2008 World Series: The entertainment budget

There are a number of folks out there who see poker as entertainment. They put in their $200 buy-in and write off any losses as the cost of having fun. How many times have you heard such players say, "I would've spent more money at the bar than I lost tonight!"

Safe to say, the people who remain in the $50,000 HORSE event are not in it for the entertainment. As we inch toward the top 16 spots and the money, there are several people facing a harsh reality. They put in their $50,000. They put in more than three long days of work. They returned here today to work some more.

And they will walk away with nothing.

It's a sick part of any poker tournament, but the pain is compounded in this event. Not only was the buy-in huge, not only is the potential payout enormous, but these people have been forced into three overtime work days and won't get a paycheck. Just imagine having to pay your employer to go to work, toiling for a week, and then getting laid off without getting paid. It's not an entertainment budget. It's a less-than-mild form of masochism, and one only certain players in the world can withstand.

It is our unfortunate duty to report that Chad Brown is one of those players. After putting in his time and effort here, he has exited just short of the money.


Brown's departure and a few others leaves us with 20 players remaining. Among them and near the top of the leaderboard are Daniel Negreanu, Supernova Elite Joseph "bigjoe2003" Michael, and Barry Greenstein. At the start of play today, Phil Hellmuth reached across the rail and shook Greenstein's hand.

"I got touched by Phill Hellmuth," Greenstein said with a wry smile. It seemed clear, Greenstein wasn't counting on the luck of the Poker Brat to get him through the day.


Apart from the world class poker going on here, one of the most prounounced images of the day is the size of the rail that has formed in the past few hours. Railbirds are stacked three deep along the back side of the HORSE event. These players are used to the fans, to be sure. Regardless, the added pressure hundreds of leering people doesn't do anything to reduce the amount of stress already involved in this contest.


Day 4 is now two hours old. There is no time-limit on the night. They will play until eight remain. With this group of players, we could be in for a very long night.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker