Archive for the 'Poker Tournaments' Category


H.O.R.S.E. for those of you that don’t know already is Poker’s version of the Decathlon. You can’t be a one trick pony and specialize in just one game here. A player who excels in the H.O.R.S.E games will need to have well rounded poker knowledge as you will have to play the games of:

Holdem, Omaha H/L, Razz, Stud, and Stud Eight

While there are many players that are good at a couple of these games, few can really profess to be experts in them all. And playing them all in a rotation takes constant adjustments.

Phil Hellmuth who is the most decorated player in terms of WSOP bracelets for instance with 11, have never won a single one outside of Hold’em, and while Phil will tell anyone who will listen what a fantastic player he is in all of the poker games, the results seem to say otherwise.

The H.O.R.S.E. event at the WSOP was introduced in 2006 and was won by Chip Reese, and while the Main Event is certainly the largest and the winner has always been considered to be the “World Champion”, the H.O.R.S.E event with it’s $50,000 buy in (5 times larger than the main event) is considered by most poker pros to be the real gauge of who the best player is.

Winners so far have been:

2006 Chip Reese

2007 Freddy Deeb

and in 2008 an alcohol fueled Scotty Nguyen

Since the passing of Chip Reese in 2007, the winner of this event is also awarded the Chip Reese memorial trophy in addition to the prize money and the bracelet.

So what does it take to be a good H.O.R.S.E player?

Well first you need to learn the rules of all of the games, that’s not too hard, but if you don’t spend some time playing each of them you will find that Hold’em players will make a lot of mistakes in Omaha for instance.

Second of all you had better be good at limit poker because all the games are limit in most settings rather than No-Limit of Pot Limit

Third, all of the the games have one thing in common, you really need to have a good starting hand if you expect to make a good showing in the long run. While you may be able to rope-a-dope your way around the ring playing No Limit Hold’em with creative holdings, you will get run down in the long run doing that here.

Funny enough, my strongest game of No Limit Hold’em translates to my weakest game in Limit Hold’em and I actually do much better in Razz it seems.

Why would anyone want to play H.O.R.S.E anyways?

For me its about variety and a challenge but I find that it gives me so many ways to think about the hands that it improves my Hold’em game.

My first H.O.R.S.E tournament I ran deep, 28th out of 2,700 people and most likely could have done a bit better but had to give the tourney to a friend to finish off as I had to go teach a class.

So you are saying you’re a pretty hot all around player?

Nope, not by any means, I have a lot of weak games there, but I do think that I am better than the average high jumper when it comes to running all the races.


No comments

durrrr Challenge update: Full Tilt Poker


The ultimate prop bet, the durrrr Challenge is live right now on Full Tilt Poker. When I checked last night before heading off to bed, Patrick Antonious and Tom “durrrr” Dwan had played just a bit over 5,000 hands, 10% of the 50,000 hands the challenge is over and the pendulum had swung the other way to have Patrick up on durrrr by about $160,000.

Now many player would think, WOW! $160,000! But people that are familiar to the game know that amount isn’t all that much.

For those of you that don’t know what the hell I’m talking about here is a quick breakdown.

durrrr issued a challenge to anyone except his friend Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond to play him heads up

He is laying 3-1, $1,500,000 if you win, $500,000 to him if you lose, that over the course of 50,000 hands he will be up on you in cash. I fyou are up you keeo the cash you’ve won plus get the juice of the prop bet.

Games are No Limit Hold’em or Pot Limit Omaha High

Stakes are a minimum of $200/$400 blinds

There are a bunch of other rules regarding buyins and stack sizes that I won’t bore you with, but it’s safe to say you need a pretty healthy bankroll to play the game. I’ll have to win a few more freerolls before I can throw my hat in the ring.

Patrick Antonious, Phil Ivey and David Benyamine have all accepted the challenge with Patrick taking first crack at winning the prop.

durrrr and Patrick are playing Pot Limit Omaha on 4 tables

As of right now, only $18,000 separates the two with over $31,000,000 total wagered in that time, it’s no uncommon to see single pots topping $150,000

There are special tables set up at Full Tilt Poker for the challenge, you can check then out here if you want, you will need a Full Tilt Poker account to watch them live though.


No comments

Evolution of the WSOP

It’s late March, but you wouldn’t know by the way poker rooms are already hawking their World Series of Poker prize packages.  And with the way the new WSOP format plays out with the final table taking place in June, it seems like it wasn’t that long ago when the Main Event ended.  All of this got me thinking about the WSOP and how far it has come since it’s inception in 1970.

Back in ‘70 the WSOP began as nothing more than a small invitation event that satisfied Benny Binion’s curiosity of who the world’s best poker player was.  The funny thing about this event was that it had start and stop times and the winner was not determined by who had the most chips, but rather a secret vote among players.  And the WSOP would remain in this low key fashion for well over a decade.

In fact, it was not until the 80’s that the WSOP’s number of participants would break the century mark (no wonder Layne Flack questions Doyle Brunson’s gold bracelet total).  Eventually, the WSOP Main Event would start being featured on television and on mainstream networks such as ESPN.  The movie Rounders further popularized the WSOP by showing footage from the ‘88 Main Event during the flick.

But no one would have ever guessed what the WSOP would become after 2003 when a little known accountant by the name of Chris Moneymaker lived up to his name by winning the ‘03 Main Event and $2.5 million.  This victory set off a phenomenon where everyone thought they could be a WSOP champion and poker rooms played it to perfection.  Now many of poker’s biggest stars make their name through the Main Event and the number of participants is over 6,000 as of ‘08.  I can’t wait to see how much it will grow in 2009!

No comments

WSOP gets an Upgrade

Even though the WSOP Main Event is the greatest poker tournament in the world there have been plenty of complaints voiced about the way its run and its structure.  The two main complaints over the years have been that people don’t get enough starting chips and the Main Event not allowing enough poker play into the later rounds of the tourney.  And this is definitely a valid complaint considering the amount of people who are willing to pay the hefty $10,000 buy-in to play.

So in their quest to constantly improve the way the WSOP Main Event runs, organizers decided to give players more chips to start with at the beginning and added levels later on in the tourney to allow for slower moving blinds.  The WSOP’s tournament director Jack Effel said the starting chip stacks have moved from 20,000 chips to 30,000 in the Main Event which is a huge increase and one that is sure to attract more potential players.

Effel said this move was made mainly in response to the slow economic times the US if going through and the organizers wanted to make sure people were getting a good value out of their buy-in.  But even though this move has been made because of the US’s faltering economy Effel definitely thinks that the changes made will be permanent.

I personally think this is a good move since it will lower the number of good players busting out of the tourney very early on and increase the chances of pros making the final table.  However, I’m just wondering how much longer the WSOP will last now that people have 10,000 more chips to play with.  It already seems long enough!

No comments

Next Page »