2007 World Series: Focus

For the past six and half weeks, the Rio Convention Center has looked like a giant festival. Vendors pitched their products, people walked around in silly costumes or like biped-billboards, and poker was played on 200-300 tables at any given time. To anyone looking in from the outside, it would've looked like some odd and expensive carnival.

Now a sign in the hallway reads "Live poker moved to Rio Poker Room." A new convention has entered the hall, imploring its conventioneers, "RetailNOW! Educate, Engage, Empower!" Most of the poker vendors have either packed up or reduced their prices in anticipation of the end.

The Amazon Room's lights have dimmed and only three tables are in action. Around those table now sit 26 people with the dream of winning $8.2 million and the world championship bracelet. Last night the mood was still celebratory and sometimes silly. Today, the players are more quiet. Even RaiNKhaN seems reserved. Whether he still needs six or seven more Red Bulls before he gets pumped up or he's intent on focusing today, he's not dancing today. At least not yet.

Even when the fire alarm went off earlier, the players barely noticed. At the ESPN table, Scott Freeman, Bob Slezak, and RaiNKhaN all sit with a seemingly nervous energy. They are all very accomplished players, but this is all their best shot yet to make life changing money.


RaiNKhaN gives a pre-game interview



Focused Freeman



Bob Slezak


As the players fall off one by one (we're now down to 22), the players seem to grow even more attentive. Roy Winston's pocket queens couldn't hold up against AK. Jeff Bryan ended up getting JT in against AK and couldn't draw out. It moved everybody else focused harder on their opponents.


Jeff Bryan, 27th place



Roy Winston, 26th place


Thirteen more players will fall before Day 6 ends. With two hours left before the dinner break, I'm siding with the people who predicted a late night tonight. If anything though, everything is in focus. In the center of the frame sits the final table of the 2007 World Series.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in