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WORLD POKER TOUR

People have been extremely fascinated in poker ever since the World Poker Tour started airing Texas Hold’em. WPT’s president, Steve Lipscomb envisioned this. He had a powerful idea; he wanted to initiate a massive poker tour, which would include various poker tournaments (such as the Los Angeles Poker Classic, the World Poker finals, and the World Poker Open) in the United States and televise it just as U.K. was doing with the Late Night Poker Show.

Add to it some new ones, such as Eventualbet. com’s Poker Classic in Atlanta, and Bellfast’s Five-Star World Poker Classic $10,000 buy-in WPT championships. That is the World Poker Tour (It is being broadcast on Travel Channel currently). Capital is required to bring any good ideas into existence; several studio executive houses ridiculed the idea in 2001, but Lyle Berman had envisaged success and he invested $3 million. (As a matter of fact, Lyle is a member amongst the two dozen or so members of the Poker Hall of Fame).

New players such as Gus Hansen (won three WPT events) came into existence; also players such as Howard Lederer ‘the professor’ (won two WPT events), apart from the fact that it has demonstrated to the world that anybody could play, and succeed, at a Hold’em tournament. The spectators who watched were thankful to the WPT for they learned hold’em poker was a simple game to play. The following are a few of the strategic poker hands, which had been played in the first two years of WPT.

KASSEM ‘FREDDY’ DEEB’S LAYDOWN

At the final table of the World Poker Tour event in May 2001, the multiplicity of poker came to light: the Bellagio’s $10,000 buy-in no-limit Hold’em tournament. This is a rundown of the action in the spirit of soccer’s World Cup. Denmark’s Gus Hansen beat Vietnam’s Scotty Nguyen initially. Then Denmark beat Switzerland’s Chris Bigler. After that, Indonesia’s John Juanda eliminated United State’s John ‘World’ Hennigan.

Lebanon’s Freddy Deeb was eliminated by Denmark, who had a Queen and ten while Lebanon had an Ace and a King (the Queen and ten became known for it’s crucial role in Rober Varkonyi’s victory at the 2002 World Series of Poker). Ultimately Denmark won the first prize worth $560,000 when his pair of Kings stood up to Indonesia’s Ace and Jack. Gus Hansen, the poker winner of the first WPT event deserves to be congratulated.

When the proceeding hand took place between Freddy Deeb and John Hennigan, the blinds were being played at $5,000- $10,000 while the ante was being played at $2,000. Hennigan had increased and increased again in eight out of ten hands (Frank had announced on the TV that John was playing a speedy game and he would win unless he was stopped), and he placed an opening bet for $35,000 just then.

This time Freddy, who had a pair of tens, increased by $100,000 John could have been playing with an Ace and King, an Ace and Queen, an Ace and Jack (improbably), or a pair of nines, a pair of eights, or else any other low pair. Since John was increasing so hastily, it was probable that he would increase when Freddy could win. This meant that John had created an image that he was playing a wild game and he anticipated someone would increase the bet.

Frank was pleased when John told him that he did have a pair, which would beat Freddy’s pair of tens. When a person has a highest pair of tens and has put half of his chips into the kitty, and he antes and blinds are so big, it is not so simple to quit. The fact that Freddy quit afforded him the opportunity to go up from fifth position to third position, and add $60,000 to his stack of chips.

Also he got an opportunity to remain in the game and possibly win the tournament and the $560,000 that was awarded as the first prize. Indeed, Freddy managed to bounce back from $130,000 to $500,000 in chips, finally challenging Gus Hansen and John Juanda for the title. All of this was possible because he quit with his pair of tens (a fantastic move).

NOR’EASTERS BLOWING THROUGH

Two WPT’s took place consecutively in one week in 2002 one of them was held in Salt Lake City and the other was held in Cincinnati this meant that several of the world’s top ranking poker players would fly from one place to another. The final six players would not only appear on TV but also they would win the huge prizes offered by the WPT of late.

There are many egoistical poker players in the world (of which Frank was one), particularly the big time players, appearing on the TV currently was a major aspect. The first event at the Lucy’s Odds Casino in Cincinnati, Frank reached the final six and he had $433,000 in chips and he was very optimistic about the following day.

The game started at 12.30 p.m. on Sunday, and halted when six players remained, it was approximately 4.30 a.m. Paul Darden (a young black player who is making a name for himself) from Connecticut was amongst the final six players. Frank was disappointed as he ended up in fourth position, winning the $34,000 prize; he observed while Paul played poker very well and won the first prize of $160,000, this comprised of a $25,000 buy-in seat at the April 2003 WPT finals.

