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World Series Of Poker
 Jesse May Reports
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Current World Series
May 14 - 18th, 2001

Day Zero - Day One - Day Two - Day Three - Day Four - Day Five - Final plays -  Explain it all
Jesse May in
Las Vegas
WSOP Day Zero - The smell of Fear
If Saturday at the World Series of Poker is the smell of fear, then Sunday is the day of naked panic. With less than 24 hours to go before the start of the 2001 World Championship, you know that this one is gonna be special. You know that they're getting the 650 players necessary to push the first prize to an unprecedented $2,000,000. And you know that every self respecting poker player in the world, hell any guy who's ever held two cards and a toothpick, will sell their soul if necessary to raise the $10,000 dollars needed to get in that main event. How can you know all this? Because fear is turning into naked panic.

There's a million ways to get in the World Series, and over the last two weeks folks have tried them all. There's the $200 Super Satellites, the $500 two table events, and the $1000 one table tourneys, winners of which will all get the $10,000 buy-in. There's a chance to find a stake horse, someone with money to spare who believes in your game enough to put you in for a percentage. And when all else fails, there'll be plenty of people digging down deep and putting up the whole caboodle in cash, because for a poker player there's only one no no. And that's to be drawing dead, out of action.

But ten grand is a lot of money, and after two weeks of knock down, drag out, nail biting poker, there's some players who are running bad, down on their luck mannequins who are becoming pasty faced in their quiet desperation to get in that main event. And when you see it, when you see guys down to their last twelve hours of clock ticking hope, that last satellite seat, a fellow to come through with a loan, anything, that's when you see fear turning into naked panic.

Don't think miracles can't happen. Padraig Parkinson was sleeping in his room at twelve noon on the Monday of the 1999 World Series of Poker, with no plans to play at all. He was done for the trip when his partner Scott Rogers picked up the room phone to find himself talking to fellow Irishman George McKeever, who was in no mood for mincing words. "Wake Padraig up and get him down here," George said, "I'm putting him in." Padraig Parkinson was the last player in the 396 man field, and four days later he was staring at third place and $360,000 in prize money. From sleeping in his room.

The Devilfish is stroking those cards. They're playing short handed pot limit Omaha yesterday, the lineup roughly featuring four of the top six or seven cash Omaha players in the world and The Devil a bit short stacked and glossy eyed. I turn my back for two minutes and all of the sudden the game's broke up, because Devilfish just went from stuck city to owning every chip on the table, he busted the lot in one hand. Minutes later he comes over whistling. "Did you see that pot, boys? Sixty thousand. They asked me if I wanted to deal it once or twice, and I said, 'Once mate.' And bang, there it was." The opinion is becoming kind of unanimous. When the top Omaha players in the world sit down to play, Dave "Devilfish" Ulliot is lord and master.

The Hendon mob made their first money, Ram Vaswani squeezing into the twelth spot of the $3000 No limit Hold'em event for about a $13,000 payout. Ram however, was in no mood to celebrate his fine play. "It was a shot for large, man, a shot for large." Ram knows he can play with anybody and when he gets a whiff of the big money, then that's what he's going for. Erik Seidel won the event with the flourish of a great champion, but Ram didn't go quietly.

They broke the mold when they made Joe Beevers. To look at the man, confident, focused, and ready to play, you'd never guess that he lost a $19,000 pot in a Hold'em cash game when his opponent hit an 8-1 shot on the river. Joe played the hand perfectly, he knows it, and he deserved the money. But poker ain't always fair, and the way Joe has shaken the loss off and readied himself for the big boy shows that he's a poker player through and through. Solid steel.

Anyone who questions the skill factor of poker need only look at the list of bracelet winners so far at the 2001 WSOP. Hellmuth, Ferguson, Seidel, Nguyen, Johnson, Lederer, and Heimowitz, among others. The cream's been rising but that doesn't stop others from trying, young guns without fear who put up their money and take their chances. What a game.

Layne Flack is known to be a bit reckless, sort of like a runaway freight train falling from the sky. They get down to two tables in one of the no limit Hold'em events and Layne is the chip leader, with about $140,000. And Layne is dead drunk. A man under the gun raises the pot to $19,000, and the action's on Layne. He's slouched down his chair with his sunglasses on and his collar up, and it looks like he's got a tough decision as he stares intently towards his cards, unmoving. They're playing for over a half million in prize money, so the tension's pretty thick as the players wait for Layne to make his decision, and when he still hasn't acted after five minutes, one strong soul clears his throat and asks that they put the clock on Layne. The floorman taps Layne on the shoulder and Layne jumps up, and it becomes clear that the man had fallen asleep in his seat, a dead drunk pass out while chip leader in a World Series of Poker Event. Layne jumps out of dreamland, shakes his head one time, and looks at his cards. He thinks for maybe half a second and then pushes all his chips to the center of the table. "All in!" He says.

The action goes fold, fold, fold, all the way back around to the original raiser, the man who made it $19,000 under the gun six minutes ago and is now staring at a $120,000 raise. He thinks, he thinks, he thinks and thinks, and finally turns up the two red jacks and tosses them in. "I fold," He says, prudently putting Layne on a much bigger pair. "Yeah," says Layne, and he too throws up his cards for all to see. Don't worry. It was the eight-three off suit.
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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