Cookies on the PokerWorks Website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the PokerWorks website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue using cookies

Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2007

Poker Peek Becomes Poker Puke as Day 1 of $5k Mixed LH/NLH Championship Is Complete

Share this

What began as a tumultuous day of bad cards and insane lines ended at 2:00AM with a stellar field of 95 players focused on one thing: poker. Greg "FBT" Mueller sat on top of the chip lead with 130k with Sabyl Cohen in 3rd with 118.5k and ten-time bracelet winner Johnny Chan still alive for his record eleventh title, his work cut out for him Saturday with his short stack of 14k.

It never seems easy at the World Series of Poker, and this year proved to unfortunately be no exception. Contractors and Harrah's staff worked through the night and into the morning getting the room ready, yet a storm was brewing by breakfast time. The twenty players in line to register at 8:00AM increased ten-fold by 9:00, and yet the registration wasn't opened until 10:00. With play scheduled to start at noon, the logistics had become a disaster. Players at the end of the line waited over three hours, and the wait fluctuated between 3-4 hours the entire day and well past midnight.

The big problem affecting play though was the cards. In the daily flyer prepared by Harrah's, Jeffrey Pollack lauded the new Poker Peek cards from US Playing Card. "Every day, every table of every bracelet event at the WSOP will begin with a fresh setup of KEM-quality cards from USPC," said Pollack. "These cards have a revolutionary new design, and we're confident players will enjoy them." It was a revolution to be sure, but Pollack had forgotten that revolutions are often very bloody. As first reported on PokerWorks, satellite players provided the first glimpse into the horror show that would hit when cards were dealt at noon. Poker Peek had become Poker Puke, and player reaction was immediate.

"There is no way any poker player has played with these cards before today," said Greg Raymer, the 2004 WSOP Main Event champion. Andy Black sat looking at the board incredulously as Doug Lee and Raymer chuckled. Other players weren't as kind as even the most seasoned pros were duped by these cards. There were three significant problems with the cards:

  • The 6 and 9 cards appeared to be almost identical on the board, causing numerous misreads throughout the day.
  • Due to the small size of the suit symbols, the suits were extremely difficult to read on the board.
  • The backs of the cards are asymmetrical, meaning they have a north and a south direction. The middle of the card held a graphic with three lines: Official Tournament Card, Jeffrey Pollack's signature, and Jeffery N. Pollack, Commissioner. The irony of his name being misspelled was hard not to notice.

The first two problems led to players changing the way they physically played poker. They stood up to stare at the cards. They named the cards or asked the dealer to call them out. They hesitated forever trying to figure out what cards were really on the felt. Much like an optical illusion, the 69 problem was particularly troublesome. More than one player moved all-in on the flop or turn, received a call, turned their hands up, then sat stunned as their brain slowly translated the image of the board into the reality that they in fact had not flopped a straight or two pair.

Jason "strassa2" Strasser pointed out the asymmetrical problem. "Look, these cards have a direction, which is inexcusable. Any player who marks cards has a huge advantage when the backs of cards have a direction. It is just ridiculous." By 5:00, the firefighting of Harrah's and US Playing Card yielded fresh generic decks for the field to use through the remainder of the event.

With all that went wrong, one thing was a surprise: the $5k Mixed Hold-Em event was a big success for several reasons. Though seemingly a bizarre premise, the event actually wasn't bad. The blind structure was very odd, with a LH blind of $50/100 for $100/200 limit followed by a NLH blind of $75/150. This meant average pot sizes shifted between the smaller limit pots to the much larger no-limit ones. The relatively small field of 451 meant the big problems had less impact on the day's event than if they had started with Saturday's $1.5k NLH event.

The real benefit of holding this event first was the roster of players assembled in the room. The $5k buy-in brought a field of poker's best to the Rio. There was not much dead money among the 451 player, and every table held one or two terrific players. By 7:00PM, you couldn't find a table that wasn't loaded with top talent.

