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World Series Of Poker
2004
 Jesse May Reports
LAS VEGAS
April 23rd - May 28th, 2004

Jesse May Reports : Champ D6 - Champ D5 - Champ D3 - Champ D2 - Champ D1 - T - 1 - T - 2 - T - 3 (II) - T - 3 (I) - T - 4 - T - 7 - Day 13 - D 12 - D 11 - D 10 - Return (9) - D 4 - D 3 - D 2 - Carborundum
Championship : The First 6 Days - The Final - Places & Prizes
Picture Series : Winners - Ted Forest - $5000 Holdem - John Hennigan - 2 to 7 Draw - A-Z Player List - The Final
 
Jesse May in
Las Vegas
Day Ten

Harrah’s Horseshoe, the cash game area, late evening. Three guys are sitting at a table on which there are no chips, just large stacks of bills. Actually, there are four guys sitting and two standing, because one of the players has a partner and the other two have roving kibitzers. There’s a Texan, an east coast millionaire, and an Oriental. They’re playing Chinese poker into sums. They’ve dispensed with the chips, one deck is shuffled while the other is in play, and hundred dollar bills are flying everywhere. After a particularly good hand the Texan says, “well, we’re all just here to have a little fun, right?” Yeah, right.

Just to show how important form is, Cyndi violette won her first WSOP bracelet last night after two hard days of play plus a four hour head up marathon. It’s now bubble time in the tournament on the next day, the HORSE event, with twenty-one players left paying sixteen, and here she is again. She must be exhausted. Cyndi must be running all day one hundred percent on adrenalin and now the hours are slowly sinking in, but its 11pm and with twenty-one players left she’s not far off from the chip lead. But she must be tired, understandably so, and when the railbirds are talking a little too loud she’s annoyed. And just to show how important form is, if she had come in second last night she would have been done today by two pm. Well, anybody would have.

The HORSE tournament is not for everyone. Just the stalwarts of the poker scene. Best all around players. Guys with no real weaknesses. People who know how to play Razz, which quickly eliminates everyone who wasn’t in action when the Stardust was still the main poker room in town, and everyone under the age of thirty-five. The players left all fit the bill, it’s a who’s who of the staid and steady, guys like Artie Cobb, “Syracuse” Chris Tsipiralidis, Men the Master for sure and Chris Gregarian. Even 1985 world champion Berry Johnson was at the valet as I was walking in, he was just knocked out.

The game moves slow. The game moves slow and the rail’s a bit dead and the most interested players are the short stacks, because they’ve played ten and one half hours and they’re liable to get nothing, Hendon Mobster Joe Beevers is hanging on for dear life, he’s finished less than one table ffrom the money twice this week and would dearly love a payout. But he’s down to two big bets, a momma and a poppa, and he’s hunched over his small stack and saying, not again. Oh no not again. But the lord moves in mysterious ways.

Ken Flaton and Chris Bjorin are in the room on the rail, sharing a laugh. How many years those two have been on the poker circuit is the history of the game. I’d love to know the first time they met. Flaton, or “Skyhawk” as they call him, was on that fabled first trip to the Isle of Man in 1982, when the American poker players chartered a plane and flew off to Europe for the first major poker tournament on foreign shores. Reigning world champion Tom McEvoy was there, along with Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson, and Amarillo Slim. Who won that tournament on the Isle of Man, the first annual Irish Open? It was Irishman Liam Flood. But the trivia question to top them all; who did Liam Flood beat in a hard fought final, who was second? It was none other than Gabe Kaplan. Poker’s been around, and as one guy at this HORSE table exclaimed after looking around, “All old timers here, man. All old timers.”

On the other side of the room it’s the second day in a row that reigning world champion Chris Moneymaker is in the second chance tournament, those $225 affairs that start each evening at 10:45 pm. Moneymaker’s got an orange Titleist baseball cap, mirrored black sunglasses, a new job with Harrahs and a Bud Light. ‘I’m drunk,” he says, “having fun.” His tongue is acerbic, he’s not making friends, but then does he have to? Chris is sitting in the three seat and Paul Magriel sits down in the one seat, chewing his tongue. This should be fun. This could be one of those great moments in poker history. Reigning world champion Chris Moneymaker takes on Paul Magriel. Magriel the maniac. Magriel the Frenchman, who was once known as the best backgammon player in the world but is now known far and wide as a complete lunatic, “X-22”, insane. Magriel raises his first hand at the table and Moneymaker calls. “I know how you play,” says Moneymaker. “I’ve seen you on TV.” Magriel shrugs and chews on his tongue. They check the hand down and Moneymaker wins with ace high. Magriel raises three out of the next four pots and busts two players, both while he is holding ace-queen. One player had pocket aces and the other ace-king. Moneymaker is giving him beef, a collision course from hell. Then the table breaks. Ah, well.

Jesse May Reports : Champ D6 - Champ D5 - Champ D3 - Champ D2 - Champ D1 - T - 1 - T - 2 - T - 3 (II) - T - 3 (I) - T - 4 - T - 7 - Day 13 - D 12 - D 11 - D 10 - Return (9) - D 4 - D 3 - D 2 - Carborundum
Championship : The First 6 Days - The Final - Places & Prizes
Picture Series : Winners - Ted Forest - $5000 Holdem - John Hennigan - 2 to 7 Draw - A-Z Player List - The Final
 
 
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