Freddy Deeb mentioned that Chip Reese was the greatest poker player of all time and that they had swapped 5% of each other for the HORSE tournament. Moments after Deeb won the event, he said that he felt it was an honor that last year's winner thought confident enough in his game that he's take a piece of the action.
HORSE is a players players game. It's nod a fad. It's not great for TV. It's not the most popular game of poker on the internet. It is what it is... rotation poker. Sort of a throw back to the kitchen games with plastic chips or those beer-soaked fraternity house days when you played dealer's choice and knew that certain players didn't like specific games so when they were on tilt or having an insane rush, you called that game to either cool down the hot player or push your buddy further into tiltdom.
At the final table of HORSE, you could figure out what game was stronger for the players than others. Some went into lockdown mode the moment a round began. The better final table players switched gears within their rounds. If they were known to be a tight Stud 8 player, they'd jam pots and keep their opponents guessing.
What I respect most about the $50K HORSE is that consistent play over a variety of limit games is rewarded. The buy-in is also sizable enough investment that it weeds out the bottom feeders. I always felt that they should raise the buy-in of the WSOP main event to $25K if only for inflation reasons. When I was a kid (when the WSOP started), $10K was a lot of money. I don't know how much money my father earned in 1977, but I assume that $10K was at least 1/3 of his salary at that crappy desk job he humped in Midtown Manhattan. I'm too lazy to figure out inflation figures, but $25K seems about right.
At any rate, 148 players bought into HORSE and that represented some of the Top 75 or so of the premiere players in the world. Then there were a few players whom I couldn't figure out why they were in the event. I simply assumed someone staked them. Some of the players who I respected the most skipped out on HORSE. They said it was too expensive and the field was too strong. I also wondered how many horses that Lindgren and Patrik Antonius had the HORSE event. I betcha between two of them combined, they backed 75% of the field. An anonymous friend in the media room thought that number was higher and more like 90%. Sure, we knew that Chip Reese had 5% of Deeb, but who had the rest?
I returned to the Rio only seven hours after the HORSE final table ended I left it to cover Day 2 of the $5K NL Hold'em Short-handed event. Dutch Boyd started out as the chipleader, with Phil Hellmuth not too far behind. Tony G was also left along with Allen Cunningham, Jamie Gold, and Spiderman himself... Tobey Maguire. With all those stars, the spectators were tightly packed six or seven deep on the rail. Flashes were going off every few minutes despite the stern warnings from the TD that flash photography was not permitted.
We got the whole Hollywerid-ish PR bullshit before the event started regarding coverage of Tobey Maguire. I got instructions like, "Um... we're not going to be taking photos of Tobey today at his request. He doesn't want any attention until he goes deep."
He didn't want to be covered. Cool with me. I had Logan, Dave, and Drew covering the event with me and I told them specifically, "Fuck that Spiderman clown in the ear. We're not covering him."
I made sure that none of our guys sweated his table and left him alone. Maguire busted out early and we didn't get the specifics about the hand. One of the guys asked the players at the table what happened, and they were quick to let us know who busted Spidey.
Besides, we had bigger fish to fry with Jamie Gold cashing in an event (his first significant money win since he won the Main Event last year) and Phil Hellmuth being vintage Phil Hellmuth. That meant plenty of side drama and tons and tons of railbirds. His nemesis quckly became Raj Sawant after he sucked out on the Poker Brat. Hellmuth flopped a set and lost to a two outer. He lost most of his stack and his sanity. The verbal tirade began. Hellmuth even showed one of ours guys his hole cards before he folded to a raise from Sawant. A few hands earlier Sawant raised big with 10-4o and busted a player.
Hellmuth felt he was getting set up as he peeled off Ah-Qd. He called Drew over and showed him his cards.
"I'm the greatest player in the world and that is what the best players do," he said as he threw his cards into the muck.
Hellmuth ended up busting out under a tirade of donkey-f-bombs and Tony G took the spotlight. He doubled up on one hand against Erik Friberg when The G made a boat to beat Boyd's Broadway straight. That's when the old school Tony G jumped up and started yelling.
"Try making a move with J-10 again and you'll go broke!" he said.
When Dutch Boyd was moved to his table, The G tried to tilt him. His 4d-4s held up against Boyd's Ac-Qs. Tony G flopped a set and he jumped up and started trash talking with Dutch Boyd.
"I'm gonna take everything you have," said Tony G. "I'm gonna rip your stack apart! Keep calling and I'll keep taking all your chips."
The G had chips then Friberg and Boyd started making moves on him. Whenever The G would raise, they moved all in. He folded on two instances and lost about 40% of his stack.
Tony G eventually busted out in 10th place on a wicked bad beat. He got it all in with A-J against Emil Patel's A-8s. Patel turned an 8 and The G stormed away from the table in silence. I think he was also playing in the Triple Draw event.
Speaking of Triple Draw, Chris Fargis was back in town trying to win his first bracelet. And Garth was also playing in the event. He had both Sheiky and Jesus at his table at one point. Just like my buddy Coach playing the day before or Drizz last week, I barely had enough time to say hello and sweat them for a bit. That's been my biggest regret about the WSOP this year... is that with multiple events (some days as many as 6 at once) I don't get to follow the action outside of the event that I'm covering. I feel like I'm missing 80% of the WSOP since there are too many events.
Two years ago, I covered every single final table except two - I left the Razz marathon early and another one so I could go to one of the parties. That also doesn't include the bracelet events that went on during the main event. This year, I have only seen a handful of final tables... the ones that I covered. My main assignments are Day 2. What I have been seeing is how those players got to the final table, but what I am also seeing is who's been running good at the WSOP and who hasn't there are a few players who I've seen regularly this year. And there are some pros that I haven't covered yet... which means that they haven't been going deep. Ergo, bad series for them. Of course, all of that could change with one final table.
Anyway, Justin Shronk and Oliver Tse cashed in the events they were playing on Day 29. Congrats to both. Garth survived a Day 1 which is a feat considering the field he was up against. Nice work, kangadonkey!
Here's a random thought...
Over the last month I've been having several Sandy Bates moments. For the six of you who picked up on that reference, you can understand the existentialist and artistic dilemma that I have been experiencing over the last couple of weeks. For those of you who haven't, go rent Stardust Memories on Netflix.
Random Guy: Can I have your autograph?During one of the breaks of the HORSE event, I went outside for a few minutes for a smoke break. It was around 3am and Benjo told me a weird story regarding John-Paul Sartre. I actually started the conversation by asking him something about Sartre. I think it was about him banging Simone de Beauvoir. Anyway, Benjo told me how Simone de Beauvoir made him take a holiday in Southern France because he was too burnt out after experiencing hallucinations, specifically one about a lobster following him around. He had been doing too much mescaline and was feeling the residual effects of that drug. For years the lobster would follow him around and he made the decision that he was not going to see the lobster any more... and the lobster vanished and ceased to exist anymore.
Sandy Bates: Oh, jeez.
Random Guy: Could you just write: "To Phyllis Weinstein, you unfaithful, lying bitch."
I had a moment of clarity and finally figured it out. Everything. Especially what Sartre was trying to teach us... that we have to make a choice in life. And not just about what we do, but what we believe, and the values we hold. Those choices are not going to be made for us or nor should they be dictated by those around us. He decided to stop seeing the lobsters and they were gone.
Don't forget to check out LasVegasVegas for Flipchip's WSOP photos and there's the Poker Prof's cool 2007 WSOP Info page.
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