WSOP: Sticking a fork in the preliminary events

If you find yourself with a stack of redbirds here at the Rio, there is a decent chance you'll flip one over and find a depiction of one of the 12 Days of Christmas. Many of the Rio chips have something to keep you entertained while you're posting and folding [Note: The scariest one--I always turn it face-down--is the $25 Rod Stewart chip]. It seems to me, the 12 Days of Christmas pops up more frequently than the others--my favorite rarity is the "Girls of Summer."

I think the "12 Days of Christmas" chips speak volumes about what's going on. This World Series of Poker, for many people, has been like a Christmas in July. This four weeks of Christmas will culminate on Friday with the grand daddy of all poker feasts, the $10,000 main event. Over a two-week period, thousands of poker players from around the world will dine on the ultimate in poker experiences. Sure, after the main event starts, there will be a few other WSOP events, but most people will see those tournaments as mere leftovers to this poker holiday summer.

With all that in mind, it is now time to bid goodbye to the dozens of premliminary events gone by. The last prelim event before the big show began today. Once again, the $1,500 NL Hold'em contest drew a huge field. More than 2,800 players built a huge prize pool and will be battling for the next few days to see who can pull in more than $700,000 and the gold WSOP bracelet.

In other news, Team PokerStars' 2003 WSOP champion, Chris Moneymaker, is fighting to make the final table of the $1,5000 Limit Hold'em Shootout. Moneymaker won his table yesterday and, today, started off strong. While he has almost doubled his starting stack, he still has a long way to go tonight.

Finally, one of the biggest events kicked off today. The no-limit 2-7 lowball rebuy (yeah, you read all of that right) started just a bit ago. This is the game that brings out the big dogs. Greg Raymer, Barry Greenstein, and Victor Ramdin are all in that event today.

We'll be keeping ana eye on our guys. To be honest, we're all a little full of the appetizers we've been eating for four weeks. Fortunately, we all think we can handle one more binge starting Friday.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker