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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 Four WSOP - The Day of Mute Incomprehension
I'm not the only one that spent Day Four of the World Series of Poker in the throes of mute incomprehension. My first memory is of opening my eyes from no sleep to see my roommate JC staring at my mangled face. "What time is it?" I asked him.

"Eight o'clock," he said.

"Day or night?" And I had absolutely no idea at all. Because it catches up to you. First your stamina runs out, then your second wind leaves you, and then your body goes into a state of shock, good for twenty-four hours extra. But sooner or later it all catches up to you, and then you find yourself in the throes of mute incomprehension.

The problem is if you're one of the forty-five players left in the 2001 World Series of Poker. It's no time to be tired, and it's no time to forget where you're at. You're in with the chance to be the poker champion of the world, so you better have all your faculties intact. And just because you made the money doesn't mean it's over. For the champions, the fight is just starting.

But mute incomprehension could be seen all over the room on Day Four, and it wasn't just because my eyes were bleary. With only minor prize changes from forty-fifth place to fifteenth, players were lining up in an eager queue to get their chips in for a gamble, with the logic being that you were going to have to get lucky to get to the final table. When the smoke finally cleared about ten pm, we were left with the nine players with the coolest heads and the most game. Interestingly enough, the top four chip leaders at the beginning of Day Four have all made the final table, an indication that the players who are getting the chips are the kind of people who have no plans of giving them up any time soon. And when you look at the makeup of the final nine, one of whom is going to be $1.5 million richer come Friday evening, the common quality I see is "tude", attitude. The attitude that has the big picture all locked up and comprehends the magnitude of the prize, the attitude of a champion.

Hellmuth, Matusow, Diaz, and Henry Nugget strike me from the same mold, so full of confidence that it bursts out of them. Not exactly humble, but that's their game, and it makes them play better. Steve Riehle is revelling in the role as the unknown bumpkin, a country boy in the spitting image of Catfish Hunter who drawls slow and plays himself down. Don't be fooled, several people said to me, I don't where that guy comes from or who he is, but he's got game. A whole big bunch of it.

Dewey Tomko is the old timer, a lifetime of experience in the big games and now he's close to the prize that's always eluded him. And Stan Schrier, a wild card, a successful poker grinder who's on the big stage now, with a chance to show his wares. Exciting? I'll be there with bells on.

For the final three I'm thinking Hellmuth because of talent, and Riehle and Mortensen because they have the hardest looks on their faces. But at the end of the day it's all about desire, and I think tomorrow's champion is gonna win this thing through sheer force of will. Deal.

Editor's Note : Dewey Tomko is the man in fourth spot for all time finishing in the money in the World Series Of Poker.
World Series Reports - World Championship 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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