Gambling Related Essays and Reports by Andrew W Scott

World Series of Poker Main Event... Report number 2

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Sunday July 8th 2007

Day 1B: Saturday 7 July
1,545 people started day 1B at 12 noon Las Vegas time, and again play ended around 4am the next morning, with only 587 players left alive. Once again players were thankful that all play was in the air-conditioned Amazon room.

The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon played today, and was still alive with $44,400 in chips at the end of the day. An amazing story of the day was that of blind player Jason Holbrook. He has a female assistant who whispers in his ear what his cards are and provides a commentary as every hand (including the hands he is not involved in) unfolds. Holbrook sits with his head down on the table, a picture of total concentration. High stakes tournament poker is tough at the best of times, but to play blind is an extraordinary feat. Sadly Jason did not make it through the day, but he certainly won the admiration of all who watched him.

With fields this huge, there are bound to be extraordinary poker hands. Take this one: an unknown player holding a pair of 8s must have felt confident when the board came 8s Jh 8h, giving him four of a kind, an absolute monster hand. Unfortunately he ran into Gene Strickland who was holding 9h Th, and when the fourth and fifth board cards came 7h 3c, Strickland made a straight flush. As any poker player will tell you a straight flush beats four of a kind, but losing with four of a kind in poker is akin in the luck stakes to being hit on the head by a meteorite.

How’s this for another incredible hand: four players hold Ad Ac, Ah As, Kc Ks and Th Ts respectively. The board comes 5d 7c 6h 4s 3h and they split the pot up four ways, all sharing the straight on the board. Seeing a pair of Aces against another pair of Aces is strange enough, but with pocket Kings and pocket tens as well? And then the board comes with a made straight???? That must be odds of millions to one.

Australia’s own 2005 champion Joe Hachem played on day 1B, on the ESPN feature TV table. It was a tough day for Joe, but he is still alive having turned his $20,000 starting stack into $35,300 in tournament chips. He survived a very scary moment when his Ace-King was up against a pair of Aces, but the flop came 10-Jack-Queen giving him a very lucky straight.

Aussies Gary Benson and Sam Khouiss also played on day 1B. Benson struggled for most of the day, getting up to $55,000, dropping back to a mere $8,000, but managing to finish the day with a respectable $41,900. I watched Gary for over an hour, he was clearly frustrated but played his usual strong and tight game. I also watched Sam for a while, and his standard endless patter was in overdrive. One hand he announced to his opponent "I am miles ahead of you here", but then his opponent raised him, and Sam reluctantly folded. It was a great fold because both players graciously showed each other their cards after the hand and Sam would have lost had he called the raise.

1998 champion Scotty Nguyen and the lovely Evelyn Ng were playing on the second TV table. They both survived the day with $129,000 and $70,800 in tournament chips respectively. Other big names still alive include 1995 champion Dan Harrington. 1988 runner up Erik Seidel has been eliminated.

Chips stacks at the end of day 1B:

1st Dag Martin Mikkelsen $236,000
2nd Jeff Banghart $186,200
3rd Albert Strickland $180,700
4th George Dunst $168,900
5th Lewis Pilkington $166,000

Some Australians still alive that played on day 1B:

87th Sam Khouiss $88,900
312th Gary Benson $41,900
369th Joe Hachem $35,300



© 2007 Andrew W Scott




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