Table 54: Erik Seidel {2-Spades}, Layne Flack {3-Spades}, Doyle Brunson {4-Spades}
Table 57: Vanessa Rousso {6-Spades}, Isabelle Mercier {10-Spades}, eight rancid old men
Table 61: Scott Fischman {4-Spades}, Antonio Esfandiari {6-Spades}, Dewey Tomko {8-Spades}, Gabe Kaplan {10-Spades}
Table 63: Dutch Boyd {2-Spades}, Josh Arieh {3-Spades}, Jeff Madsen {8-Spades}, Freddy Deeb {10-Spades}
Table 68: Johnny Chan {2-Spades}, Daniel Negreanu {4-Spades}, Phil Ivey {5-Spades}
Table 77: Huck Seed (1s), Joe Tehan {5-Spades}, Hoyt Corkins {6-Spades}
When the dinner break arrived, the ladies were in command. Sabyl Cohen, the last woman standing in last year's Main Event, held the chip lead at 61k with Liz Lieu close behind in fifth chip position. Both are terrific poker players, the diminutive Lieu a regular cover girl as one of the most beautiful players in poker, probably second only to everyone's pin-up fantasy, Patrik Antonius. In contrast, Cohen is a corpulent woman of a demeanor that oscillates between studious and frumpy. The two went in opposite directions late as Cohen was the first to pass 100k in chips while Lieu saw her big stack evaporate in the last hours of play. Cohen ended the day in third chip position with 118k while Lieu's stack had plummeted to 11.5k.

During the last five hours of play after the dinner break, the list of bustouts was a veritable Who's Who of poker. They included Aaron Katz, Allen Kessler, Amir Vahedi, Andy Black, Andy Bloch, Anh Van Nguyen, Annie Duke, Berry Johnston, Bill Chen, Bill Edler, Bill Gazes, Brandon Adams, Chad Brown, Chantel McNulty, Chau Giang, Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson, Daniel Negreanu, David Bennefield, David Benyamine, David Chiu, David 'Devilfish' Ulliott, David Oppenheim, David Plastik, Dewey Tomko, Doug Lee, Doyle Brunson, Dutch Boyd, Eli Elezra, Erick Lindgren, Erik 'Rizen' Lynch, Farzad Bonyadi, Frank Kassela, Fred Berger, Freddy Deeb, Gabe Kaplan, Gavin Griffin, Gavin Smith, Gene Todd, Harry Demetriou, Huckleberry Seed, J.J. Liu, James Van Alstyne, Jeff Madsen, Jeff Shulman, Jennifer Harman, Jesse Jones, Jim Bechtel, Jim Betchel, Joe Bartholdi, John D'Agostino, John Juanda, John Phan, Jon Friedberg, Justin Bonomo, Kathy Liebert, Kevin Song, Layne Flack, Lee Watkinson, Mark Newhouse, Mark Seif, Max Pescatori, Melissa Hayden, Michael Binger, Michael 'The Grinder' Mizrachi, Mickey Appleman, Mike Gracz, Mike Laing, Mike Matusow, Mimi Tran, Nam Le, Nick Schulman, O'Neil Longson, Paul Lee, Peter Jetten, Phil Galfond, Phil Gordon, Phil Hellmuth, Jr., Phil Ivey, Rafe Furst, Rene Angelil, Robert Goldfarb, Robert Williamson III, Roland de Wolfe, Sam Grizzle, Scott Clements, Scott Fischman, Shane 'Shaniac' Schleger, Shannon Shorr, Steve Austin, Steven Robbins, T.J. Cloutier, Tad Jurgens, Thomas Wahlroos, Thor Hansen, Tim West, Tony Ma, Toto Leonidas, Tuan Le, Yoshi Nakano, and Young Pham.

Of course, the most vocal bustout was Phil Hellmuth. The ten-time bracelet winner showed that neither his attire nor his antics have changed much in the last few years. Outfitted in his all-black outfit, he arrived late and gradually built a stack that hovered slightly below average most of the day. The volcanic explosion that has become commonplace for him lasted twenty minutes shortly after midnight. First, Hellmuth raised to 2k from middle position and the big blind re-raised another 3.8k. Hellmuth called, and the flop came {7-Clubs}{5-Spades}{2-Clubs}. The big blind bet 6.6k and Hellmuth called. The {7-Hearts} came on the turn, and the big blind bet another 12.6k. Hellmuth raised 11.8k to put the big blind all-in, which he called with pocket queens. Hellmuth showed pocket jacks and got no relief on the river, and with his stack at 9k he launched a verbal tirade that earned him his first penalty.

