If you're making travel plans to visit Las Vegas this summer for the World Series of Poker, the big question is which events should you go see. In this week's Top-10 list, we pick our favorites.
10. Limit Hold'em Shootout (Event 53, July 1-2)
This is a really fun event to take in because it is actually three tournaments in one. The entire tournament is comprised of three rounds. And at the beginning of each round, each player starts with the exact same number of chips. So the goal of this tournament is to survive the first two rounds, because the third round is the final table and you get to start all over again with a fresh stack. In addition to survival (rather than chip stacks) being the key in each round, blinds escalate relatively quickly to force the action, so there's plenty of play to watch and strategy to talk about.
9. World Championship Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better (Event 37, June 19-21)
This tournament provides a give fans a chance to see pros play a popular home game.
8. Ladies No-Limit Hold'em World Championship (Event 15, June 8-10)
On the pure fun level, this event ranks near the top. The WSOP has done a great job in turning out the celebrities like Teri Hatcher, Joely Fisher, Mindy McCready and Mimi Rogers for the event. Most of the top women in the game play in this event as well. And several of the players are part of the Queen of Hearts team that will be making a charitable contribution to the Nevada Cancer Institute.
7. World Championship Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em (Event 25, June 13-15)
Heads up tournaments are fun to watch, easy to follow (who can't figure out a tennis tournament draw) and completely unpredictable. Afterall, Orel Hersheiser recently beat Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham, and Freddy Deeb before losing to Andy Bloch in the Nation Heads Up Poker Championship. And that's something you don't see in most tournaments.
6. 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) (Event 40, June 22-24)
By definition, all draw games are fun. And triple draw games are three times the fun (and action)! But what makes this event truly unique is that it's triple draw lowball. And watching pros draw three times to try and get the worst hand possible is a great recipe for fun.
5. Seven Card Razz (Event 26, June 13-15)
This is perhaps one of the best games to watch as a spectator, because it's very easy to figure who has the best hand, even without the aid of hole cards. If you decide to drop by and watch this event, here's how it works. Razz is a seven-card stud game where the worst hand wins. Straights and flushes don't count against you, so determining who has the worst hand is just a matter of reading the board. The game is simple and very entertaining.
4. World Championship Pot Limit Omaha (Event 50, June 29-July 1)
Hold'em is the game that has driven the poker boom. But Omaha, which is already the game of choice in Europe, is gaining steam worldwide. And this event will showcase the best Omaha players the game has to offer.
3. World Championship Mixed Event (Event 8, June 4-6)
This is a new event, and it has been brilliantly conceived. The tournament consists of Triple Draw 2-7, Limit Hold'em, Omaha 8, Razz, Stud, Stud 8, No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha. The game will change every eight hands, and so will fortunes. My guess is this game turns out to be so much fun that it becomes a regular WSOP staple.
2. World Championship No-Limit Texas Hold'em (Event 54)
The Main Event is truly a sight to behold. Poker tables as far the eye can see. Thousands upon thousands of players chasing a dream. Electricity in the air, and drama at the tables. It doesn't get much better than that. But this year, the final table action won't begin until November. And that knocks the Main Event down a notch in terms of summer attractions.
1. World Championship H.O.R.S.E. (Event 45)
This event, started three years ago, has quickly become premiere event at the WSOP. In an interview last year, WSOP Comissioner Jeffrey Pollack called it their "All-Star" event. And with good reason. The $50,000 buy-in ensures fabulous field of top pros. And because H.O.R.S.E. is a multi-disciplinary game (Hold'em, Omaha, Razz, Stud, Stud 8), its champion can claim to be the best poker player in the world. The final table in 2006 featured Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson, Andy Bloch, Phil Ivey, Jim Bechtel, David Singer, Dewey Tomko, T.J. Cloutier and Patrik Antonius. The final table in the 2007 event included Anmon Fillipi, Freddy Deeb, Kenny Tran, John Hanson, David Singer, Bruno Fitoussi, Barry Greenstein and Thor Hansen. Wow! Wow! Wow! If the Main Event had final tables like these, ratings would shoot through the roof.