Saddle Up! Richburg Wins $2,500 H.O.R.S.E.

The Man
James Richburg wins Event 16, $2,500 HORSE, 2007 WSOP

James Richburg is no stranger to WSOP final tables; he won a bracelet in the $1,500 Razz event last year. Having played poker for more than a quarter of a century, James has seen firsthand the changes that poker has gone through and felt the effects those changes have had on his livelihood.

With two bracelets under his belt and a total of three children, James Richburg has vowed to take down another piece of WSOP hardware, one for each of his kids. Despite clear exhaustion, we sat down for a few words moments after his victory.

Congratulations! This was a really long event, how did that affect you?

Well it was a long tournament and to give you a brief history, I was sick going into the tournament. I lost $13,000 in the 75 Omaha game the day before it started and went broke. I put my last $2,500 into the tournament, and here I am.

It's not so bad now?

No, it's not bad. It's good. But I have friends who put me in the live games, and so I share it with them. It's good for everybody. One of my daughters gets this bracelet; I have three kids. My son has one so there's just one more to go.

When will we see you at your next final table?


I'm probably going to play the Thursday Eight-or-Better and if not, the $5k H.O.R.S.E.

Are you a fan of mixed games over Hold'em?

Yes. I play mixed games at the Commerce in California. I live in Henderson, but the action out in California is much better than Vegas so I go back and forth.

What's your best game?

Any hi-lo split game.

Let's talk a bit about this tournament. A lot of people were complaining that the structure was too slow. Did you feel that way, and if so how did it affect you?

James Richburg
Richie Rich

I thought it was a little too slow because of the nature of the games. I think each of the games should be played for the same number of hands instead of by the time limit. Because if you play Hold'em for thirty minutes you might play twice the number of hands than in a hi-lo split game. Instead you could play 10 hands of each game and then switch. It's something they could think about in the future.

This final table was pretty low profile. H.O.R.S.E. tournaments usually get a lot less attention, so is it a good or bad thing that you're not at the feature final table with the cameras and a big audience?

I don't care one way or another. The people watching the tournaments don't affect me because I'm in my own world. People who know me would say that's true. I don't care about money and I don't care about publicity. I don't care about anything really, I just play.

But more power to them. They're movie stars. If they get something out of it, money, groupies, notoriety, then more power to them, but it's not anything I'm looking for. I'm just trying to make a living and be happy.

You say you don't care about a lot of these things that seem to be associated with poker, tell us about why you play the game.

Numero Uno
James Richburg

I've been playing for a living since I was 26, and I'm 52 so that's 26 years. It's enabled me to provide for my family and have a lot of leisure time. Compared to a lot of people who struggle with their job and have a boss to answer to, my life is pretty good.

Having played for so long, what kind of changes have you seen and how has it affected your success?

Well actually my games, the limit games, were probably better in the 10 years prior to the last three years when poker's really gotten big. No-Limit has probably hurt my game, but again I have no complaints. It brings people into the casino, and maybe they'll drift into my game. I'm a Limit player though; I've never really tried playing No-Limit.


The new craze is all for No-Limit, but there's only X number of dollars around and the really good No-Limit players will break all the bad players and get rich, and all the baby-boomers will go broke. Because No-Limit is the toughest game to play, and the great players are going to take all the money.

At the $50k H.O.R.S.E. event last year the whole final table was No-Limit Hold'em. Are you glad this tournament stuck to the mixed game?

I am, but I feel like if I have chips, I can play No-Limit. But it's not a No-Limit tournament, so why would they play that at the last table? Also, they already have a $10,000 world championship for No-Limit Hold'em. But again, I don't really care. I'll play whatever they play.

* * * * * * * * * * *

James Richburg made a great decision using his last $2,500 to buy in this event. Turning that into close to a quarter of a million dollars, there should be enough to satisfy backers, family and fund a few losing sessions in the cash games.

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