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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 Two WSOP - The Day of Steal
Day Two at the World Series of Poker is the Day of Steal. With half the field gone, your table on the second day is bound to be tougher than the first. Gone is the easy money, where people give you maximum value on your good hands. It's the hands where nobody has nothing that become deadly important as the blinds go up and antes are introduced and the pot's worth winning before the cards are dealt, and the players who succeed know about the steal. That raise before the flop that looks like it says, "Hey, I got a good hand," But often as not what it's really saying is, "Get out the pot and give me the money." And it's the cool jacks, the face freezers who can keep their features hard while their insides are quaking, it's the ones who can build their stack regardless of their cards, it's these guys who are making the moves on Day Two.

Like Danny Negreanu. They should call him Hockey Dan, the guy's got more hockey uniforms than an NHL journeyman. Yesterday he was head to toe a Detroit Redwing, one big puddle of a candy cane with an ever-present smile. They had the kid on his face, down to about four thousand early in the day, scribes ready to chalk up his imminent departure. But nobody had told Danny. Nobody told him that he wasn't supposed to be the World Champion of Poker this year and so bing bang he gets the fire in his stomach and puts away the fear and runs his stack up to seventy thousand in no time at all. And I believe if you ask him the secret to his success, he might have to tell you, "Hey, man, I'm on the steal."

Phil Hellmuth. What can you say. As long as he's still in the tournament, everybody knows who the favorite is. They had him in trouble since the second hour of Day One, and he'd been scratching to stay alive up until yesterday's dinner break. And then he turned on the overdrive. Glazer and I watching him play one pot which he wins with a big raise on the flop, and I turn around to Andy and say, "Ut-oh." He's thinking the exact same thing, the monster is loose. Phil Hellmuth not only now has $50,000 in chips in front of him, he's seven levels in front of the field and wearing his thinking cap at all times. Watch out.

The Europeans don't have a lot of horses left, but they're sticking with some of their biggest guns. I seen Chris Bjorin short-stacked all day, sitting on the left of the one they call Spatz, good guy Mickey Appleman. Spatz had a ton of chips, but I leave them for a half hour and when I give another look-see to the table it's Appleman on the short stack and Chris Bjorin holding onto $70,000. I sure would have liked to see that go down.

The Hendon Mob is living and dying with Barney Boatman, but he can handle the pressure. Barney's looking to improve on his sixteenth place performance from last year, and who's to say he can't do it. Barney knows a little bit about the steal, but if last year was any indication, it's Day Three that'll be move day for the Hendon Mob. Barney spent most of the day sitting on the right of Dave Colclough, another solid British hope with chips and a chair. Colclough has said he's been having a miserable trip so far, but he's calm and cool, with a laugh and a baseball cap. And I love his game.

The one I like to call the best British tournament player in the game is still in, but he better get a move on before his stack gets eaten. Surinder Sunar spent most of the day with less than $5,000 in front of him until a small late move pumped him to about sixteen grand. Unfortunately, that'll still leave him as one of the shortest stacks in the tournament, making the first two hours crucial for him.

The Irish are always fighting, and though their contingent has been reduced to three runners, they have every chance of taking the big prize. Between Mike Magee, Padraig Parkinson, and John Walsh, it'll be business as usual on Day Three.

Me. Chopped off my own feet I did, once on the flop and once on the turn. Not only did I run my last money for a bluff against a man who couldn't possibly fold, I done it two times in the same hand. Going from the tournament to the rail is like going from being a respected surgeon to someone in desperate need of a doctor.

But that's poker, and that's the way it goes. I tell my buddy Kaplan that I played my last hand bad, and he says, "Well, you know, that's usually the case. Most people play their last hand bad. If you hadn't played your last hand bad, you'd still be in the tournament." Funny, but true. That's what you gotta know about poker, and that's why a poker champion deserves respect. You can play your A-game for fifteen straight hours, but you make one three second brain freeze and you're dead as a doornail. It ain't like in baseball, where they give you an E4 and send you back to the plate the next inning. There's only two places for people who make mistakes in poker, any mistakes at all. There's the rail, and there's the luck box. And unfortunately, all luck boxes eventually lead to the rail.
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 three tables, 27 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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