2007 World Series: Blind Horse
Greg Raymer was passing out Dentyne Ice to the people at his table. Robert Mizrachi took a piece. Jennifer Harman did not.
"How are the other Team PokerStars players doing?" he asked.
I gave him the rundown. Barry was doing well, Victor was down a bit. Everybody else was treading water.
"I saw Isabelle," Raymer said. "Is she playing today?"
Now, you should understand, it takes ten seconds to walk from Raymer's table to Isabelle's table. They had been playing within thirty yards of each other for seven hours and hadn't noticed each other yet.
"She's doing fine," I said. "Was up to 155,000 at one point."
She was not doing as fine as before. When I walked the few steps to her table, there were fewer chips than before.
"I just lost seven hands in a row. Seven hands in a row!" she said. "That's 70,000."
As usual, I wasn't sure what to say. "That's no fun," was all I came up with.
"But I'm going to win the next ten," she said and turned back to the table.
Isabelle Mercier looking for ten hands in a row
Two tables away, the losing was taking a far different form. Eli Elezra had been moved to Barry Greenstein's seat and had an imposing stack of chips. Not only that, he had a chicken-scratched piece of paper that looked familiar. In fact, it looked just like the prop scorecard Barry and Eli kept during the last time the were sat together. Barry looked moderately peeved.
"He sits down and hits every hand," Greenstein said. "And, he's up $135,000 in props."
I looked down at the sheet. Sure enough, it had climbed from $10,000 up to $135,000 without taking many a dip in Greenstein's favor.
"I think I'm going to hit him," Greenstein pondered out loud. "He used to be a commando or something, but I don't think he's that tough anymore."
As proof, Elezra winced as his tableside massage therapist worked a sore spot in his leg. Not so tough.
By the time I stopped keeping notes on the props, Elezra was up $210,000 in props and held the chip lead in the HORSE tournament.
Barry Greenstein--Good chips, bad props
"Who else is playing today?" Greenstein had asked me at one point in the day.
That's what's funny about this event. On the surface it looks like everybody is having a good time, betting it up, talking shop, and having a ball. However, deep in the poker mind, the focus doesn't go beyond the seven other people at the table. If they are going to be successful--if they are going to win--they can't be worried about what's happening at the 17 other tables in the tournament. They may look like they don't care if they win, but they do. They so do.
As Raymer and I finished talking, he said that just yesterday he'd practiced playing HORSE with Bill Chen, Terrance Chan, and others while eating some beef imported form Palo Alto.
He's not just playing for fun tonight. He's looking to win.
Raymer and your intrepid blogger
As the night draws to a close, nearly everyone playing for Team PokerStars is still alive and sitting on at least as many chips as they started with. When only a few people bust after twelve hours of play, the chip average just doesn't get much bigger. This is, after all, a five day event. While today hurt a few folks' feelings (and likely tweaked a bankroll or two), this was just the get-to-know-you period.
The hard rows to hoe will begin tomorrow.
Or, if I may, tomorrow is a horse of an entirely different color.
(Come on, I'm allowed one bad equine pun a day, right?)
Previous HORSE coverage
When a HORSE is not a horse
Pictures courtesy of Image Masters