2008 World Series: $50,000 HORSE begins

From the moment the Amazon room opened this morning, it was clear today was not going to be a normal day. The tables in the orange section of the Amazon Room had been spaced out such that you could lay two NBA players end to end on the floor and they wouldn't reach betweeen table #10 and #11. A bottle of energy water and a commemorative coffee cup had been set in front of every seat. Rumors and speculation rained down about how many players would show up, who would show up first, and who would show up last.

Moments ago, the $50,000 HORSE event began. Last year's champion Freddy Deeb paid homage to a former champion, the late Chip Reese, for whom the event's top prize has now been named.

"In memory of Chip we're going to play the poker game he loved the most," Deeb said. "So, shuffle up and deal!"


A HORSE dealer sits in front of his tools of the trade

A bevy of Team PokerStars Pros is in the field today vying for one of the most coveted championships in the world. Isabelle Mercier sat in the two-seat on table #14. Dario Minieri ran in a few minutes late and sat down right beside her. Daniel Negreanu is looking for a second bracelet for the 2008 World Series and has pulled a rough table draw with the likes of Dewey Tomko, John Hennigan, and Phil Ivey.

Elsewhere in the room, Katja Thater sits at the same table with Kirill Gerasimov. Fellow Russian Alex Kravchenko is also in the field.

Bill Chen and Barry Greenstein have both drawn the same table and look to be neighbors for the next couple of days. Greg Raymer is looking for his second cash of this year's Series. Chad Brown sits across the room and is filling up on trail mix. He knows how long a haul this will be.

How long? Five days. The players are playing five 90-minute levels per day. We expect this event to wrap up for the day sometime after 3am tomorrow.

Settle in folks. This one will take a while. These players are going to get their $50,000 worth of poker.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker