournament players of all time and made a total of 27 final tables at the WSOP.
Jen Harman is often regarded as the best female poker player of all time. She only has two bracelets because she prefers the biggest cash games in the world. She's also the only female to have won two bracelets in open events (Non-Ladies or Non-Seniors events).
Kirk Morrison is a sick player. He's a true gambler and a tad bit insane. That's part of the reason he disappeared for seven plus years after winning a bracelet in 1997. Ask guys like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, and Allen Cunningham about what they thought about Morrison's ability over a decade ago. They all started out roughly at the same time. Had Morrison stayed on the circuit, he could have amassed five or six more bracelets. But Morrison would be the first to admit, he might not have lived until 2007 had he stayed in Sin City due to his inner action junkie. If there's anyone I met on the poker tour who has a an amazing thirst for life and living in the moment... it's Kirk Morrison. By the way, he was knocking back beers an hour before the final table began. Morrison is a balls to the wall kinda guy and has become one of my favorite players over the past six months.
Brits Joe Beevers (nicknamed "The Elegence" by Vicky Coren) from Hendon Mob fame and Gary Jones (nicknamed "The Choir Boy" sporting lime green hair) are savvy players. Unfortunately, they were both shortstacked and made early exits.
And the online player, Yuval Bronshtein from Atlanta, played amazing over the last couple of days.
Yeah, not only did Thomas Bihl outlast a field of 105 runners consisting of the world's premiere players, he bested a tough as shit final table.
And I forgot to mention that grueling heads-up battle between himself and Jen Harman, which lasted 127 hands. After Kirk Morrison busted out in third-place, they were even in chips. She increased her lead to over 300,000 at one point, but Bil stormed back in the last hour of play.
Let's put this into perspective for Jen Harman... first place paid about £70K pounds or roughly $140K US. She plays in The Big Game in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio, which is the biggest cash game in the world. The paltry prize money means nothing to her. She was playing for a bracelet and a shot at history. She wanted to win badly. As Michael Craig mentioned to me, she's a fierce competitor.
"If she were flipping coins for $2, she'd want to win every one," explained Craig.
There was a moment in the tournament when Harman was the short stack with four players left. She was down to her last 85,000. Kirk Morrison had a monster lead at that point, but Harman doubled up to avoid elimination. She hung on and Jesus busted out in 4th. Then she took two monsterpottens off of Morrison during Razz to get back into contention. Morrison didn't recover at that point, as the three final players (Bihl, Morrison, Harman) were all even in chips.
Harman played remarkably and was so close to winning. But last night was Thomas Bihl's moment. And he was a humble winner as he thanked the crowd and his parents (who were in Germany) for their amazing support.
Change100 and Jen covered the final table, as the guys (myself, Barry, Snoopy, Jonno, and Schecky) covered £5,000 PLO Day 1. There were 157 players in the event and they only got down to 44. They suspended play at 2pm which was a controversial (and wrong move in my opinion.) The PLO event was supposed to be a two-day event and they should have played as long as possible before action was suspended. The majority of the players wanted to continue, but Jack Effel made a decision to stop play around 2am.
Now the remaining 44 players have to come back at 2pm local time. They won't stop until a winner is declared, or until 6am when the casino closes. It's going to be close call. Oh and yeah, the main event starts on Monday.
Anyway, the field in the PLO event was another stacked tournament. PLO is more popular among Europeans and English players, so they got more runners than anticipated. The big dogs made early exits such as Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Fuckin' Chan, Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, Fossilman, Robert Williamson III, and Barry Greenstein. Also failing to advance to Day 2 included online players Annette_15, Gobboboy, ActionJeff, sbrugby, Imper1um, and ZeeJustin. Pros missing the cut included Annie Duke, John Juanda, David Williams, Julian Gardner, Max Pescatori, Jesus, Kirk Morrison, The Grinder, The Milk Bar Kid, Don O'Dea, Humberto Brenes, Marcel Luske, Hoyt Corkins, Marco Traniello, Michael Binger, Thor Hansen, Juha Helppi, Pascal Perrault, Jeff Lisandro, Barny Boatman, and Johan Storakers.
Here's who advanced to Day 2... notice that my boss Tony G is among the chipleaders!
PLO End of Day 1 Chip Counts:As you can tell, there are plenty of big names left in the hunt. You can follow the action over at Poker News where Barry, Snoopy, and I will be providing live updates.
