Perhaps the most prestigous event for the professional poker world, the 50K buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event attracted the games absolute best. The player list was small at only 143 players but the list was a who's who of the game:
Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, Chip Reese, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Marcel Luske, Freddy Deeb, Paul Phillips, Joe Cassidy, Chip Jett, Tuan Le. You name a high limit cash game player or world class pro and they were most likely playing in this event. Most figured the field would be small due to steep price of admission at $50,000.00
but the payday certainly isn't! The winner of this event is taking home a staggering $1.7 million
(remember that the field is only 143 players). In fact, this will be the largest payday of any tournament field under 500 players!
For those that aren't familiar with the format, H.O.R.S.E is a mix of the following games:
S: Seven-card Stud high
E: Seven-card stud Eight or Better
It's considered the true test of a well rounded poker pro and only the best can possibly compete at this level and win. You simply can't get lucky and win an event such as this, particularly with the limit structure of the event vs. no-limit. The game is played just like a regular tourney with the exception of the game changes during each level end. In other words, after the first level is complete (in a regular tournament only the blinds increase, the game stays the same) the game will switch to the next game in rotation. For example, if the players are playing Razz they will begin a round of Seven Card Stud high for the next level.
The lone exception in the case of this game is that since H.O.R.S.E. is such a complex game and the final table is being televised by ESPN, the final table will be played in the standard No-Limit format. In my opinion this is yet another example of a network using their muscle to influence tournament play poker to the detriment of the game (but that's another story).
Mike came into this event with some good finishes and is considered by many to be one the best Omaha players in the world. We all know and have seen that his No-Limit game is world class so would that be enough to put Mike in the money? The short answer is no, as he went out in the middle of the field and didn't cash. Does that mean that there were no highlights? Of course not! We're talking about "The Mouth" here!
Seen and/or overheard during play:
Phil Hellmuth was late for play as usual and prior to Phil's arrival Mike was hoping that Phil would be seated at his table. When Phil finally showed after three levels were over, Mike saw Phil approaching his table and made a comment about how happy he was. It was all for naught however, as Phil was seated at another table right next to Mike. Soon after though, he was moved and Mike rubbed his hands together with a grin, saying "well hello Phil". This was an obvious taunt by Mike, the question is what would follow?
Phil Hellmuth to Mike "I'll bet you 20K that you never play another WPT event until the final table format changes." This was in reference to the fact that in WPT events the blinds increase at a staggering rate due to the made-for-tv format. Many players including Mike have complained about this. The comment was most likely made within earshot of Lyle Berman, owner of the World Poker Tour.
"When's this hold'em round get over so we can get back to the action games?" - Mike Matusow
"Phil, I got the whole rail licking their chops whenever I look over at you." - Matusow to Phil Hellmuth
"I'll run through the Amazon room buff naked if Phil wins this event." - Mike Matusow
"Now I know who my second favorite player to win the event is." - Greg Raymer, in response to hearing Mike's bet.One of the few online poker rooms that offer HORSE cash games can be found here.