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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP Journal

Star Studded Event Feels Like “Home”

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It's probably been years since a pro could look around the field and know almost every player in it, but Wednesday's start of the WSOP's $5K Stud Event felt more like a reunion than a tournament. Stud was a prominent staple in a pro's diet before the hold'em craze and still is for the pros that play the big cash games, which are predominantly mixed games. So maybe it isn't a surprise that the field looked like a Who's Who of poker.

We could list all the players and you'd probably know the vast majority. Here's just a few to give you an idea: Doyle Brunson, Barry Greenstein, Huck Seed, Chris Ferguson, Johnny Chan, John Juanda, Howard Lederer, Greg Raymer, and Gus Hansen Past stud and stud hi/lo bracelet winners in the field included Phil Ivey, Ted Forrest, Cyndy Violette, Jerri Thomas, Harry Thomas, Cliff "Johnny Bax" Josephy, David Williams, Max Stern, David Grey, Jan Sorensen, John Hennigan, and Mike Sexton. Well, you get the drift.

Compared to other WSOP events, the 180-player field was tiny, but no one seemed to mind. Spectators were treated to an intimate view of wall-to-wall pros. And the pros were almost giddy to be amongst their peers. For the first hour of play, the pros were up and out of their chairs like prairie dogs; visiting all the tables to catch-up with, and tease, one another.

Longtime friends, Daniel Negreanu and Jennifer Harman, were seated next to each other. As they swapped stories and giggled through the first round, they hardly noticed as a gaggle of photographers competed to capture the moment. Sam Grizzle tried his best to taunt and torment Cyndy Violette. Violette continued to maintain her charming demeanor; Cindy handily survived the first day of play while Grizzle failed to hold on to his chips.

There was one disappointed pro; Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi. Poor Mizrachi wanted desperately to play the $5K Stud event, but still had chips in the $2K NLHE event. As the stud event start time drew near, Mizrachi pushed all-in with K-5 and doubled up. On the very next hand Grinder pushed all-in with J-8 and rivered a gut shot straight. He sighed and relegated himself to finishing the NLHE event. That must be a tough problem, not being able to bust out of a WSOP event to play with your friends.

Andy Black found an easier solution. As he played the $2K NLHE, he had a cardboard cutout of himself guard his waiting chip stack in the stud event. From all accounts, the Black stand-in played a pretty tight game.

Day Two of the WSOP $5K Stud event commences Thursday at 3:00pm with the final table scheduled for Friday afternoon.

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