Las Vegas, NV
The average American household earns roughly $50,000. Husband. Wife. 2.5 kids. Car. Dog. Picket fence. Apple pie. Atlanta Braves baseball. God bless America.
148 players forked over the equivalent of one year's salary for the average American to play in the HORSE World Championship event at the World Series of Poker. Think about that for a second. Poker players are putting 50K into play at a shot to win close to $2 million. Only 16 players will actually get paid prize money. So 132 players will leave empty-handed after they pissed away $50,000.
What kind of material items you can buy with $50,000? How many years of college tuition can $50,000 pay?
You've seen those "feed the children" commercials where a bloated and emotionally high-strung Sally Struthers openly weeps for the cameras and guilt trips you into sending her foundation money after seeing photos of emaciated African kids covered in flies. For only the cost of a cup of coffee, you can feed all the starving children in the world.
There are campaigns where you send $8 a month or roughly $100 a year. At that equation, one buy-in to the HORSE event could feed 500 starving children for one full year.
Or how about an example in more practical terms in a manner that my readers can relate to... if you are a pothead, $50,000 can buy you 15 pounds of the dankest bud on the planet. If you are AlCantHang, $50,000 can buy over 2,000 bottles of Southern Comfort.
The third ever 50K HORSE event kicked off at 5pm. Pros usually arrive several minutes late to regular WSOP events in order to avoid the rush and the crowds. But the HORSE event is one of the rare moments when pros arrive several minutes before game time in order to hang out and chat with some of their friends and colleagues that they have not seen in a while.
Pros mingling with other pros. Talking shit. Swapping percentages. Sharing gossip. Repaying loans. Prop betting Phil Ivey. And everyone wanted to hug Isabelle.
DonkeyBomber paced back and forth like a caged Lion while Doyle Brunson stood behind him and was interviewed by a camera crew. The bright light from the camera illuminated Texas Dolly's million dollar smile.
Jeff Lisandro wandered over to talk smack with DonkeyBomber. Nenad Medic and Mike Matusow exchanged pleasantries but didn't show off their new bracelets.
The HORSE event also attracted a second wave of media. Otis and his PokerStars crew arrived including Harold, Bartley, Lina, and Maridu (who had been around - but playing in events, kicking ass, and taking names). There were plenty of hugs exchanged in the press box with more European press giving each other double kisses. Yeah, for the first time since Day 1, there were random vultures that I had never seen before who arrived just in time to pick apart the leftover flesh on the pros who perished over the five day slaughterfest.
I saw some familiar faces that you'd expect to see in the 50K HORSE event like last year's champion Freddy Deeb. And then there's the Big Game regulars like Minh Ly, Chau Giang, Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Jen Harman, and Barry Greenstein.
A few pros played the HORSE for the very first time such as German pros Katja Thater and Jon von Halle.
"This is the biggest event we've played to date," mentioned Jan. "We're excited."
It was a good day to be a German, since Germany beat Turkey earlier in the day in the European Championships semi-finals.
Charlie made an announcement that the HORSE tournament area was for media only. A couple of agents and other poker leeches slithered away into the sea of gawking spectators.
At 5pm on the dot, Jeffrey Pollack grabbed the mic to bust out the jams. He said that the HORSE "bracelet is tweaked up just a bit with a couple of extra karats and diamonds."
Tweaked? When I hear that word in Vegas I think about a bunch of tatted up guys in wife beaters cooking up a batch of crystal meth in the Redneck Riviera.
Then reality set in. Pollack asked everyone for a moment of silence for Chip Reese. A last minute reminder that poker is just a game. But was 50K HORSE just a game? Hell no. It was a bare-knuckle brawl and I got a second row seat from high up in the press box.
148 warriors entered the Amazon room. Only one will leave. And that lucky soul will walk away with the most prestigious bracelet at the WSOP and almost $2 million in cash. Oh, don't forget that cheesey WSOP branded coffee mug and the $100 food comp that all of the HORSE players were given before the event began.
Bring out your dead. Gigli on Day 1 was Jamie Pickering. The Aussie strip club owner donked off 50K pretty quickly and busted out first. Tony G took the honors last year. His fellow Aussie Pickering followed suit this year. Also out on Day 1? David Williams and God himself... Phil Hellmuth.
Isabelle Mercier played at the table right in front of the press box. She actually sat right in front of Benjo and the PokerNews' crew (which included Change100, Logan, and Mean Gene). You gotta know MeanGene was nearly jizzing in his pants being so close to Isabelle. She looked perky and actually glowing. Maybe she was excited to be sooooo close to MeanGene?
I have seen many moments in poker. Nothing is more erotic than watching Isabelle Mercier eat a banana.
Of course, the highlight of my night was watching the chick with huge tits stumble into the playing area just as the players were returning from their dinner break. At first I though a drunken tourist snuck past the security guard and wandered up to Marcel Luske for a photo. She then wandered over to Negreanu's table and then to Gus Hansen's table. It turned out she was a working girl hawking her wares. In the middle of the HORSE event. Talk about perfect timing.
Hooker photo courtesy of Wicked Chops Poker
Yesterday I wrote about the dumbest hookers on the planet who tried to cash in Bellagio tournament chips which they got from their johns. Well the working girl who crashed the HORSE tournament might have been the smartest prostitute in Las Vegas. She knew those high rollers and ballers didn't have time to stop at the Hooker Bar. She went right to the source. I wonder if any of those guys are knocking boots with her as I write this?
Yes, Las Vegas is the place where can you have hookers delivered to your table. God bless America.
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