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World Series Of Poker
 Jesse May Reports
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
Championship Day 6

All you can do is play. And the look on Marcel Luske’s face when he left the room tenth last night at the World Series of Poker, Marcel’s countenance exemplified the frustrating, mysterious, and yet wonderful nature of the game of poker.

Poker is a game of incomplete information. In the future we’ll probably know more and there’s always the tendency to think we know everything, but poker is a game of incomplete information, and most of us spend our time trying to muddle around and just pass judgment. How did Marcel play? Don’t know. I can tell you that he left everything on that table. Everything he had. When he finally exited the tournament area it all came crumbling down; everything except the shards of his gentlemanly bearing, the knowledge that he tried his best, and the burning desire he had to win the World Series of Poker.

Marcel will spend long nights reliving his six day ride of glory and hell. He’ll wonder what he could have done different, and whether he should have checked or folded. We’ll wonder what would have happened if another sat in his seat, and where were the differences between luck and skill. We stare at the nine players remaining in shock and awe and try to decide what they represent. This 2004 World Series of Poker has made some players mad, some furious, and many confused. Has this been a test of ultimate skill and stamina, or a cruel hoax outing the game we love?

It’s hard to say. We need to know more. Poker will be bigger, and one day you’ll sit on the Internet, and while watching a poker tournament you’ll know every stat. Every card every player was dealt, every time they raised or folded, and how many times that they connected with the flop. Statistical categories will be created that go well beyond most money won, and geeks will pore through the data and write new theories. Maybe we’ll see that Dan Harrington is leading all players in never playing out of position, or the free card on the turn. Maybe Matt Dean hit 85% of his 50-50 confrontations, and maybe Greg Raymer won a total of $12,400,000 with the worst hand after a raise on the flop. It’s hard to say, and right now we all just stare at the nine players left and wonder where they caught lightning in a bottle, and what would have happened to me if I was sitting in that seat?

Televised poker has made the game exciting, but we hunger for more. ESPN will show us the hole cards, but who chooses the hands? I want a list of every hand dealt at the final table. I want to see Sklansky’s groups 1-10 broken down by player, I want to know who bets the highest percentage of his stack, I want to know exactly how many times each player has been all-in. And even then it won’t be enough. Even then I’ll still be peering through a fog, and trying a muddle about luck and skill.

Poker is a game of incomplete information, and like Nick the Greek said and probably knew best, “The next best thing to playing and winning is playing and losing. The main thing is to play.” All you can do is play. Just play your heart out.

Nine are left in the 2004 World Series of Poker: Here’s some of what I know about the nine who are left, which frankly isn’t much. I imagine that’ll change.

Greg Raymer: “Fossilman.” At ten minutes to one before the final table started, Raymer was standing outside the tournament area sorting out seating tickets for friends and family, wearing Mardi Gras beads and drinking one of those supersize drinks in the giant plastic cup.

Matt Dean: Came from near worst to first on Day 6. That worries me. He woke up Thursday morning expecting $120,000 at best and now he’s got a whole load of guys telling him he’s worth 3.5 million. I’m thinking he had the hardest time getting to sleep. It’s a recipe for a freeze up and settle to a fourth place finish.

Josh Arieh: This is embarrassing. I’m still not sure which one is him and which one is Michael McClain.

Glenn Hughes: The first hand after the dinner break, Marcel opens the pot for 200,000 and Glenn Hughes comes all-in over the top. Hughes has got owl eyes behind big round spectacles and a red shirt, and he either got a good night’s Wednesday sleep or has done a long line of coke because his eyes are wide and moving. Marcel thinks for a long long time and sits back in his chair but it doesn’t look like he’s calling. Nobody’s calling the first hand all-in when they want to make the final table. Marcel folds. Hughes flashes an ace as he folds, swinging his cards in a big wide arc to the muck. David Williams asks for a decision, show one show both? The floorman is called over and the hand is exposed from the muck. Ace-four offsuit. So that’s Glenn Hughes.

Dan Harrington: I’ve heard a great story about Dan Harrington, told long ago, and without much detail. All I can tell you is that when Harrington reached the final table of the 1995 World Series of Poker, he was widely regarded as a rock. I knew him in ’93 and ’94, when he played in the big game in Atlantic City, and everyone knew him as the best game chooser in three states, a protege of Ray Zee, and a rock.

Now the story goes, that he was generally dismissed when finally reaching the final table as way to conservative to win. And somewhere during the beginning of this final table, Dan Harrington played a hand, and I don’t know the details but suffice it to say it was a jack-six or something like that and he played it in such a way that when it was flipped over at the end, the other five players on the table were so scared and shocked by the hand, that after that Dan Harrington ran them over like creamed corn.

Remember this. Dan Harrington is not a rock. Dan Harrington is a man who looks like a rock, and that is all, and he’s been playing the hell out of that image for his entire poker career, right down to the T-shirt, tan slacks, and brand new baseball cap.

David Williams: Doesn’t play a lot of pots. Looks like David Blaine.

Al Krux: When Al Krux goes all-in in a pot the worry lines crease up on his forehead, about six lines up and down, but besides the lines creasing down he doesn’t look worried. 9:30 pm on Thursday and Al takes out his white towel, rolled up and folded like for a wet stinger in the locker room. Al’s eyes are down on the table, he’s frozen in granite.

Mattias Andersson: For the Swede, yesterday was the end of the tournament. And now he’s on a freeroll. Clearly the money means a lot to him, and the pressure of a medium stack was wearing on him as he moved up the place pool. But he came in Friday morning looking like he actually slept a good night’s sleep, like he was willing to gamble, like he’d done better than he expected and just wanted to gamble for the big money. If this kid gets chips he’s gonna be dangerous. He’ll be a 24 year old with nothing to lose. If that doesn’t scare you, nothing does.

Further Championship details on the Championship page
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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