2007 World Series: $5,000 PL Hold'em Final Table
If I were an aged southern belle who had never seen a televised poker event until today, I would have a few questions. Like, why is Gavin Griffin's hair cut into a hot pink mohawk? Why does Humberto Brenes carry toy sharks around in his pocket? Good lord, did that man Keith Lehr actually take out his glass eye and put it on the table in front of Brenes yesterday? And, pray tell, why is Alan Jaffray wearing my hat?
Because I'm not an old lady from Georgia, and because I hang around this scene a bit too much, I know that Gavin's hair is pink as part of his support for breast cancer awareness (we first saw his pink-hued hair in Monte Carlo when he won the EPT grand Final in March). I know that Humberto uses his sharks to cap his cards (and annoy his opponents). I know Lehr's eye easily comes out of his head and he could use it to cap his cards if he wanted to.
As for Alan Jaffray's proper-lady hat (a black number with a big red flower and bow that looks like something somebody from New Orleans would wear to a funeral), even I was lost. Fortunately, I'm friends with PokerNews' reporter B.J. Nemeth. Nemeth tends to know...well, everything. He tells me Jaffray's hat actually sat on the head of a Tournament of Champions winner years ago and has, get this, been on the cover of CardPlayer magazine. Today, the actual owner of the hat is playing in the ladies event. Meanwhile, Jaffray, despite his trimmed goatee, looks like he could play the lead in Driving Miss Daisy.
These men all sit together today at the final table of the $5,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em championship. The star-studded table is a circus in itself. Jason Lester is sitting in the one seat and defending his title in this event. Allen Cunningham is wearing a flowered shirt. Travis Rice, in the three seat, has a rowdy rail that cheers every time Travis does anything. Oh, and Jeff Lisandro, as usual, looks like--given the right conditions...say, I sneezed at the wrong moment--he could and would beat me into a shivering mass of bruises.
Most circuses start off with something boring, like a dog that can balance a beach ball on its butt or something. This particular table of unpredictability was only boring for the few minutes. It should not have surprised anyone that the spotlight would shine on Humberto when the real action started.
Humberto raised the pot and defending champ Jason Lester re-raised. The rest of the players folded back to Humberto. This is where Humberto's sideshow is at its best--or, depending on your perspective, worst. He stood and sang the theme from Jaws, swam his shark through the air toward Lester, and in one grand motion, moved all-in. Lester, with decidedly less flair, called.
Humberto, still on his feet from the shark-themed one-act play, turned and asked the crowd in his booming Costa Rican voice? "Who has the kings?"
The crowd responded in kind, "Humbertooooooooooooo!"
Lester, again, with considerably less flair, flipped over JJ.
It was readily apparent that the crowd was divided against Humberto. Half of the railbirds cheered for Humberto while the other half chanted for a jack. That latter half had been steadily fueled with a diet of Milwaukee's Best, brought in 20 at a time.
The flop: 2d8s2s
That's when the chant of "Jack, jack, jack!" got louder.
Humberto coyly inched his king of spades closet to the board.
Still, the anti-Humberto half of the crowd chanted for a jack.
Humberto pulled his smiled even wider and wiped his mouth like he just had a good meal. He then waved his hat to the crowd of people who were fighting against him.
Keith Lehr says, "The shark has to go."
And that is how the first hour of the final table began.