John Persson 186500
Dario Alioto 185500
Ted Lawson 160000
Tony G 142500
Erik Friberg 130500
Istvan Novak 125500
Roland De Wolfe 124500
Andy Bloch 119500
Magnus Persson 101500
Bruno Fitoussi 95000
Dan Bitsch Pedersen 92000
Sampo Lopponen 89500
John Duthie 86500
Chris Bjorin 85500
Julian Adamson 82500
Kenny Tran 81500
Eli Elezra 81500
Antoine Arnault 81000
David Lloyd 80500
Sointula Jani 80000
Andreas Hagen 70500
Brandon Adams 69500
Sherkhan Farnoos 67100
Nenad Medic 63000
M H Razaghi 63000
Phil Gordon 58500
Erik Seidel 56000
Ted Forrest 55500
Rafi Amit 54500
Tim Flanders 49500
Will Hayden 48000
Rupert Housden 47000
Jesse Jones 43000
Martin Vallo 39000
Allen Cunningham 37500
David Callaghan 24000
Richard Ashby 22500
Vegard Nygaard 21500
Michel Abecassis 21500
Tony Cooney 20000
Noah Jefferson 18850
David Finney 14500
David Ulliott - UNKNOWN CHIPS
Bouncin' Round the Room on WSOPE Day 3
Kirk Morrison and Jesus were two-tabling on Day 3. They both made the final table of HORSE and played their stacks in the PLO on breaks. They both busted out of PLO and Jesus was eliminated for two tournaments in the same hour.
The floor guys, Charlie and Steve, have great senses of humor. They rushed over to tell us about an amazing hand in the PLO event... "Quads over quads over quads." We couldn't believe we missed the hand until a light bulb went off... that hand would be impossible. They got a good laugh out of it, as did we. The floor guys bust their ass and log tough hours and it's nice to have a light-hearted moment from time to time.
I took my first betting parlor bad beat of the trip. Mike Lacey, an Irish player from Antes Up fame, stopped by the Empire. I had not seen him since the WSOP. Anyway, he told me about a great tip on a football (soccer) match. Ireland was playing Slovakia. We both bet Ireland and Ladbrokes around the corner were giving me good odds. I'd win £80 if I bet £50. I rushed over on one of my breaks and fought through the crowd in Leicester Square to get to the betting parlor. I realized I had no idea what I was doing and the guy in the booth helped me out. You write down your bet on a slip and they book it. Your receipt is a photocopy of your slip, with a barcode on it. Anyway... I watched the second half during dinner break at the bar with Lacey. Ireland was up 2-1 when it reached 90:00. Of course, during extra time, at 91:30, Slovakia scored a goal to tie it up. Ties lose and that was my sports betting bad beat of the day. Time to get it back with the NFL...
Change100 and Jen kicked ass during their final table. hand for hand is tough in Hold'em and they pulled it off for HORSE! That's an amazing feat that only a handful of people in the poker media can successfully accomplish. The suits at Harrahs were impressed as were everyone at PokerNews. Great job, ladies.
When PLO finished, I headed into the final table area located in the disco. I did some color commentary for the last two hours. The bartender left and Jeffrey Pollack ducked behind the bar to grab a sparkling water. A drunk dude wandered up to the bar and ordered a drink. Pollack said something like, "Ummmm... I don't work here." A funny moment. It would have been funnier if he mixed the guy a cocktail.
Johnny Mushrooms made an appearance at the Empire. He was kind enough to bring me a drink while I was working. Of course, he brought me the girliest drink in the casino... a strawberry and raspberry mojito. It came with a tampon.
During one of the first breaks of the PLO event, Phil Hellmuth was desperately looking for someone to play Chinese Poker with. He tried to get Bary Breenstein to play, but Barry was super tired after flying all night and arriving that morning.
I spotted Doyle Brunson and Eli Elezra playing heads up Chinese during one of the later breaks. Later in the evening, they were sitting next to each other and playing props. Eli was keeping track on a piece of paper and Brunson was giving him shit for being in the hole so badly that first place prize money wouldn't even get him unstuck.
Doyle Brunson was decked out in his Johnny Cash all-black cowboy look. Texas Dolly is a bad ass.
Come back at the Tao of Poker for daily recaps and head over at PokerNews for live coverage and updates including chip counts, photos, and videos.
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