WSOP Main Event: It's a skill game

wsop2009_thn.gifPoker is a game of skill. We all understand that, yeah? We all preach it from the pulpit, shout it from the rooftops, and write it in as big of font as we can.

Poker is a game of skill.

With that said, we have three hands to report.

Steven Begleiter raised to 1.6 million and Darvin Moon put in what some people might call an overbet. He moved all in for 60 gazillion (or thereabouts). Begleiter snap-called for his last 21 million. This was either going to be very fair or very, very sick.

Moon: A♣Q♥
Begleiter: Q♠Q♦

And so there it was. Begleiter could not have been much happier.

Here's how the first four cards ran out: 7♠4♦8♠3♠...


Just stop and think about something pretty here. Think about how beautiful your mother was when you were six years old, or how those fields of wildflowers on the Blue Ridge Parkway looked last spring.

Okay. Are you in a pretty place? Okay.

Here's the river.


We'd tell you what happened next, but it took us all a good thirty seconds to pick ourselves up off the floor.

The loser took it better. After recovering, he spoke with the media.

"On this one, I thought I had it," Begleiter said afterward. "When I cleared the turn, I was almost counting it."

Just in case anyone missed it the first time, we'd like to repeat.

Poker is a game of skill.

We'd hoped that would be the end of it. Sure, we're the PokerStars Blog and we have our favorites, but the carnage was starting to get the better of us. Our therapists said we'd probably be okay by tomorrow.

And then it was all-in pre-flop between PokerStars' Joe Cada's red threes and Jeff Shulman's pocket jacks for all of Cada's 11,200,000 chips.

We probably don't have to tell you we heard the crowd go wild for Cada before we saw the three on the flop.


Cada staggers back to life

And so now we are five-handed. It's 1:30am. And we are bringing in counselors. We think Medicaid covers that kind of thing.

But wait!

There is still hope.

Just a few hands later (the 199th) we saw something happen that we're still trying to comprehend. It was a million bets to Moon's final push all-in and snap-call from Joe Cada for more than 21 million. Cada, of course, had pocket aces to Moon's...K♠9♣.


When the nine came on the flop, we called for the priest. Alarmingly, the turn and river bricked and suddenly Cada (the guy who was down to less than 2 million earlier today) was among the chip leaders.


By this time last year, Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov had wandered off for a good night's rest. Tonight, we're ordering coffee with our amphetamines. Best you watch a little video while we collect ourselves.

As one of the five remaining players at the table, Eric Buchman might not want to give away too much of his strategy. Fortunately, before he started today (yesterday?), he told us all about it.

Watch WSOP 2009: Eric Buchman talks strategy on
Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker