The ‘general’ takes charge

Jun 13, 2005 2:34 AM

Poker is a fascinating game for many reasons, principally, the seemingly contradictory objectives and strategies required to win. Most believe winning the pot to be the ultimate objective of every single poker hand. Accordingly, we assume that the player who wins the most pots at a poker table would be the biggest winner, and that the player who wins the most pots at a final table would win the tournament.

This is not always the case. Winning many pots has a price. More often than not, that price is losing more pots than anyone else at the table. Ultimately, the objective is to win the pots that really matter. And none matters more than the final pot of the night.

In the first World Series of Poker Shootout in history, Isaac "the General" Galazan won far fewer pots than his heads-up rival, Harry Demetrion. In fact, Demetrion won more than twice as many pots as anyone else at the final table.

But Galazan won the pots that mattered most, resulting in his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet, and a first-place payout of $315,125.

Influenced by public demand for a competition that tests short-handed play, tables in "shootouts" are six-handed (not nine-handed), meaning that blinds orbit around the table more quickly.

Furthermore, it is even more critical to know your opponents in six-handed play. In short, a "shootout" is quite a different game than standard, full-table no-limit hold’em.

There were 548 entries in this inaugural event, each paying $2,500 to enter. The total prize pool amounted $1,260,400 — the fourth of six events that have exceeded $1 million. The final table composition included one former gold bracelet winner (Antonio "the Magician" Esfandiari), and one player who made it to the final table of the championship event two years ago (David Singer). The chip leader was Harry Demetrion.

Players were eliminated as follows:

6th Place: David Barnes, $50,415 — David Barnes went out just a few minutes after the final table started. His A-J was topped by fellow-countryman Demetrion’s pocket 10s. Barnes, who is a security consultant from London, England, has enjoyed phenomenal poker success in Europe. He won a European poker championship in 2003 and won a British championship that same year. However, the best he could do in this event was 6th place.

5th Place: Antonio Esfandiari, $63,020 — Demetrion’s dominance continued as he next knocked out Antonio Esfandiari. "The Magician" couldn’t pull off any magical finishes at this final table, and he disappeared in 5th place. On his final hand, Esfandiari had K-J against Demetrion’s pocket 8s, and failed to hit one of his overcards.

4th Place: David Singer, $75,625 — Again, it was Demetrion who put the finishing touches on one of his opponents. David Singer, a Brooklyn-born poker pro who mostly specializes in high-limit seven-card stud, was dealt pocket 9s. He lost when Demetrion had A-4 and flopped an ace.

3rd Place: Tommy Grimes, $85,705 — Tommy Grimes has made it to numerous final tables in his distinguished poker career. But the Houston gambler (mostly poker and sports betting) has yet to win a WSOP gold bracelet. Grimes got close in this tournament, but ended up busting out third.

Runner up: Harry Demetrion, $163,850

1st Place: Isaac Galazan, $315,125

Heads-up play began with Demetrion holding a marginal chip lead, which he increased slowly. Then, Galazan won a few key spots and seized the chip lead 10 minutes into the duel. A few minutes later, the final hand of the tournament came out of nowhere. Galazan was dealt Q-9 and moved all-in hoping to steal. Galazan had K-J and called, leaving the result in the left hand of the dealer. The final board showed all blanks, 8-5-4-5-2, which meant Galazan’s king played as the high card.