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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | WSOP 2008 Tournaments

$50K H.O.R.S.E. Preview – Ready to Saddle Up

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Prestige. Talent. Excitement. Real Poker. The Best of the Best.

When talking about the $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. (hold’em, Omaha/8, razz, stud, stud/8) tournament at the World Series of Poker, words that reflect the highest caliber and most successful of players come to mind. It is the most celebrated tournament of the poker season, and as the WSOP gears up to host it for the third year, the thrill of it all is just around the corner.

The event begins in less than 24 hours – at 5pm on Wednesday, June 25th. In an attempt to gauge how many players would participate in this year’s tournament, numerous Harrah’s suits were asked but remained very uncommitted to any predictions. Seth Palansky, Harrah’s Communication Director, went as far as to say that pre-registration was up, but that means little in truth. He was also careful to say that he was unsure if the number of registrants would rise this year. History dictates that it will, as 143 players entered in its inaugural year and 148 played in 2007, but the imagined graph from those two numbers does not a prediction make.

On the positive side, the game of H.O.R.S.E. – all mixed games, in fact – has grown significantly in popularity as players realize that diversification is the key to long-term success in poker. More players have honed their skills in all of the games, and as the experience factor increases, the limits that are played increase as well. More high-limit mixed games are in casinos all over the world. It is only natural that players, as they see the prestige and financial opportunity that come from winning the $50K H.O.R.S.E. event, would want to play. And do whatever it takes to play.

Conversely, times are tough. The economy is suffering, and while many high-stakes poker players are generally not affected by the same problems as middle-America, the sagging economy has caused some of the more lucrative cash games to dry up – or at least shrink in size and frequency. And those who do not normally play at the highest of stakes but have solid bankrolls and skills might be tempted to play but decide against it in an effort to save money where possible.

The $2,250 mega satellites that have been running at the Rio have been drawing a great many players, including some of the big names in the game like Barry Greenstein and Dewey Tomko. Some might say that it’s natural to want to get into a $50K buy-in event on the cheap, but others might say that the popularity of the satellites are a barometer of poker players hitting hard times.

None of this will be known for sure until the players buy in near the tournament’s start time. What is certain is that the final tables of the last two years are indicators of the regard given to those who can compete with the likes of champions Chip Reese and Freddy Deeb. No doubt, anyone who can possibly figure a way in will do so.

The 2008 $50K H.O.R.S.E. will begin at 5pm PST on June 24th at the Rio in Las Vegas. All players will begin with 100,000 in tournament chips, and the five games included in the event will be played as limit games, changing every eight hands throughout the 90-minute levels. There will be five days of play, culminating in the final table on Day 5 at a time to be announced upon the completion of Day 4.

2006 Results:

1st place: David “Chip” Reese* - $1,784,640
2nd place: Andy Bloch - $1,029,600
3rd place: Phil Ivey - $617,760
4th place: Jim Becktel - $549,120
5th place: T.J. Cloutier - $480,480
6th place: David Singer - $411,840
7th place: Dewey Tomko - $343,200
8th place: Doyle Brunson - $274,560
9th place: Patrik Antonius - $205,920

In memory of the December 4, 2007 untimely passing of Chip Reese, the 2008 trophy will be named in his honor.

2007 Results:

1st place: Freddy Deeb - $2,276,832
2nd place: Bruno Fitoussi - $1,278,720
3rd place: John Hanson - $852,480
4th place: Amnon Filippi - $586,080
5th place: Kenny Tran - $444,000
6th place: David Singer - $337,440
7th place: Barry Greenstein - $259,296
8th place: Thor Hansen - $188,256
9th place: Gabe Kaplan - $131,424

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