2007 World Series: HORSE gets serious

I spent the afternoon looking for signs that the HORSE event was holding onto the relaxed atmosphere it projected through most of Day 1. I looked for Isabelle to be talking about "the most fun she's had in her life" or Greenstein to be betting big with somebody at his table. The closest thing I found to frivolousness was John Phan ordering beer at 4pm. He drinks it on ice and likes to eat Cheetos (a rough prospect when trying to handle cards with Cheesy-Fingers). Beyond that, the mood has been decidedly more tense.

The entire field re-drew seats today and it seemed like every table was one that would send any novice player back to the Monopoly board. Consider Greg Raymer's starting table included names like Eli Elezra (current chip leader), Chip Reese (last year's winner) and Phil Hellmuth. If the tension wasn't clear enough, Hellmuth's demeanor told the story. Between hands, he would lay down his head and seem to meditate. The only cute thing at the entire table was Cyndy Violette's "Peace, Love, Poker," shirt.

The reason is pretty clear. Yesterday, it was going to take a very bad run of cards to send a player to the rail. Today, all it takes is a few bad hands and the dream of winning the HORSE World Championship is over. Just ask Bill Chen. The guy is wicked-smart, won two World Series bracelets last year alone, and hit the rail before the dinner break today.

Chen's exit, preceded by Team PokerStars' John Duthie today, leaves a still-star-studded crowd, including Greg Raymer, Victor Ramdin, Barry Greenstein, Daniel Negreanu, Isabelle Mercier, and Matt Hawrilenko.

Photo courtesy of Image Masters

Brad Willis
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