2007 World Series: Work horses

Whatever the players in the $50,000 HORSE event had for dinner, they all shared the same dessert: Lose three players and you're done for the day. With 24 runners remaining, Team PokerStars' Greg Raymer, Barry Greenstein, and Daniel Negreanu all went to dinner and came back ready to make it to tomorrow. The anticipation was chocolate-mousse-thick. Bruno Fitoussi had his French rail. Thor Hansen had a Nordic rail. Daniel Negreanu just had a rowdy rail.

"Yay-ah, boyee!" Daniel called back to them, not sure whether his response was appropriate. So, when the players re-drew for seats, Daniel was still feeling good and poking fun at Fitoussi. Told they have a few minutes, Fitoussi broke for the door to smoke.

"We just had a dinner break," Daniel said. "You need to smoke again?"

"I am French!" Bruno yelled.

"Oh yeah," Daniel said with a wry smile, "You're French. Everybody in Paris smokes."

Minutes later Daniel would be shadow-boxing and looking for a new mark.

As the players sat back down, I overheard Freddy Deeb trying to get John Hanson to bet $1,000 on a last-longer.

"I don't bet over $200," Hanson said without a hint of sarcasm. I didn't bother reminding him the bottom pay in this event is $88,000.

Barry Greenstein sat just to Deeb's right. Just before he sat down, Barry told me he is only alive because Bruno had folded to his bluff. Down to his last 30,000 in chips Barry had put them in on a stone-cold bluff. Bruno, thankfully, believed him and mucked. Next thing Barry knew, he had over 900,000 chips.

The feature table featured both Daniel Negreanu and Greg Raymer. In between hands, Daniel began making fun of young Justin Bonomo's hairline. Bonomo is sporting a new faux-hawk and is showing just the beginnings of a receding hairline. Bruno, knowing what Negreanu's looks like under his PokerStars baseball cap, asked to see Negreanu's hairline, and then showed of his own perfect hair.

Again, Negrenau said, "Yeah, but you're French. Your hair is like steel wool!"

It took just a little less than two hours to knock off the three remaining players. Greenstein seemed frustrated and wasn't able to win a hand after dinner. Raymer finished much as he started. Negreanu took a nosedive in the final two hours. Still, all three members of Team PokerStars were alive at the end. With 21 players remaining and an average chip stack of 704,761, here's how they stacked up:

Barry Greenstein: 650,000
Greg Raymer: 504,000
Daniel Negreanu: 149,000

When we return tomorrow, five players will leave the room without making a cent. The remaining 16 are guaranteed $88,000. First prize is more than $2 million.

Also hanging in on the short-stack is PokerStars player Pat Pezzin, a friend of Daniel's from Toronto.

After it was over, Raymer seemed unconcerned about his less than average stack. He stood talking to ESPN folks and explained one of his losing hands. I eavesdropped and heard Greg describe his thought process which included what he called his 10% rule--a metric he uses when calculating his odds when calling.

"I go by the ten percent rule," he said. "No matter how tight a person is, ten percent of time, they are full of it." At least, that's pretty close to what he said.

Also in action late today was Team PokerStars' Bill Chen, who paid for his entire table's after losing at credit card roulette, went back to the PLO8 event and finished in 28th place.

Nearing midnight, I also spotted Team PokerStars Noah Boeken with chips in today's $2,000 Limit Hold'em event. Immediately to his left was a member of PokerStars German blogging team, Klaus Hausmann.

Tomorrow will be a day in which the HORSE event again takes center stage. If Raymer, Greenstein, and Negreanu plan to make it to the final table, they'll need to find their inner work horse.

At this point, I'm not counting anybody out.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in