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 The H.O.R.S.E. Tournament 
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Post The H.O.R.S.E. Tournament
[Note: Although dated, this article is provided for informational purposes. - Admin]

The H.O.R.S.E. Tournament
by: Kenneth Bateman

A tournament within a tournament, the H.O.R.S.E tournament that took place during the current 2006 World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas ended after three intensive days of competition between some of professional poker’s all-time best players.

The tournament attracted 143 players in total and had a World Series of Poker record buy-in of $50,000. The most prominent participants were former World Series of Poker Champions Doyle Brunson (1976-1977), Johnny Chan (1987-1988), Phil Helmuth (1989), Jim Bechtel (1993), Huck Seed (1996), Chris Ferguson (2000), Carlos Mortenson (2001). And Greg Raymer (2004). Well-recognized professionals Mike Sexton, Mike Matusow, Annie Duke, Todd Brunson, Jennifer Harmon, Erik Seidel, Lyle Berman, Gabe Kaplan, and Daniel Negreanu, added to the all-star lineup.

For those unfamiliar with H.O.R.S.E, the game is a tournament in which five variations of poker are played in rotation, each game changing after the dealer button completes a round, or after a predetermined time limit.

The games are:

- Hold ‘ Em
- Omaha
- Razz
- Seven Card Stud, High
- Seven Card Stud, Eight or better, or Hi-Lo

At the tournament’s end, the recipient of the gold and diamond encrusted bracelet signifying the winner of an event went to Chip Reese, who last won a World Series of Poker event in 1982. At that event Chip took home $92,500.

Back then, only a few hundred players participated. Now, with unprecedented coverage by television and the Internet, millions of fans follow these events, and thousands participate. In fact, the 2006 World Series of Poker will have had nearly 30,000 participants by tournament’s end.

No-limit Texas hold ‘em was the only game played at the final table instead of H.O.R.S.E due to a decision by management (Harrah’s). Probably influenced by the games dominant popularity. The final table began with nine players, and lasted twelve hours, beginning at 10 PM on Friday.

The nine players at the final table were the sole survivors of the previous (second day’s play) in which 127 players participated. That game began at 2pm Thursday and finally ended at 9AM Friday.

Former poker champions Chip Reese, the sentimental favorite, veteran Doyle Brunson, and Jim Bechtel reached the final table along with tournament veterans Dewey Tonko, T.J. Cloutier, Andy Bloch and Phil Ivey, a popular and well-recognized television poker player.

Doyle Brunson failed in his quest for a record eleventh WSOP bracelet, busting out in eighth place, soon followed by all the rest, leaving finalists Chip Reese and Andy Bloch to battle for the big prize.

The play was neck and neck until 8:37 AM, when Bloch went all-in with his last $300,000 with a nine-high, but Reese’s ace-high ended the game, and Chip walked away with his biggest tournament paycheck ever, more than $1.78 million.

Coming in at the WSOP tournament’s halfway mark, the HORSE competition turned out to be the event’s all-star game. Gary Thompson, WSOP communications director said HORSE was added upon the advice of many veteran players who were of the opinion that competition at different games, with a five times higher than any previous amount buy-in, was a needed high profile event that would give the participants a chance to showcase their skills at a variety of games.

About The Author
Kenneth Bateman writes numerous articles on the subject of poker and its players. To read more player profiles, visit

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This article was posted by permission.

Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:55 am
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