WSOP Event #49: Chen carries the flag

wsop2009_thn.gifNot many people can say this about entering a $50,000 HORSE tournament:

"I just decided to play."

That's what Friend of PokerStars Bill Chen said offhandedly during the last break.

In a tournament that for most people requires sponsorship, a ton of backers, or a huge bankroll, Chen simple made the decision to jump in.

"I've played the last two years," Chen explained. "Even though the field was going to be tough, I figure HORSE is kind of my game. I'm not really much of a specialist in any game."

If you read between the lines there, Chen is trying not to say what is clearly the case. The reason he is not a specialist is because he is a rockstar at all the games.

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Chen's mere presence in a room brings up the average IQ by a startling amount. The math PhD made three final tables in the 2006 WSOP and won two bracelets in the process. He then went on to co-author The Mathematics of Poker and continues to work in the world of high finance. Simply put, he's smarter than almost anybody in the Amazon Room and that's why he can drop $50,000 to enter a 95-player tournament.

"The field is obviously tough, but there are definitely soft spots," he said. "There are definitely players that don't play all the games, there are definitely players who are mostly big time tournament players."

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Chen was on the verge of elimination during Day 2, but went on crazy rush to finish with a solid stack coming into Day 3. Since starting this afternoon, he's managed to chip up to a point that could very well send him into Day 4. He currently sits among the top five chip leaders.

Earlier today, Barry Greenstein and Alex Kravchenko busted short of the money. That leaves Bill Chen as the only remaining person to carry the PokerStars flag. As the players get ready to take their Day 3 dinner break, Chen still thinks he has a good chance.

"There is a skill portion at the beginning and then there's the luck portion at the end," he said. "I did okay in the skill portion. Let's hope I do well in the luck portion."

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker