Reflections on the 2005 World Series of Poker
The 2005 World Series of Poker has come to an end. After nearly seven weeks of non-stop action at the Rio in Las Vegas, it is completely clear to me that the game is in great shape for the future. Here are some of my observations from this tournament and some predictions for next year's event as well:
Take this gem from the $1,500 Razz event: A poor sap is dealt a King and brings it in for the minimum. I'm dealt a 7-up (4-2 in the hole) and everyone folds to me. I raise. Now, this is an almost automatic fold for the bring in, even with two small cards in the hole. This guy called. Fourth Street bought me a 6 and the whale another King. I bet. He called. Yes, he called on Fourth Street showing a pair of Kings in Razz. He called me all the way to the end, with a final board showing K-K-8-J. Thank you.
Or, how about this one from the $2,500 Omaha Eight or Better tournament. I'm observing a hand where one player at my table raises before the flop, gets raised, he reraises and is called. The flop comes down A-2-7 rainbow. He bets right out and is called. The turn comes a 5. He bets and is called. The River is an 8. He bets and is called. He flips up A-2-3-4 for the nut low and a straight. His opponent turns up K-K-K-9. That's right, K-K-K-9.
OK, I can hardly resist another: 50 players left during the first $1,000 No Limit Hold'em with rebuys. Average stack was about 40,000, blinds were a low 400-800 with a 100 ante. Superstar #1 is under the gun and raises ALL-IN. For $60,000. Yes, the blinds are 400-800. Everyone folds (of course) to Superstar #2 on the button who goes into the tank and is clearly thinking about calling off his entire $55,000 stack. Eventually, he says, "Ah hell, let's see what you've got. I call." Now, any predictions on what these two hands are? What if I told you that Superstar #1 won a World Series of Poker bracelet a few years ago in No Limit Hold'em and that Superstar #2 won a World Poker Tour tournament and finished second in another & Superstar #1: K-K. Superstar #2: A-J offsuit. The A-J won.
Why was this the case? Well, in an incredibly large field (as most events were) there was so much "dead" money that the professionals were able to build big stacks early and survive some of the bad beats they had to take to get through the field. When the pros got to the final table, they closed the deal -- experience at the final table was irreplaceable.
I'm exhausted and poker-ed out. After spending nearly every day of the last seven weeks at the Rio, I'm not at all interested in going back any time soon, though I did take quite a liking to the pool tables at the Tilted Kilt (thanks Rafe and Rick Wampler for the easy, easy money& you guys are the best).
Phil Gordon is a World Poker Tour Champion, host of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, and plays online exclusively at FullTiltPoker.com. Get inside the mind of Phil Gordon in his new instructional DVD, Final Table Poker available online at ExpertInsight.com