6:15 p.m.*: Shuffle Up and Deal
The preliminaries are done and the six remaining players have settled in for today’s final day of play in the 1973 World Series of Poker Main Event.
As we noted at the end of Day 1, Jack “Treetop” Straus returns to the chip lead to start the official final table with a stack of 42,725. Puggy Pearson is Straus’s nearest challenger at the moment with 41,350, with Johnny Moss in third with 22,000 and the others all hoping to improve their short stacks.
Here’s how they are seated as the action begins:
Seat 1: Bobby Brazil
Seat 2: Jack Straus
Seat 3: Sailor Roberts
Seat 4: Bobby Hooks
Seat 5: Puggy Pearson
Seat 6: Johnny Moss
6:39 p.m: No One Taking the Bait from Hooks
Bob Hooks has been on the short stack for some time, and he just now open-shoved all in again and once more got no callers.
7:15 p.m.: Roberts Sails Home in Sixth**
The turn brought the -- a third spade that might have filled a flush for Roberts. But the river was the , making a full house for Pearson.
Roberts then showed his cards -- -- and the dealer provoked a bit of consternation when first announcing Roberts had won the pot. The full house was pointed out to him, though, and Roberts is indeed out in sixth.
Roberts didn’t move very far away, though, as he’s joined the lowball game at the neighboring table at which Amarillo Slim Preston and several of the other eliminated players can also be found.
Pearson is up to 54,000 now, comfortably in first.
8:02 p.m.: Hooks Hanging On
After pushing all in a total of 11 times without getting any callers, on the 12th try Bob Hooks did at last get called by Jack Straus. But Hooks survived and five-handed play continues.
8:10 p.m.: Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh, What a Relief It Is
Puggy Pearson just ordered a glass of water and some Alka-Seltzer, downing it at the table in one big gulp.
8:25 p.m.: Hooks Eliminated in Fifth
8:33 p.m.: Brazil Doubles Through Straus
Bobby Brazil just reraised all in for 5,300 before the flop, then watched Jack Straus reraise after him to force folds all around.
Brazil had while Straus needed to improve with . The flop gave Straus a pair, but the turn was the and river the , and Brazil survives.
8:39 p.m.: Pearson Busts Brazil in Fourth
“I played a couple of hands very bad trying to trap a person, and I wound up getting trapped myself,” explained Brazil to Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder afterwards. “But I’m not sorry, I learned a lot. Really, really tough competition -- they really are.”
8:45 p.m.: Updated Chip Counts; Three Remain
Puggy Pearson -- 62,000
Johnny Moss -- 45,000
Jack Straus -- 23,000
8:47 p.m.: The Pride of Texas on the Line
An announcement was just made telling the crowd of the updated chip counts.
“Well, whatta you think Slim?” asked Doyle Brunson of Amarillo Slim Preston, both participating the lowball game in which several other knocked out players are taking part. Recall how last year both Brunson and Preston were among the final three along with current chip leader Puggy Pearson, with Preston ultimately prevailing.
“I think we got us a fine horse race now,” Preston said to Brunson before turning back to the feature table.
“Play hard, Johnny,” Preston called to Johnny Moss. “We gotta keep this thing in Texas.”
8:50 p.m.: Break Time
The three remaining players are taking an impromptu break.
9:05 p.m.: Action Resumes
Players are back and have already played a few small pots as play continues.
9:28 p.m.: Puggy Calls Busted Bluff, Cripples Straus
Following an flop, Jack Straus led with a bet and his opponent, Puggy Pearson, made the call. Straus fired again after the turn card, the , and Pearson called once more.
Pearson decided to make the call, anyway, and when Straus showed a busted draw, Pearson turned over to claim the big pot. Straus is now on fumes.***
9:55 p.m.: Updated Chip Counts; Three Remain
Pearson now has nearly 70% of the chips in play.
Puggy Pearson -- 90,000
Johnny Moss -- 22,000
Jack Straus -- 18,000
10:28 p.m.: Moss Getting Mowed Down
Johnny Moss has now become the short stack among the final three, his stack having dipped down to around 10,000 at present.
10:37 p.m. River Ace Saves Moss
Johnny Moss opened with a raise to 2,200 from the button, getting calls from both Jack Straus and Puggy Pearson. The flop came , earning checks from both Straus and Pearson. Moss thought for a few moments, then chose to push all in with the 12,500 he had left behind.
The crowd fell silent at the announcement of Moss’s bet, and the lowball game nearby stopped as well as players looked on to see what would happen next.
After about a half-minute, Straus tossed his hand in the muck. “Well, Johnny,” said Pearson, “what do you got?” Moss kept silent.
“I think you got two kings or two aces in the hole,” surmised Pearson. “You ain’t got nothin’ else, y’know. At least, I hope you ain’t got three queens or three jacks.”
Finally Pearson counted out calling chips and pushed them forward, tabling Q-J for two pair as he did. He was right with his read, as Moss showed A-A.
Moss now sits behind a much more comfortable stack of 33,400.
“I was ready to walk out,” Moss said quietly as the next hand was being dealt. “I ain’t drawed out on nobody in a long time.”
10:48 p.m.: Treetop Cut Down in Third
The players are taking a short break before they commence their tournament-ending duel.
10:55 p.m.: Chip Counts to Start Heads-Up
Puggy Pearson -- 59,600
(To be continued)
*Among the several discrepancies between the sources, the CBS documentary suggests play resumed around 2 p.m., while Bradshaw says they began just after six.
**Bradshaw has Roberts going out in fourth, not sixth (after Hooks then Brazil), although the documentary shows that was not the case. Incidentally, both Bradshaw and Spanier report this hand in detail, though their accounts conflict with each other and with what is seen in the documentary.
***Spanier suggests this was the hand that knocked out Straus (“marked his exit”), but the documentary shows otherwise.
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).