2007 World Series: Part 3 - $5,000 PL Hold'em Final Table

Part 1
Part 2

Watching this final table makes me realize how much poker has changed. In the history of final tables, perhaps the most radical thing that had happened in recent memory was the outdoor final table in 1997--an experiment that was not repeated. Now, if it's not radical, it's unusual.

Take for instance Travis Rice's cheering section. They are poker's equivalent to soccer hooligans. No doubt they are having fun. The 20 of them have been through a couple cases of beer and a bottle of Crown in the few hours since this final table kicked off. They are loud and proud of their man, not to mention themselves.

They, no doubt, would say much the same thing about Humberto Brenes' theatrics at the table. Humberto, when you know him, is hard not to like. However, his tableside antics can grate on his fellow players' nerves.

There are many people who think it's all good for the game. It's turned poker into more of a sporting event, with soap opera characters, screaming fans, and good TV. However, there are some other people who wonder whether a slow degradation of the game's integrity is underway. Former PokerStars card room manager Lee Jones recently wrote an interesting piece on poker etiquette. Even he, a poker purist, admits he's off on a bit of a rant. Still, when I look at some of the faces of poker veterans, I wonder if they like the New Poker as much as the old poker. To be sure, they like the money better. I figure they'll put up with whatever it takes as long as the money keeps coming in.


Back at the table, poker is in fact being played. Humberto got his money in good against Jason Lester, but came out behind. Still, he had chips to play, and as he said during a break, "My comeback...it will make a good show."

Shortly after the break ended, so did Gavin Griffin's quest for his second World Series bracelet. On a flop of 2d9dQs, Gavin moved all-in for 185,000. Jeff Lisandro called in a shot with KdJd. The turn paired Lisandro's jack. The river, an eight of diamonds, made Gavin's straight, but filled in Lisandro's flush. With no theatrics, Gavin stepped off the stage. The $59,924 he won wasn't the kind of cash he won in Monte Carlo this year, but it will help pay for his tournament entries at this years World Series.

With Gavin's exit, here's how the six players stacked up.

Jason Lester: 380,000
Allen Cunningham: 570,000
Travis Rice: 460,000
Joe Patrick: 600,000
Humberto Brenes: 375,000
Jeff Lisandro: 1,550,000

As for that comeback, Humberto was ready for it. On a flop of 8sJh8h, Humberto and Jeff got in a raising battle that ended with Humberto all-in. Humberto held AcJc to Jeff's KcJd.

"Who has the best hand?" he asked the crowd

The turn and river, 3c and 9c, were no help for Jeff, and just like that, the clown prince of the final table was back in the game.


Back in the Travis Rice cheering section, the ice cooler tumbled down the stairs.

"Party foul," somebody muttered.

It wasn't long before Rice got his money in behind to Allen Cunningham. His rail looked up from their ice-wrangling and screamed for the suckout.

They didn't get it.

Now, the room was suddenly quieter. In the wake of the 20-strong Rice Rangers, a litter of beer cans and drink cups. Allen Cunningham had take over the chip lead with five players remaining.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in