World Series has come a very long way

Jun 13, 2005 2:29 AM

Carol, I know that you want me to invite all the folks to come out again this year when you host the Junior/Senior World Championship of Poker on July 10-12 at The Orleans in Las Vegas.

Last year you had 246 players and met all of your goals.

It was wonderful that all the players turned out for the annual charity no limit hold ”˜em tournament, and it was great that you could award $100,000 to the winner.

In a couple of weeks, I will be sure to tell the folks more about your annual charity poker tournament The Orleans.

But today, I want to talk about the World Series of Poker, which kicked off earlier this month at the Rio in Las Vegas.

There are literally thousands of poker players participating this year and millions of dollars will be won and lost during this year’s tournament.

I have been invited by Howard Greenbaum of Harrah’s to be the unofficial host of The Seniors tournament at the World Series on Saturday, July 2.

Then I will be the official host of The Seniors at the Orleans Open on July 21 at The Orleans.

I would like to invite all senior poker players to join me at both seniors’ events.

I agreed with Binion’s Horseshoe a few years ago to merge The Seniors World Championship of Poker and its logo with the World Series of Poker and its logo, and I agreed to host the inaugural edition of The Seniors at the World Series.

The Rio is hosting the World Series for the first time, and the event has come a long way from the first games held at the Horseshoe.

I played with Benny Binion and the boys at the old Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas before there was a World Series of Poker. I was out of town when the first tournament was held in Las Vegas. As I recall, there was almost a full game — first, six players, then eight and 12.

The first time I played in the WSOP was in 1980 — a quarter of a century ago. Since Stu Ungar won the championship that year, there’s been a lot of poker played in the World Series.

I couldn’t beat Stu (who could?) but I won the gold bracelet that year for being Best All Around Player of the World Series.

This year there will be more than 6,000 players who will put up $10,000 to play for the Harrah’s version of the old World Series championship.

Trying to imagine a room with 6,000 players reminds of a game I played with "Buffalo" Joe Baldwin of Palo Alto, California.

In one hand I sent my troops (chips) into his herd and that was the end of me. Buffalo Joe warned me, "Johnny, you should never go roller-skating in a buffalo herd."

Well, if you do play in this year’s championship event you will be skating in a really big

buffalo herd.

Over the years, I’ve learned to avoid playing against someone named "Doc" or "Lucky." Now, I know better than to go roller-skating in a buffalo herd.

Oklahoma Johnny Poker Tip of the week

If you play in this year’s WSOP with so many players, you cannot expect to win all the pots that you play in. And if you try to win too many pots, you will have trouble going home with the money.

So, as it is in war, pick the hill (or pots) that you want to win.

A good general knows that if he fights for each little hill that he will lose a lot of troops trying to take or hold hills that are not very important to winning the overall battle and the war.

You should play poker like a good general — your chips are your army and they are not expendable.

A good general will pick a high hill to defend. You should pick a good hand with which to defend your chips (troops).

If you do this you will have chips (troops) to play with in tomorrow’s poker battle.

Until next time remember to stay lucky.