Thursday, June 26, 2008

H.O.R.S.E. Championship Underway

The event that is coming close to replacing the Main Event as the most coveted bracelet at the World Series of Poker (in terms of prestige, if not actual cash) is now underway - the World Championship of H.O.R.S.E.

H.O.R.S.E. consists of five games that are played on an alternating basis until the final table, when Hold 'Em becomes the game of choice:

- Texas Hold 'Em
- Omaha (8 or better)
- Razz (lowball)
- Seven-card stud
- Seven-card stud (8 or better)

With an amazing or absurd (depending on your point of view) buy-in of $50,000, the game has a short field (less than 150 this year), and invariably becomes a battle featuring nearly all of the most prominent professionals in the game today - Hellmuth, Brunson, Negraneu, Matusow, Lederer, Greenstein, Lindgren, Ivey, you name it...they're probably there. Last year the tournament was won by Freddie Deeb, and the year before that was captured by the late Chip Reese. The trophy awarded to the champion is now named for Reese, who died in December 2007.

In short, the winner of this tournament has a legitimate case for calling themselves the best player in the world. You've got to be great at all five games, you've got to be able to shift your strategy on a moment's notice, and you've got to be able to read the best players in the world. In other words, it's poker at its very best.

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