Upon his return, Hellmuth raised again from middle position to 2.5k and was called by Paul Snead. Hellmuth checked the flop of {J-Clubs}{J-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}, and Snead bet 2.5k. Hellmuth min-raised to 5k and Snead re-raised to set Hellmuth all-in for his last 2k in chips. His black pocket tens were no match for Snead's trip queens with {Q-Spades}{J-Spades}, and Hellmuth was out. His abusive diatribe button was again hit, and Phil Gordon joined the fray as the rhetoric went unabated. As he tried to calm Hellmuth down, the two went at it to the amazement of many in the Amazon Room. It may not be the last we hear from Phil Hellmuth at this year's World Series of Poker.

95 players remained when play ended at 2:00AM with Greg Mueller (130k), Frank Kassela (121.5k), Sabyl Cohen (118.5k), Louis Werman (110.5k), and Mark Teltscher (100.5k) as the five leading the pack over 100k in chips. With the average chip stack for the field at 47.6k, players in great position heading into Day 2 include Kirk Morrison (90.5k), Joe Tehan (87.5k), Jason "strassa2" Strasser (79k), and Eric Froelich (74k). In addition to Cohen, female players are well represented including Isabelle Mercier (55k), Vanessa Rousso (53.5k), Cyndy Violette (38k), and short stack Liz Lieu (11.5k).

Play will resume at 2:00PM amid the hordes of players that surely will be the $1.5k NLH Event #3 field. Play will end when they reach a final table with the top 45 players cashing. The complete list of 95 players who hope to get there:

Greg Mueller 130,000
Frank Kassela 121,500
Sabyl Cohen 118,500
Louis Werman 110,500
Mark Teltscher 100,500
John Kroshvs 93,000
John Younger 91,500
Kirk Morrison 90,500
Alex Bolotin 88,000
Joseph Tehan 87,500
Jason Strasser 79,000
Ville Wahlbeck 78,500
Jason Mann 76,000
Paul Snead 75,500
Miguel Proulx 74,500
Eric Froehlich 74,000
Jon Turner 72,500
Matt Giannetti 71,000
Todd Brunson 70,500
Todd Keikosn 69,000
Art Duncan 65,500
Hieu Ma 65,000
Sirous Baghchehsaraie 64,000
Ali Eslami 63,000
Staffan Rydin 63,000
Matt Hawrikeuko 61,500
Toto Leonidas 61,500
Brett Richey 57,000
Ted Lawson 56,000
Steve Paul-Ambrose 55,500
Isabelle Mercier 55,500
Aaron Kanter 55,500
Michael Castelli 54,000
Hung La 54,000
Vanessa Rousso 53,500
Erik Seidel 52,000
Randy Haddox 51,500
Joe Bartholdi 51,000
Michael Martin 51,000
Michael Esposito 50,500
Josh Arieh 50,000
Mark Gregorzch 48,500
Greg Debora 48,000
Antonio Esfandiari 46,500
Stephen Buchanan 46,500
Joe Brandenburg 45,500
Roger McDow 45,500
Barry Greenstein 43,000
Eryc Nickelson 43,000
Minh Ly 42,500
Alex Kravchenko 41,500
Tam Hang 41,500
Fred Berger 40,000
Thomas Schreider 39,000
Lonnie Heimowitz 38,000
Cyndy Violette 38,000
Justin Pechre 37,500
Jeff Petromack 37,500
Chris Carroll 36,000
George Dunst 34,500
Kenny Tran 34,500
Hoyt Corkins 34,000
Tony Georgue 34,000
Emad Bastawros 33,500
Tom Koral 33,000
Frank Sasfy 30,500
Steve Billirakis 29,500
Lee Salem 29,500
William Jensin 28,000
Andreas Walwum 27,000
Edward Brogdon 27,000
David Strot 27,000
Ben Johnson 25,500
David Back 25,500
Jorge Arias 23,500
Danny Noam 22,000
Millie Shui 21,500
Pat Pezzin 21,500
Stuart Rutter 21,500
Nick Binger 21,000
Carl Olson 21,000
Ron Faltinsky 20,000
Matthew Keikoan 19,500
Jimmy Tran 19,500
Can Hua 16,500
JJ Travers 15,500
Perry Friedman 14,500
Johnny Chan 14,000
David Grey 13,000
Chad Layne 12,000
Liz Lieu 11,500
Theodore Park 11,500
Chris Back 11,000
Humberto Brenes 10,000
Anahit Galajian 9,500

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

Read more

Quick Room Review

Bonus Room review

Subscribe to the Nightly Turbo

Be the first to know all the latest poker news, tournament results, gossip and learn all about the best online poker deals straight from your inbox.

RSS Feed