Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2007 WSOP, Day 27: Welcome Back, Kaplan

Gabe Kaplan looks over the seating assignments for Day 4 of the H.O.R.S.E. eventTwenty-four return today for Event No. 39, the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. Of those returning, nine own WSOP bracelets: Daniel Negreanu (3), Dewey Tomko (3), Barry Greenstein (2), Thor Hansen (2), Mike Matusow (2), Freddy Deeb (1), Max Pescatori (1), Greg Raymer (1), and Chris Reslock (1).

And, at Table #71 in the three-seat, Gabe Kaplan will be coming back, too. Heading into today’s play, Kaplan’s 625,000 chips put him in 10th position -- right in the middle of the pack, though well behind chip leader Amnon Filippi’s 2,343,000. The average chip stack is around 708,000. When they begin play on Wednesday, they will still be in Level 44 -- Stud -- with a 5,000 ante, a 5,000 bring-in, 20,000 to complete, and 20,000/40,000 limits.

Most poker fans today know Kaplan for his commentary on High Stakes Poker, the Intercontinental Poker Championship, the National Heads-Up Poker Championship (in 2005), and those pre-Moneymaker, pre-holecam WSOP telecasts on ESPN. And a few of us still remember his days as the star of the hit sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter.

A lot of folks don’t realize that Kaplan has had a long history of success at the World Series of Poker. He played a Main Event final table with Stu Ungar, Doyle Brunson, and Johnny Moss (in 1980, finishing sixth). In fact, he’s made a total of six WSOP final tables, the most recent being just two years ago when he finished 2nd in the $5,000 Limit Hold ’em event. His other final tables were in Deuce-to-Seven Draw (one limit, one no limit), Razz, and Seven-Card Stud (twice).

Shouldn’t be that surprising, then, to see Kaplan advance this far in the big H.O.R.S.E. event. He’ll still have Greenstein on his left when they return. (Then again, everybody’s got a tough one on his left in this tourney.)

I’ve always liked Kaplan. Probably some sort of nostalgia thing from having seen him as Kotter so long ago. I do think he’s a great poker commentator, though. Not to mention funnier than a bag of hammers. I remember one episode of the Intercontinental Poker Championship where Stephen Wolff became short-stacked and had to push all of his chips in on several occasions. Every time he did, Wolff would loudly say “It’s not much, but it’s going all in!” A few times of this and Kaplan could no longer resist adding “That’s also what he said on his honeymoon.”

(Wolff is still alive as well in the H.O.R.S.E. tourney in 16th place.)

Hope to see Mr. Kotter survive the day and get welcomed back to another WSOP final table tomorrow. You, too, can follow his progress over at PokerNews’ live reports.



Blogger Cell 1919 said...

Cheers for the continued updates.

May not be commenting, but certainly reading :)

6/27/2007 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Kotter was funny and I always enjoy him on HSP. Knew he played many tournaments. Didn't know how many final tables at WSOP he had made or that he finished 6th in the MAIN event to Stu. Great blog.

6/27/2007 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

I like Kaplan too. Not sure why though.

6/28/2007 3:31 AM  

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