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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | The Works

HORSEing Around – More From Day 27 Of The WSOP

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Outside of the Main Event, the 50K H.O.R.S.E. event is without exception the biggest tournament at the WSOP. There is more media here... the press rows are filled for the first time the entire time we've been here. There is more security monitoring the tournament area to make sure no stray spectators get in and that nothing goes wrong. There have to be at least 20-30 photographers here ready to take photos. The railbirds have gathered early to try and get a glimpse of their favorite poker players and Jeffrey Pollack is even here. Pollack makes a few announcements, one of them being that there is now a trophy titled the Chip Reese Trophy in memory of the late poker great. This trophy will be like the Stanley Cup, with the winner getting to keep it a year before passing it on to the next winner. After a moment of silence for Reese, last year’s winner Freddy Deeb kicks off the tournament.

Phil Hellmuth decided to show up on time for this one. It doesn't take long for him to start getting into a raising war with an unknown player with bottom pair and a flush draw. None of Hellmuth's outs arrive and he loses the pot. A few hands later, Hellmuth loses another pot to the same guy. By the time the end of the Hold Em session is nearing, Hellmuth has lost a big chunk of his stack to this guy and is complaining to Mike Sexton across the table that this guy “is playing hands he shouldn't be playing and winning.”

One of Hellmuth's table mates takes a crack at Hellmuth by saying, “How great would it be if Hellmuth busted out of the first round of the 50K H.O.R.S.E. event playing Hold' Em?”

Hellmuth didn't say anything, but if a look could kill.

Over in one corner, Scotty Nguyen gives away his energy drink to a fan and wants to be fair in giving away his free coffee cup. He grabs three cards from the deck as a floor person looks on in horror and hands the three cards to spectators. The spectator with the highest card won the cup and Nguyen returned the cards to the floor person who inspected them as if they were his long lost children that he had not seen in 20 years.

The cups are a topic of conversation. One player jokes, “I played the 50K H.O.R.S.E. tournament and all I got was this lousy cup.”

Lyle Berman arrives late and gives away his energy drink to a fan. The fan asks him to give him his cup and Lyle says, “No, I like the cup,” and proceeds to put the cup in his bag. Even millionaires appreciate freebies.

Before the tournament started, players scurried around looking for people to make bets with. Ivey was doing his usual, Doyle had a sheet of paper and was taking bets from all comers, and Mike Matusow was making 10K last longer bets with a couple of players. I am starting to think that players wager more in side bets on these tournaments than the actual entry fees.

I wonder how some of the players playing in this event have managed to get 50K. I won't say any names, but there are some players I see in this field and I shake my head in amazement that they are playing in this event. Then you have players like Joe Hachem, who according to Greg Raymer, could have played in this event for nothing as PokerStars would have paid his entry. Hachem, Raymer explained, is not proficient at the Stud games and didn't want to make a fool out of himself. It's refreshing that in a time where so many people are filled with greed, that Hachem realized he was probably just dead money and did the right thing by not playing.

6:45 p.m.

The rebuy event started with over 800 players and were spread out between two different rooms. They are now down to under 350 players and have consolidated into the main area of the Amazon Room. A player asked Humberto how much he would sell his shark for and Humberto told him 50K so that he could go play the H.O.R.S.E. event. If Humberto sells it for 50K, I'm running to every toy shark store I can find and am buying thousands of them.

Players are returning from break for the H.O.R.S.E. tournament and fans are lining the hallways trying to get photos of the players and/or autographs. Some players oblige, others rush through to try and get to their table.

7:30 p.m.


Overheard coming back from dinner: Clonie Gowen to a shorts and cowboy hat wearing Hoyt Corkins... “You have some sexy legs there Hoyt.”

Patrik Antonius showed up at the beginning of the 2nd level, his laptop by his side. For a minute, I thought he was going to start it up and play Internet poker while playing in this event, but he put it beside his chair. Antonius was telling Matusow about the crazy cash game session he had last night and how he didn't go to bed until the sun had risen. Matusow said he had been watching part of the session and saw Antonius lose a 450K pot but Antonius said he had gotten it back before it was all over. It's almost comical the way some poker players toss out numbers like $450,000 as if it is a ten dollar bill.

8:35 p.m.

Over at the $1,000 NLHE with rebuys event, Tony Cousineau has a tiny picture sitting in front of him. A player sitting next to him asked who that was and Tony told him, “Farzad Rouhani.”

“Why do you have a picture of Farzad Rouhani,” his table mate asked.

“Well, let's just say I was playing with him in a tournament and he was very complimentary and kind to everyone,” Cousineau responded, obviously being sarcastic.

I joined in the conversation, knowing Rouhani's reputation somewhat, and said, “it's good to have people you can look up to.”

Cousineau laughed and added, “Yea, everyone needs a role model.”

We joked around for a little about how ESPN could do a player profile and he could hold up the picture and say “Here's my son, he won a bracelet this year, and I'm so proud of him.”

It looks like this year’s H.O.R.S.E. event won't top 150, it's at 147 with about one hour and five minutes left to register. They will take registrations through the dinner break. I wonder what the pros do with an hour dinner break. Part of me wants to go follow them and find out but I'm much too lazy to do that. I went through the entire tournament area and I counted 38 players that I did not recognize or know. I even asked some other media members to help me out and they were about as clueless as I was. These unknown players probably won their way in through an online satellite or are just filthy rich. Oh to have that problem.

A very interesting story before I wrap things up for the day. An anonymous employee of the WSOP pulled me aside and told me that they have had to pull three decks out of play in the H.O.R.S.E. because a player had marked them. This person is someone that would have no reason to tell me this and if anyone would know about it happening, he would be it. He told me the usual method is a fingernail scuff on an ace. Understandably, he wouldn't tell me any potential names but he did say that each incident took place at tables containing some old timers and that they would be the most likely suspects. One thing he did say was that if Eskimo Clark is playing in an event they almost always have to go check the deck at his table. Eskimo isn't playing the H.O.R.S.E., however, so he's innocent here.

Cheating at the biggest buy in event at the WSOP -- oh the drama! Much more exciting than watching limit poker with people having almost 200 big blinds. That's all I have for now, come back tomorrow for more exciting WSOP action.

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