This was Paul’s (nor’easter) first victory. The Lucy’s Odds tournament concluded on Monday, every champion (and WPT staff, cameramen, and commentators) headed for the Woods Casino in Cincinnati on Tuesday so they could attend Thursday’s $10,000 buy-in tournament. When they reached they were welcomed by a nor’easter storm, which was dreadful for a person who hailed from California.

It rained cats and dogs! At any rate, every one of the ninety players paid $10,200 to play; the first prize was to be $360,000 at this event. Frank and another forty-four players made it to the second day, he had approximately $18,800 in chips, however, and he didn’t make it further than that. Tony Ma had a pair of Kings while Frank had a pair of Queens.

The second day of play began at 4.00 p.m., and six players remained when the play ended at 6.30 a.m. the following day. European Poker players are known for their staying power, good physical conditioning will be useful during the long, stressed out game. Frank stayed around until the end, to observe the style of other rank players only because he was curious.

When he assessed them through the night, it was increasingly obvious that the two of the players were leaving a mark at the arena. Layne Flack and Phil Ivey did very well in 2002, although they didn’t surpass Frank. Phil Ivey had been victorious at three WSOP events in 2002; this has only been achieved twice before in poker history.

However, Layne Flack wasn’t too far behind in his achievements in the year 2002, since Layne had won two WSOP events too. Layne Flack managed to make more money during the two victories, and they were both for no-limit Hold’em.

It was going to be quite a confrontation! Phil returned on the third day with a $280,000 lead, while Layne had $270,000 the confrontation between both top poker players promised to be very exciting to the world that year. One could term it as ‘the Layne and Phil show,’ while the rest of the players would be termed ‘the rest of the story’.

Layne was volatile, and outstanding at no-limit Hold’em. Phil Ivey was also a very capable young player; he too was a nor’easter. Just like Paul Darden. Notice where this is leading?  Phil had previously won four WSOP events and because he looked like Tiger he was called the ‘Tiger Woods of Poker’.

Hold it there, one more nor’easter named Howard Lederer was also present at the final table, and he had $93,000 in chips. Howard was raised in New York, which is on the East Coast for many years before he moved to Las Vegas. This particular hand happened between Howard Lederer and Layne Flack, when only seven players remained.

Layne was in first position and he placed an opening bet of $6,000, and then Howard took a moment to scrutinize Layne and then he moved all-in for $26,000. Layne called and turned his cards face up, revealing a pair of eights. At this point, Howard turned his cards face up to reveal a King and Jack, the flop turned up an eight, a Jack and a Queen.

Howard got out of his chair to leave as Layne had a trio of eights, which meant the only way Howard could beat him was if two particular cards would be revealed. Afterwards Howard confided to Frank that he truly felt he would have to be on his way to the airport to go home games . Hold on a second, Howard, the card at the turn was a Jack; this meant that Howard had a trio of Jacks.

Nonetheless, Layne’s hand was better, since he had a full house, eights full of Jacks. Howard could only win over the eights full of Jacks if he got a Jack, a Queen or a King. Howard got the precise card that he required. Howard mentioned to Frank that the kitty had been thrilling where he was only a 12-to-10 underdog at the time he had placed the bet. That’s right, Howard was a 12-to-10 underdog when he placed the bet, but he was a 20-to1 dog after the flop.

Howard managed to remain amongst the final six after surviving the all-in; one of the other players had been eliminated. The player who didn’t make it was a brilliant no-limit Hold’em player in the world at the time, woman or man, Kathy Liebert.  Layne had the Queen of hearts and a ten of hearts while she had a pair of Kings and he called her all-in bet, he got a flush. (As a matter of fact, WPT would have liked to have yet another woman player amongst the final six).

Everyone felt that Phil and Layne would be the final two players, but it didn’t happen (Ivey ended up in the fourth position). In its place, Howard and Layne Flack ended up as the finalists, as Howard managed to turn his $93,000 into a healthy stack of chips. For your information, Howard won the WSOP event in 2002, and experienced  (he was a high stakes poker player for the past 15 years) a face off match against Layne and emerging the winner. The winners of both the major WPT tournaments turned out to be nor’easters: Paul Darden and Howard Lederer deserved to be congratulated.



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