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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
T minus 7

Ted Forrest fans take note. If the battle is within, then it’s already been won. It was bubble time at the $1500 No Limit Hold’em event, and there was a whole load of players who wanted nothing more than to make the money. 81 places getting paid, but considering that the 100 who were left had already played ten hours and seen the decimation of over seven hundred more, there wasn’t many between them who weren’t going to welcome the sight of getting cash back. An LA newbie with a goatee, an I-Pod, and 6500 came over to the rail to inform his buddies that the plan was to fold everything until the money. “I’m only playing two hands,” he chortled, “Jacks are definitely in the been and queens, almost for sure…” Thirty minutes later they were down to 84, he had 725 left, and his 600 dollar big blind looming large. The cry of pain that went up when he went out in 83rd place had the walls bending at their roots.

Meanwhile, Ted Forrest was at a table with a whole load of chips. He wasn’t chip leader at his table but he wasn’t very far off, and he was ruling the bubble with an iron hand, raising five out of six pots and pounding the flop. The rest of his table had their heads bent in submission, with the possible exception of young Chip Jett, hunkered down with a woolen Poker Stars ski cap rolled down to his eyebrows, and understandably complaining that the room was a bit warm. When a lady sat down on Forrest’s left, he paid her no note. She had almost as many chips as he did and had been racking them up all day, torturing her previous table for eight long hours while accumulating over sixty thousand in chips and not showing many hands. Forrest didn’t pay her any mind until her second hand at the table, when after Forrest raised the pot up she stuck in a chunky reraise, over the top. Forrest looked at her briefly and then folded his hand. No big deal. The very next hand Forrest opened again with a raise. She reraised him again. This time his eyes widened a bit and he looked in surprise. He folded again. When it happened the third time, everybody took notice. And Ted folded. At this point you’d have to be absolutely convinced she was toying with Ted, and I don’t think there were many people in the room who didn’t expect Ted to take a stand if it happened again. It happened twice more. In the space of two rounds of the table. She came over the top of Ted Forrest no less than five times. And five times Ted sat and thought, and laid his hand down. And to boot, the very next hand after she had come over the top of Ted Forrest the fifth time, Ted opened the pot for a raise. Everyone folded.

Ted never lost his cool. There were two explanations. Either the woman was making five incredible plays on Ted with not much at all, or she had found an incredible run of starting hands in the space of a very short time. The odds for either event came in at slightly under one million to one. I don’t know what she had. But not only was Forrest a believer, but he never changed his game plan, just kept on raising five of six pots before the flop. And eventually, even she gave up. On the break twenty minutes later I’m standing and talking to a Vegas regular outside of the gift shop when Ted comes out on his way back to the table. “Who is that woman?” he asks. “What’s her name?” And he’s laughing his ass off. Not upset, not mad, just laughing his head off, like a religious zealot who believes in the system. Sooner or later, they’ll have to give up. Because he never will. A whole lot of players would have lost their tank during those five hands, tried to make a remove, gotten their bristles up, their manhood in a bind. Ted just laughed. And when I came in the next day for the final table, there were six players left and they were all playing for second. Ted already had over half the chips. The nice thing about the World Series of Poker is that in the middle of all the craziness, the sign of a champion stands out proud. I confess to being a little worried about Forrest’s freshness for the main event, him playing nearly every tournament already this month. But if you talk about mental attitude, talk about form, Ted Forrest is on top of the mountain. If the battle is within, then Ted Forrest has already won.

That this is a unique World Series of Poker cannot be disputed. When else could you stick 834 poker players into a tournament, have four hundred of them get knocked out by the second hour, and still not have any good cash games going on in the casino? The demise of the cash games at the WSOP is a discussion that has been long and lamented at Binion’s Horseshoe this year. Explainers point to two reasons. First, players are more spread out then ever before, with games between the Bellagio and the new Golden Nugget poker room in addition to the Horseshoe. More importantly, however, is the TV factor. All the star struck growth that has come in the poker world is directed at new players who want nothing more than to get in the TV events, and those thirteen minor events at the WSOP have seen a phenomenal rise in entries. And when a player gets knocked out of one of these events, what does he do? He goes straight into another satellite. In the old days, one player said, you could count on the “steamers” coming out of WSOP tournaments, especially rebuy events, and going straight into the cash games and the welcoming arms of tough minded pros. These days, many of those players don’t even know how to play cash games, they’re only interested in tournaments. Well then, you might think, why don’t the professionals just switch to satellites, become professional one tablers? Ten years ago you would have had a whole flock of people making their living through their one table satellite results and no doubt there are still some people trying to do just that. Sadly, though, the structure for these one table satellites is both ultra fast and vig heavy, blinds raised every fifteen minutes. In the words of some, a total crapshoot. Next year Harrah’s might well decide to prohibit direct buy-ins to the WSOP events, and let people in only through the satellite options. It would certainly make for good rake.

Speaking of cash games, of course the talk is about the big game, the big game at the Golden Nugget, and facts are hard to come by. Security guards and tight lips surround the action, so flying rumors is most of what there is to go on. Here’s the latest flying rumor. The buy-in for this big game, first of all, is a half million dollar sit down. $500,000 is the minimum you need to take a seat. And for the first time in the history of a game this big, I think, the other night there was a waiting list to get in the game. Full table of players, and Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese pacing around trying to get in the game. Amazing. The second rumor concerns the stakes. One player, it was reported, was stuck $7,000,000 in the game, perhaps a record in itself. But what was even more incredible, is that he got even. In one hour. There seems to be a lot of money in the poker world these days. A whole lot of cash.

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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