Another year, another series, another enormous mass of poker players; welcome to the WSOP 2008.
Here we are again, back in Las Vegas for the series and things are actually running rather smooth. Every year Harrahs makes efforts to improve the series and cater to as many player demands as they can.
There have been no card issues thus far, no people overheating in the outdoor tents (no tournaments are being held in the tent this year, it’s only used as a kitchen for food service) and there are now multicolored chips instead of ones that are different shades of orange.
The things that are still the same are the growing fields, featuring wet behind the ears amateurs and 21 year old online sensations alike, as well as the many, many spectators out to see their favorite pro in person.
The first event of the series, $10,000 pot limit hold’em, hosted the final table of both new faces and some past bracelet winners. The event lasted three days and ended with a happy winner, Nenad Medic, who celebrated his win with friends at Bellagio’s new club The Bank.
Also at the final table were birthday boy Andy Bloch, former bracelet winners Kathy Liebert, and Mike Sexton, online pros Amit Makhija and Mike Sowers, Chris Bell, new Team Full Tilt member Patrik Antonius, and the Unabomber himself, Phil Laak.
The $1500 event drew the biggest field poker has ever seen in a non Main Event tournament. Almost 4000 players gathered together over the weekend to participate and take a stab at the $5.3 million dollar prize pool. In the end only a couple pros made it deep, including Chris Ferguson, Theo Tran, and David Bach. Not wanting to lose the star power, ESPN decided to make it a 10 handed final table and Chris ended up finishing 3rd, just shy of another bracelet to add to the five he already has.
The final table was packed full of poker players coming to support their friends. Brandon Cantu, Nenad Medic, Jeff Madsen, Clonie Gowen, Andy Bloch, JC Tran, Scott ‘SCTrojans’ Freeman, and Shannon Elizabeth all popped in and out to sweat the action.
The $1000 rebuy was a madhouse with constant cries for cards as numerous players got it all in preflop with hands ranging from and 3-4 off suit to stronger possibilities like A-K and A-Q.
Gavin Smith had a huge chip stack early and laughed, “I won’t be able to bust before the break since it’s rebuy.”
One player that did bust out before break was Eric Froehlich who said, “I only decided to rebuy to $10,000.”
The money burst just before 4pm on Wednesday June 4th and numerous pros were still in the running, including Daniel Negreanu, Clonie Gowen, and Phil Ivey.
The same time that happened, the $5000 mixed hold ‘em final table featured a slew of poker’s best – David Williams, Justin Bonomo, Erick Lindgren, Howard Lederer, and online pro Andrew ‘GOOD2CU’ Robl all on the hunt for the coveted gold bracelet.
Erick Lindgren ended up taking it down, winning his first ever and long sought after WSOP bracelet as well as $374,505 in prize money.
Stay tuned – every day it’s a different tournament or two and the action never slows down. So far the 2008 World Series has been a star powered year; it will be interesting to see if that continues.