It's 8:30 a.m. as I write this blog and I've been covering the final table since 9 p.m. last night. I've given up trying to wait for the end to come. I will be there to catch the final moments in photograph but the minute it's over I will collapse from exhaustion and seemingly facile tasks like writing and publishing a blog may be completely beyond me.
Hopes were high and speculation about how this event would turn out has been at the forefront of many conversations here at the T.J. Cloutier, Chip Reese, Phil Ivey, David Singer, Andy Bloch, Jim Bechtel, Dewey Tomko, Patrik Antonius and last but certainly not least, Doyle Brunson, were the participants here tonight. A better final table could hardly be constructed by the imagination of any poker fan.
Although this event was a mixed game, as the name H.O.R.S.E. signifies, final table play was strictly No-Limit Hold'em. Drawing the biggest crowd yet, and with the biggest purse so far this year, the action tonight was hot.
With all the big names at the table came some great talents as well. Doyle Brunson was within striking distance of taking the lead in the race for the most career WSOP bracelets and Phil Ivey saw a great chance to add one more to his growing portfolio, but alas it was not to be.
However, with the victory in this event comes something more than just another bracelet. Even the money takes a backseat to the prestige and respect bestowed upon the player able to best what is perhaps the most competitive field in any World Series tournament to date.
There was plenty of post-flop play tonight, but four of the eliminations were decided in pre-flop all-in confrontations. Dewey Tomko, David Singer, T.J. Cloutier and Jim Bechtel were all relatively short-stacked when they made their all-in moves and all four were called with significantly better hands. The cards were falling true to statistics as none of their hands were able to improve to stay alive.
Whoever emerges victorious from this epic heads-up battle, one thing is for sure. This year's H.O.R.S.E. Event will be one to remember and it has certainly set the stage for many great tournaments in years to come.