2008 World Series: Quick death in the short-handed

Whilst ‘death’ in the HORSE event can be a slow one, taking a day and a half, the short-handed hold’em taking place on the other side of the rail can reduce grown men and women into dazed delinquents once the chips to which they’d developed such an attachment are taken from them and pushed over to an opponent. The end here is short, sharp and is laced with the echoes of pain.

Being six-handed it has created the illusion of moving very quickly. From the 805 who started just 120 remain for what will continue to be a guard-up tournament. Play fast or die! Well something like that.

We lost several Team PokerStars Pros today, including John Duthie and Vicky Coren, closely followed new boy Marcin Horecki. Victor Ramdin went, as did Hevad Khan. Whilst Vanessa Rousso fell victim of Steven Ware’s pocket eights leaving three of the Team PokerStars Pro clan to do battle till the end - Gavin Griffin, ElkY and Joe Hachem...

Joe had his work face on today, playing with the kind of focus that any half-decent poker “how to” book will tell you again and again; the virtues of absorbing everything going on at the table and factoring that into the game plan you’ve devised to assure ultimate victory. It’s a plan that’s worked well so far for Joe. Only today not so much.

As the clock edged closer to “late” Joe sat with a fortifying glass of scotch by his side – but brought his tournament to a premature end with an all-in A-Q move. It was a raise, re-raise, all-in, call situation, with Joe calling on the end only to see himself up against A-K. With an ace on the flop and a king on the turn Joe was out. He headed off to check in on his brother Tony playing just a few tables away.

That left Team PokerStars Pros Gavin Griffin and ElkY, both comfortably chipped. That was until ElkY suffered from a serious case of ‘big-hand-went-wrong’, like a firework that tips over and flies off in all sorts of directions, ruining an otherwise inspiring display.

Sat riffling chips with both hands, the big cash chances he’d talked about earlier took a dent in what was a similar raise, re-raise, all-in call situation. Like Joe, by the end of the fracas he emerged on the losing side, up against pocket queens which beat whatever ElkY had. From up to over 80k a short while ago he’s now back to 20k.

That leaves Gavin Griffin. When I sweated him from the rail earlier today he was already well into the chip building process – an approach that has continued several hours later. Sweating him now shows him to have a healthy stack of 75k, likely to see him into day two. Gavin has two cashes already this year and looks on a straight and true course towards a third. At least.