Frozen in time: 2006 WSOP $50k H.O.R.S.E.

In 2006 Harrah’s added a new tournament to the WSOP mix. The $50k H.O.R.S.E. was the highest buy-in event ever and was the first WSOP tourney to break the $10k buy-in of the Main Event. The mix of hold’em, Omaha, razz, stud and stud eight or better attracted 143 of the best poker players in the world.

1. The crowd

It might look odd if you’re used to the glitzy spectacle of final tables at the World Series today, but in 2006 anyone could get close to the action. The heads-up between Bloch and Reese went on for an unprecedented seven hours, concluding just after 9am. The stragglers left here – and the two players – deserve a medal.

2. Chip Reese

Reese was acknowledged as one of the best all-round players in the world, but was predominantly a cash player. This was his crowning glory and it cemented his legacy after he died at his Vegas home in December 2007. The Chip Reese Memorial Trophy has been given to the winner of the $50k event since.

3. Andy Bloch

Bloch fought his way through a tough final table to get heads-up, featuring Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, TJ Cloutier and Patrik Antonius. The $1,029,600 he got for second place is his biggest win, although he came close to winning the same event in 2012 when he finished third.

Watch it!

The decision to play the final table as no-limit hold’em was criticised and it was switched in 2007. However, falling ratings led to the event being dropped by ESPN in 2009. As Daniel Negreanu said, ‘No one wants to watch HORSE on TV.’

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