Around the WSOP: Mixed event is the new cool

6 June 2008

The World Series of Poker, and what's cool at the World Series of Poker, is always evolving. For years, the Main Event was the BIG thing. But as the playing fields grew and our familiarity with the winners diminished, it started to lose a little bit of its panache. Into that void stepped the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, and poker players fell in love. It had a big buy-in, an elite field of top poker professionals playing five distinct, but very interesting games and great final tables. What was not to love? But the fickle thing about cool is it demands to be new. So the H.O.R.S.E. event isn't cool anymore. It's prestigous. And the new cool (yes, we're declaring it so) is the $10,000 World Championship Mixed Event.

First of all, consider the games being played. Deuce-to-seven Triple Draw, Limit Hold'em, Omaha 8, Razz, Stud, Stud 8, No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha. There is no better test in poker than these combinations of games. Plus, it includes one drawing game, which is the first kind of poker most of us learned a child. And there are two lowball games. How cool is that.

Next, look at the 192-player field that entered this tournament. It's the best of the best. Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Johnny Chan, Mark Vos, Marcel Luske, Mike Sexton, Michael Mizrachi, Gavin Griffin, Doyle Brunson, Lee Watkinson, Chad Brown, Greg Raymer, Eric Froelich, Andy Bloch, Vanessa Rousso, Katja Thater, Barry Greenstein, Todd Bruson, are among the luminaries that entered and didn't reach the final table.

And among those that did reach the final table are Sam Farha, Eli Elezra, Jeff Madsen and Tom Dwan. How's that for a final table?!

The action on the felt has been as intriguing and as impressive as the players in the field. Take Hansen for example. He looked like a fairly certain bet to reach the final table last night. But he lost a sizable portion of his stack in 2-7 Triple Draw when his 8-6-5-4-3 was beaten by Michael DeMichele's 8-6-4-3-2. That's one sick hand. And it crippled Hansen.

Elezra is entering today's action with the short stack. But part of that was by design. According to PokerNews, Elezra was facing a big call on sixth street in Razz when David Oppenheim was eliminated from the tournament in ninth place. Elezra had made a last-longer bet that paid him $100,000 if he made the final table, so he folded (and announced why) rather than risk the big pay day.

Final-table action begins later today. And here's hoping the decisive hand come during 2-7 Triple Draw. Now, that would be very cool.

WSOP tidbits

Michael Banducci won the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em with re-buys tournament. Banducci invested $4,000 (one re-buy and a double add-on) to win the $636,736 first prize.

The WSOP set a new record when 833 entered its $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo tournament (Event #6). The previous high for a Omaha Hi-Lo field was 690 players in 2007. Thang Luu, who is primarily known as a cash game player, won the event. Luu says he tries to play in most major Omaha Hi-Lo tournaments, but Badugi is his favorite game. And that makes him A-OK in our book.


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