2006 World Series of Poker

Tue, 03 Jun 2008 02:35

2006 World Series of Poker

A summary of 2006 world series of poker.

If 2006 suffered from a series of super typhoons and earthquakes that rocked the world from its nonetheless placid existence, digits for the biggest Main Event prize pool only went higher than ever -- enough to create a storm in 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) challenge.  The event's $12,000,000 grand prize was larger than any sports event in the world, where players don't even need to exert much of the physical effort or train strenuously, if they can just sit around and use their cunning skills and experience to outplay all contenders at the table.  Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds it is.  But with the perks of playing opposite famous personalities like Charles Barkley, Dean Cain, Brad Garrett, and Lennox Lewis, this could only mark the biggest event for 2006.  Like a real battle of the Titans, poker legends were all there to support the annual series.  Dan Harrington, who is famous for his sleek moves and conservative play was among the popular names on the field, together with back-to-back WSOP champion, Doyle Brunson, and 2003 bracelet holder, Chris Moneymaker.  The event was similar to a red carpet affair for poker stars.  However, the only difference is how celebrities are mostly dressed not in tuxedos, but in casual attires, where they're most comfortable while playing with their cards.  There's no confirmation whether or not Rio Hotel and Casino Resort at West Flamingo Road will finally replace the great Binion Horseshoe Casino at Downtown Las Vegas as the host for this annual tradition.  However, it could be said that the new venue could only have enough glitz and style to hold a famous following for the grand poker tournament.
The 2006 WSOP was a life-changing event for new comers who now find poker more than just a hobby, but also a lucrative source of living and a full-time career.  For professionals, however, they could only bask in the glory of their previous victories in a month-long tradition for preliminary rounds and the championship poker battle.  The 45-day affair had its premiere start on June 25 and a successful conclusion of all the events on August 10th.  Seen live through the Pay-Per-View channel, more people were able to watch one of the most intense plays in poker history as it happened.  However, only the ESPN telecast was able to view hole cards before players may turn over their cards.

What sets the 2006 WSOP event from previous year's challenge is the addition of what they call the HORSE tournament with higher buy-in limit of $50,000 in just a single event.  More high-stake rollers were seen playing for this particular table, while another good feature is the "All-In" button.  Players may use the coin to push all chips into the money pot with common $10,000 stacks of chips.  If before, beige is the popular color for $50,000 chips, in 2006's tournament, brighter colors like yellow and tangerine were used for the $25,000 chip following the design of $25 chips.  It also came out as a surprise as $100,000 chips were introduced on the 7th day of the event, in which the mint green, black-edge chips were also patterned after the popular yellow/black design of $1,000 chips.

Competition for the 2006 event could only be more intense with 8,773 players on the playing field for the $10,000 No-Limit Texas Hold'em event.  To accommodate all players, they were separated into four sets on the starting day, until they were all trimmed down to just one group.  With growing numbers, the 37th annual tournament could certainly not do without the nerve-wracking raises, amazing calls, and ill-plotted bluffs.  Aside from these, there's the usual trashy talk on the table and the psychological battle between players that could only make WSOP a more challenging venue for heart-pounding poker games.  With more than 40 preliminary events, still, there could only be one main man for the year's event.  Lucky for Jamie Gold, he was able to steal the show from his opponents and emerge as a champion for the 2006 WSOP event.  Needless to say, he was $12,000,000 richer when he came back to Hollywood as a TV producer.  

Jamie Gold had a natural flair discovering new talents.  Although he had already worked with Lucy Liu, Felicity Huffman, and Kristin Davis, still, the best talent he had discovered could only be his own poker skills.  It all started for the young Jamie as a hobby while being reared in a household where poker is a keen interest for his mom and grandfather, who also held the credit of being a champion in gin rummy.  This TV producer first qualified for the 2006 WSOP event as one of the celebrity members of the Bodog.com team.  One by one he ousted players at the poker table, until he made it to the final play.  Even the life-saving saga of Mekhi Phifer, who played a role in "ER", and the undeniable strength of Superman played by Dean Cain in the "Lois and Clark" series, couldn't possibly stop Jamie Gold from beating all the others.  These two personalities, who were included in the  Bodog.com celebrity group, were all left behind after Jamie Gold took off with his winning streak, dominating the last four seasons of the play.  Not only that, he also outplayed other seasoned players like Allen Cunningham.

Meanwhile, on the heads-up game with newcomer Paul "Kwickfish" Wasicka, Jamie Gold received Q? 9? as a final hand, which fortunately made a pair with the flop of Q? 8? 5?, while his opponent was holding a 10? 10? pair of cards.  No more hopes were left for Wasicka to win, when A? did not help him in any way for the turn.  When 4?  was turned over on the river, Jamie Gold was declared the champion of the 2006 No Limit Texas Hold'em final table.  As the second-placer, the "Kwickfish" got $6,102,499 as total cash prize, while third-place winner, Michael Binger, also got $4,123,310 in money finish.  Allen Cunningham, who was named WSOP "Player of the Year" for 2005 and a proud owner of four tournament bracelets, only added the $3,628,513 prize to his massive winnings from different events.

Critics, on the other hand, attributed Gold's WSOP victory in having a cunning insight on how to lure his opponents into calling his bets when he has a strong hand, while he could also make them fold even with a weak hand.  When at the table, Jamie Gold could always wear a poker face.  He's capable of lying or even telling the truth, when he reveals to his opponents what cards he's holding in his hands.  Nonetheless, this unpredictable nature of this TV producer only made him a better poker player.  Also part of his overnight success was due to the fact that he was mentored by one the best poker gamblers in history, former WSOP champion, Johnny Chan, who had given him useful tips, while cheering behind his every move.

The list of big winners included Jeff Madsen, who won $660,948 for the $2,000 No Limit Hold'em preliminary event and was also recognized as the WSOP "Player of the Year" for 2006.  Jeff Cabanillas was at the top rank of cash prize earners as well with $818,546 money finish from the $2,293,400 prize pool of the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em.  He defeated the famous Phil Hellmuth, who's among the 621 entrants of the game.  For the HORSE tournament, David "Chip" Reese went home a millionaire with $1,716,000 major winnings from $50,000 higher roll of bet.  With three WSOP bracelets and over 17 money finishes, it no longer came out as a surprise for this American pro.  

The WSOP tournament didn't only witness the fall of previous champions, but also a promising career for newcomers and Hollywood celebrities.  The 2006 event was indeed, a big event with lavish prizes and more surprises.