Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Live Updates: The 1973 World Series of Poker Main Event, Day 1 (Part 1)

Day 1 (May 14, 1973)

3:55 p.m.: Welcome to the World Series of Poker!

Hello from Binion’s Horsehoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas where some of the best Texas hold’em players in the world will soon be gathering for the $10,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Main Event.

Play is tentatively scheduled to begin around four o’clock, although players are still milling about and it doesn’t appear they’ll be sticking to that plan quite so closely. Stay tuned as we find out together who will be the next world champion of poker.

4:04 p.m.: Collecting the Cabbage

Jack Binion is busy collecting the last of the 13 buy-ins for this $10,000 Main Event. Among those participating will be Jack “Treetop” Straus who is just coming off winning the $3,000 Deuce-to-Seven Draw event, as well as Walter “Puggy” Pearson who has already picked up two wins this week, one in $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em and the other in $4,000 Seven-Card Stud. Last year’s champion Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston is also back to defend his title, as is Johnny Moss, WSOP champion during its first two years in 1970 and 1971.

It looks like Binion has 12 of the 13 bricks of cash, with only Bob Hooks left to make his contribution to what will be a $130,000 prize pool, all of which will go to the champion. Stay tuned, as the first hands of the 1973 WSOP Main Event are about to be dealt.

4:16 p.m.: Tennessee versus Texas

“I’m playing this game a lot better than I was last year,” said Puggy Pearson to Amarillo Slim Preston just now as the pair wait for the first hand to be dealt. Recall that Pearson finished runner-up to Preston in last year’s Main Event.

“Like I told you before, if it wasn’t for Tennessee there wouldn’t be no Texas, so you’re lucky to be here in the first place,” Pearson added with grin.

“If you people from Tennessee could suck like you can blow we wouldn’t need to be shipping no oil there,” Preston fired back.

“Cut that out!” answered Pearson with a big laugh.

4:22 p.m.: Everybody Say Cheese

The 13 participants are posing for pictures now to commemorate the event. Action will be underway soon!

4:28 p.m: Cards in the Air!

After drawing for seats around two tables, play has finally begun. Once three players are eliminated, they’ll redraw to sit around a single 10-handed table. Here’s how they are seated to begin:

Table 1
Seat 1: Puggy Pearson
Seat 2: Sherman Lanier
Seat 3: Roger Van Ausdall
Seat 4: Bob Hooks
Seat 5: Bobby Hoff
Seat 6: Jimmy Cassella
Seat 7: Sailor Roberts

Table 2
Seat 1: Amarillo Slim Preston
Seat 2: Doyle Brunson
Seat 3: Johnny Moss
Seat 4: Bobby Brazil
Seat 5: Crandall Addington
Seat 6: Jack Straus

Players start with stacks of 10,000.

4:49 p.m: Chips Are Flying (But Not on the Felt)

The action has been quite slow to begin, with no major pots having occurred as yet. Amarillo Slim Preston has been livening things up for the considerable rail of spectators, tossing them $1 chips as he continues a running dialogue with them as well as his tablemates.

5:30 p.m.: Slim Collects

“Hard to fool is the world’s champion, neighbor,” said Amarillo Slim Preston after collecting a small pot just now. He’s chipped up slightly in the early going, as has Puggy Pearson on the next table.

7:15pm: Slim Sniffs Out Straus Bluff

With the board showing JhJs9d5cQc, Jack Straus made a hefty bet of 3,600 to send Amarillo Slim Preston deep into the tank. As the announcer noted Straus’s bet, Preston added his own commentary.

“Jack’s betting and Slim’s sweating,” cracked Preston.

He continued to ponder the decision. “How come every time you in there I ain’t got no hand,” he complained, and after lighting a cigarette continued to think about the situation.

Finally Preston set out a stack of chips to call, and Straus showed he was bluffing. With a queen in his hand Preston’s queens and jacks were best, and he claimed the pot.

