2008 World Series: Books, bracelets, Barry and Bill

The $50,000 HORSE event was petitioned for by poker purists, designed by poker purists, played by poker purists, for the poker purist.

And haven't those purists found reason to purr this evening.

Just take a look at this photograph:

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For about three hours this evening on table six, these six players sat next to one another: Lyle Berman, Barry Greenstein, Bill Chen, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and Layne Flack. In those six chairs -- which were, remember, in a row -- sat the owners of 29 World Series bracelets: three and three and two and ten and five and six, respectively.

It was quite a line-up, arguably the most bling-heavy table ever arranged in a World Series event, exactly what the organisers could have wished for when they conceived of a tournament with such a monstrous buy-in and mountains of prestige.

But the shelves holding the jewelery boxes of Messers Berman, Brunson, Greenstein and Chen are not the only ones creaking under the strain in their respective homes. Their libraries are surely also pretty well stocked. These four are among the most noted poker authors in the business, with Chen responsible for the much-vaunted 2006 tome "The Mathematics of Poker", Greenstein clutching the pen that wrote "Ace on the River", and Berman contributing a chapter to Brunson's "Super System II".

Much has been written before about Greenstein's habit of handing an autographed copy of his book to his vanquisher in whatever tournament he plays. The Team PokerStars Pro dutifully brings a copy of "Ace on the River" along with him before he sits down and will always sign the front page before shaking hands, handing over the book and leaving, once his time comes. For the hours preceding the final moment, the book lies beneath his chair. If he takes a bracelet, he takes the book home.

Today, Berman has also brought along a copy of "Super System II", presumably for the purposes of similar benevolence. It's difficult to imagine the three-time bracelet winner needing to indulge in any last-gasp cramming. So it is that Nordics PokerStars blogger Lina Olofsson (whose WSOP musings in some scarcely-recognisable hieroglyphics, traditionally known as Swedish, can be found HERE) was able to take two of the more quirky images you'll see at this year's World Series, one from afar, and then a little closer.

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Those are the boots, bags and the books of Berman and Greenstein, poised, ready to be signed. But don't hold your breath, folks. Although Flack departed shortly before the dinner break, and the table was subsequently broken, all of the remaining five are sitting with hefty stacks. Greenstein, in particular, is looking like a very sound bet for the latter stages.

We've just been told that they'll be playing either six levels or to 24 players tonight, whichever comes soonest. It's my bet that "Ace on the River" will be being carried home at the end of the night. And maybe tomorrow night too.