Four Stories From the Series’ First Sunday
Yesterday was probably one of the more diverse and interesting days in World Series of Poker history. Four tournaments were in full swing, including two final tables, and each held something unique and exciting for the poker fan to follow.
|7||$277,940||Lex ‘RaSZi’ Veldhuis|
The final table of Event #3, $1500 Omaha 8/b, took place at the same time. Despite a much smaller buy-in, its story was just as compelling. For one thing 918 runners showed up to play, the largest O8 field in WSOP history. And for another thing, the 2007 $2000 O8 runner up and 2008 $1500 O8 champion, Thang Luu, was at the final table again this year. Despite taking the shortstack into three-handed place, Mr. Luu outlasted both Ming Reslock and Ed Smith to improbably take the title for the second year in a row! I’m going to go out on a limb and say, should I find myself in a situation where a gun is pointed at my head, and a crazed psychopath is asking me to predict the winner of a WSOP Omaha 8/b tournament, I’m probably going to go with Thang Luu. Because, you know, I have survival instincts:
|9||$23,520||Senovio Ramirez III|
While all of this was going on, there was another little tournament going on in all four corners of the Amazon Room. The $1000 buy-in so-called “Stimulus Special” was running its Day 2, bringing the total number of participants to an even 6000, the largest non-Main Event tournament field in WSOP history. When the event wraps up sometime deep into Tuesday night, the lad or lady lucky enough to have outlasted that monster field will take home $771,106, enough money to buy the failed U.S. automaker of their choice.
Last but not least, was the Champions Invitational. All living former Main Event champions were invited — except for disgraced 1994 champion Russ Hamilton — and in the end 20 showed up to take a crack at the mint 1970 Corvette and the Binion’s Cup (though Peter Eastgate showed up late, and Greg Raymer only showed up for a few hands at a time, seeing as he was busy making a third-place run in the $40k at the same time).
It seems to me that the organizers of this freeroll missed an opportunity to create something really great; why not slap a million-dollar prizepool on this thing, especially if you’re going to televise it, to create some series drama and tension and prestige. As it stands, Jamie Gold was the first player out, and Carlos Mortensen holds the chiplead over Tom McEvoy going into the final table. At the very least they got a super-cool photo out of the whole thing.