“It’s hard to fool a world champion,” said Straus with a grin, echoing a line Preston delivered earlier. “That sucker won’t lay down nothing.”

9:00 p.m.: Dinner Break; Updated Counts

With all 13 players still in, they’ve decided to pause proceedings and take a 45-minute dinner break. Here’s a look at the updated counts as they do:

Amarillo Slim Preston -- 18,325
Bobby Hoff -- 17,325
Puggy Pearson -- 14,075
Sailor Roberts -- 13,100
Bobby Brazil -- 10,950
Jimmy Cassella -- 10,100
Johnny Moss -- 8,775
Crandall Addington -- 8,525
Roger Van Ausdall -- 7,500
Jack Straus -- 6,725
Doyle Brunson -- 6,700
Bob Hooks -- 6,000
Sherman Lanier - 1,900

9:45 p.m.: Play Resumes

Players are back in their seats, having enjoyed a complimentary meal in the Sombrero Room consisting of catfish, hush puppies, hominy grits, and black-eyed peas -- a suitable repast for the many Texans here today.

9:59 p.m.: Full House for Puggy

Following a 4c4h“8c” flop, Puggy Pearson fired a bet of 1,300 only to see Bobby Hoff raise to 2,600. After a brief pause, Pearson made it 5,600 to go, then Hoff shoved all in. That last raise had Pearson covered, but he nonetheless made the call, standing up as he did.

“I guess I run into four fours,” he said, turning over a pair of eights for a flopped full house. “I ain’t got the nuts.”

Hoff had one four, but not two, making Pearson an overwhelming favorite to survive. The turn was the As and river the 6c, and Pearson is now up to 31,000 and the apparent chip leader.

10:30 p.m.: Lanier Leaves in 13th

A pawnbroker from New Orleans, Sherman Lanier was the only amateur in the field today. Oddsmaker Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder made him 50-to-1 to win, the biggest underdog of the bunch.

While Lanier fought gamely against the pros prior to the dinner break, he was down to less than 2,000 when play resumed, and just now he became the first player eliminated after losing the last of his chips to Puggy Pearson.

11:25 p.m.: Runner-Runner Flush Sinks Slim in 12th

Down to his last 4,000, Amarillo Slim Preston just found himself all in on a 4hQd8c flop. He was ahead of his opponent who had Kh5h, but the Th turn and 3h river added up to a flush for his opponent, and Preston is out in 12th.

“Gentleman, there’s one way I can lose it... it come heart-heart... that’s what it come,” said Preston afterwards before leaving the table. He hasn’t gone very far, though, as his voice can still be heard clearly as play continues.

11:30 p.m.: Doyle Goes Down in 11th

Doyle Brunson has been eliminated in 11th place, which means there will be a brief pause in the action while they reassemble around a single 10-handed table.

11:40 p.m.: Updated Chip Counts and Seating Assignments for 10-Handed Table

The remaining 10 players have redrawn and are now seated at a single table. Pearson and Straus have amassed the biggest stacks thus far, having put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field.

Seat 1: Jimmy Cassella -- 9,175
Seat 2: Crandal Addington -- 12,650
Seat 3: Bobby Brazil -- 7,200
Seat 4: Jack Straus -- 31,700
Seat 5: Bobby Hoff -- 1,425
Seat 6: Roger Van Ausdall -- 6,900
Seat 7: Sailor Roberts -- 8,900
Seat 8: Bobby Hooks -- 8,150
Seat 9: Puggy Pearson -- 35,450
Seat 10: Johnny Moss -- 8,225

(To be continued)

Note: All hands and other details compiled from Jon Bradshaw, Fast Company (1975), David Spanier’s Total Poker (1977), and the CBS Sports Spectacular documentary of the 1973 WSOP Main Event. Editorial judgment has been used whenever apparent discrepencies between the sources occur, and some creative license employed to fill in occasional narrative gaps, time stamps, and other details.

Photos: “Binion’s Horseshoe Casino presents The World Series of Poker,” CBS Sports Spectacular (1973).

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