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|World Series of Poker Adds Mixed H.O.R.S.E.
If you're looking for an exciting ride, HORSE is your
game. It's poker's version of the pentathlon, where
players compete across five games, Hold 'em, Omaha
8/Better, Razz, Seven Card Stud High, Eight/Better
Seven Card Stud. Starting with Hold 'em, you play for 10
minutes, and then switch to Omaha 8/Better. After
another 10 minutes, the game rotates to Razz, then
7-Card Stud, and finally, Eight/Better 7-Card Stud.
Responding to the uproar from an assortment of professionals in the poker
world, Harrah's recently announced a major change to the lineup of events
for this year's World Series of Poker. Not only is it a definite concession to
the desires of the players but it could lead to one of the richest poker
tournaments outside of a World Series Main Event.
There will be a mixed game H.O.R.S.E. tournament added at some point to
the schedule of events for the 36th renewal of the world's greatest poker
tournament at the Rio this year, scheduled to take place from June 25th to
August 10th. While the addition of the event was something that notable
professionals have wanted, what they didn't expect was how exclusive this
tournament most likely will be. The buy-in is expected to be placed at
$50,000, an amount that not too many outside of the best in professional
poker can afford.
In another interesting move, the leadership of the World Series at Harrah's,
helmed by vice president of sports entertainment and marketing Jeffrey
Pollack, has agreed that it is time as well for the players to get involved in
not only the future of the World Series but perhaps the future of the game
of poker as well. A Players' Committee has been formed, featuring six of the
greatest names in poker today. Former World Champions Chris "Jesus"
Ferguson and Scotty Nguyen will join Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer,
Robert Williamson III and Daniel Negreanu on the Committee, with all
accepting one year assignments. They will regularly meet with Pollack to
best serve the players and enhance their experience at all World Series of
Poker events. A seventh non-professional poker player will be added at
some point as well.
H.O.R.S.E. is a highly challenging mix of Texas Hold 'Em, Omaha, Razz, Seven
Card Stud and either Omaha or Seven Card Eight or Better (also known as
Hi/Lo) that is one of the true tests of a poker player's abilities. Because of
the rotation through the games, a player has to be proficient at all forms of
poker, rather than a specialist at one. The event hasn't been a part of the
World Series since 2004 and, to be particularly honest, has only been
contested in World Series competition from 2002 through 2004. Harrah's,
however, has acquiesced to the players' desires with the addition of this
event, perhaps even including the buy-in level.
The buy-in alone should make the tournament a virtual Who's Who of the
professional poker world. If simply 200 players make up the field and pony
up the $50,000, the resulting $10 million prize pool would guarantee the
greatest first place prize for a tournament outside of the Championship
Event. Additionally, with the highest buy-in for a tournament in the history
of the World Series, it would practically exclude the recreational or amateur
players from entering a teeming pool of the greatest sharks in the world!
Harrah's must be commended not only for the addition of the mixed event to
the World Series schedule, but also for the creation of the Players'
Committee to hear directly what the players would like to see the World
Series become. The players that make up the committee are excellent
selections and all are known for their love of the game and their desire to
see it continue at its current success level. It could also lead to drive a
full-blown players' organization, as a strong leadership now is in place for
players to follow. While still early in 2006, the bold strokes taken by
Harrah's and the World Series has to be one of the best stories of the year
and in recent poker history.
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