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Danger : Rude words here
World Series Of Poker
 Jesse May Reports
May 14th - 18th, 2001

Day Zero - Day One - Day Two - Day Three - Day Four - Day Five - Final plays -  Explain it all
Jesse May in
Las Vegas
Day Five WSOP - Day of YEAH!
There were still seven players left in the 2001 World Series of Poker when Irishman Aidan Bennet leaned over to me. "If the book was still open," he said, "I'd bet my fucking bollocks on Carlos. I mean, how obvious does it have to be?"

He was right, of course. But he was really right, because about two minutes after that, a hand was played that put the exclamation point on the whole tournament, and I proceeded to go down to the Bellagio and get drunk. It was that obvious.

Carlos Mortensen is sitting there on top of over a million in chips, wearing a fishing cap. He's got a smile on his face and he's sitting up there high and comfortable, and I swear to God the bright lights might as well have been the sun shining down, because he's as cool as a cat can be.

The action gets folded around to him, one off the button, and he snakes his hand out and thwunks down one hundred thousand dollars, three little stacks of three plus one chip, dropped on top. Raise.

The small round headed Stan Schrier barely looks at his cards before tossing them in. He's been barely looking at his cards since they sat down, terrified that he'll accidentally see something and maybe have to play a hand.

Mike Matuso is next. Since the final table started, he's let more people than he needed to know how good he plays. He's been up at the rail and out in the audience, and in thirty conversations with Phil Hellmuth about how he said she said on the reraise of the last hand. Matuso has seven hundred thousand in chips in front of him and as he sticks in the hundred thousand he calls out, "Raise!" And with two hands behind half of his stack he sticks in a three hundred thousand dollar raise, a stack and a half of ten thousand dollar chips.

I'm watching Carlos, of course. I'm watching him because as Phil Hellmuth folds the big blind and the action comes back around, in the seven seconds since Matuso raised him three hundred thousand dollars, in those seven seconds his expression only changed a teeny bit, to a look of mild bemusement. Like when a slow fly is buzzing around your head, and all you need to do is reach out and whack it. If you care to take the trouble and lift your arm.

And that's exactly what happened next. Carlos took one cool as a fucking cucumber look through Mike Matuso and flicked his wrist twice, like shoo fly shoo. To the dealer he said in a soft unhurried voice with his lilting Spanish accent, "All in, All in…"

Matuso didn't even think. His cards couldn't have sailed in the muck any faster if Carlos had hooked them and reeled them. It was complete and instinctual panic, a complete reaction. And as Matuso's hand flips up while they're sailing in, we see the ace-queen he's just folded.

And then Carlos Mortensen scared the six remaining players back to the Stone Age. With the possible exception of Dewey Tomko, who was in a different place anyway only looking to win the World Series of Poker to cap what has already been achievements for a lifetime, Carlos Mortensen had the remaining players lining up to get off that table, he had them bursting into tears in relief when they finally got busted out, they were so happy to get out from the glare. He stood up and flipped over his hand for all to see, the queen-eight of clubs, a total bluff. And then he stood up and put two fists in the air above his head and looked at the whole table and said, "YEAH!!" And then he turned around to the audience and he said, "YEAH!!" And brother when the video comes out, you'll see what I mean. Because it was that obvious who had the balls that day. It was that fucking obvious.

You'll have trouble finding someone who's as complimentary about Phil Hellmuth's tournament talent as me. I've said Phil's the best and I'll stick by that statement, and when Phil's in the zone he's like watching poetry and every move he makes he says, "I'm sure," and he is. But he wasn't sure on Friday. At the final table of the World Series of Poker, there was a guy who looked like Phil Hellmuth, but he was sweaty and scared, and when the action was on him he was sitting there and trying to decide which way to go. And there was no way that the guy who showed up on Friday claiming to be Phil Hellmuth was gonna win the 2001 World Series of Poker. You could have bet your bollocks on it.

As I said, I then proceeded to go down to the Bellagio and get drunk. And by the time the word filtered down that Carlos Mortensen was the 2001 World Series of Poker Champion, we were all deep in conversation about something else.

Editor's Note : The english word "bollocks" would translate directly as "balls" in US slang..
World Championship Reports - World Series Reports

The World Championship - explained
Jesse is reporting on The World Championship which runs 14th - 18th May. Its the last of a month long series of poker tournaments that are known collectively as the World Series of Poker. The buy-in, or amount of money each player has to pay to play, is $10,000. Last year there were 512 players which produced a prizepool of $5,120,000 and 1st prize of $1,500,000. This year there are 613 players, 12 short of the number required to get a $2,000,000 1st prize. Second prize here is in fact the fourth biggest prize in history.

The game these top players are playing is Texas Holdem and the betting rules are defined as No-Limit. This means that when its a players turn to bet, they may bet anything that they have infront of them. It is also a freezeout tournament, which means to say that when all of a players chips are gone, they are out of the event. Until next year.

On each of the five days, players are slowly knocked out of the tournament and the numbers gradually reduce. The fourth day will see the final five tables, 45 players, play on until there are only nine left. These players will be those that make up the final table to play to a finish on the fifth and final day. The last person standing will be the new World Champion. In thirty years three people have successfully defended their world title. Doyle Brunson '76&'77, Stu Ungar '80&'81 and Johnny Chan in '87&'88.
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