Right now as I write this, the biggest game ever played is being continued at the wynn resort in Las Vegas. 1 big bet is more than most people's yearly salary. The game's stakes are so high, it makes the "Big Game" played at the bellagio look like play money.
For those that have been living under a rock for the past year let me fill you in about a banker, a professor, and a suicide king.
For the past few months the big buzz over the internet was the 500/1000 online headsup matches involving kidpoker, Daniel Negreanu. Add in a couple of zeros, a real casino, a billionaire banker, and a collection of the world's best poker players that call themselves "The Corporation" (no, Vince McMahon is not their manager) and you have the biggest game ever played.
The Banker, Andy Beal, set out to play the world's best poker players at the highest limits ever.
The very first entry ever about this saga, that is now in its 5th year, was posted by Razzo at RGP.
"I saw the biggest game I have ever seen. When I walked in Chip Reese was playing a Dallas banker headsup at $10,000.-$20,000. Texas hold'em. Most of the great players were spread around the room. As I stood and watched, Ted Forrest got into the game. He sat down with a rack of $5K chips($500,000). Right in front of my eyes he doubled through to $1,000,000. Chip was pumped up too. He had about $1,600,000 when I left."
*On a very coincidental and shocking side note, it was this post that lead Russ G to discover RGP :(
Ted Forrest, ironically was not part of the initial Corporation but played the absolute biggest key in the Beal Matches.
So looks like some random whale decided poker is fun and wanted to donate just to say he played with the world's best, right? Not remotely close. The very first encounter, Beal almost ended their careers, cleaning out all their safety deposit boxes during the first part of week on his final trip of the year, sticking them for 5.5 million dollars. On the last night, The Corporation borrowed a million from various sources and put their hopes on Howard Lederer, the professor, the next Morning. The pros divvied up the bankroll and were playing the night before and Beal broke Doyle off for another 200k. That game broke up and Beal went off to bed, the Pros continued to play through the rest of the night. Later when Beal came back down, Forrest and Chau Giang (I love Pokah) were still playing and Ted Stepped on no sleep and recovered 4.3 million and Lederer finished him off to restore the corporations once empty deposit boxes. (that story was taken from this article
David Skansky actually credited himself for Ted being the only person to beat Andy that trip:
Dec 17 2001, 2:19 am show options
From: dsklan...@aol.com (Dsklansky)
Date: 17 Dec 2001 08:18:42 GMT
Local: Mon, Dec 17 2001 2:18 am
Subject: Re: Just watched Andy win 3 Mil at Bellagio
>Ted is a smart guy.
Those who have my video will see him in the audience of the seminar I gave that was included in the video. That should tell you something. And I'm not just being cute. He had already won millions by that time. The other high rollers never quit their games (during WSOP) downstairs to attend that seminar. I'd like to think that what you see happenning now is not just a coincidence."
The game has ran off and on since, however, there wasn't always an accurate portrayal of the matches. All sorts of "fish tales", more like "donkey tales", about how the rich banker would come down and the big bad corporation would send him home to Texas, etc. It was all mostly harmless hearsay until there was an article in the NY Daily News called "Millions From Texas"
that fueled the already ramped prattle and painted Beal out to be nothing but whale flavored shark food."Word is that Beal, who did not return phone calls, is down $40 million. But journalist/author James McManus, who's writing a magazine piece about the Beal game, says "Beal is certainly down, but that number is in dispute." McClelland says Beal was here for a day and a half his last visit, during the World Series of Poker. 'He lost $5 million and said, 'I'm going home.'
'His latest thing is he's 'never coming back,' says Doyle Brunson. 'But he's said that before.' "
- "Millions From Texas"
Beal was so rattled by this article, he wrote an open letter to The Corporation and had Barry Shulman publish it in card player."No mention was made that I won more than $10 million in the largest game ever played, $100,000-$200,000 limit hold'em, on May 12 and 13, 2004. No mention was made of the fact that most of the above-mentioned professional players have substantial overall individual net losses after having played many hours against me. I concede that I am a net overall loser in the Bellagio games, although the extent of my losses is often exaggerated and mischaracterized....
....Come to Dallas and play me for four hours a day and I will play until one of us runs out of money or cries uncle. If your play is so great and your wins have been as large as you claim, you should have plenty of bankroll and be jumping at the chance to come and play another $100,000-$200,000 game and win a lot more money. I should add that you can bring your own independent dealers and your own cards, and can play in a different location of your choice every day if you wish. You should provide a slate of any six or more of the above players and I will pick from your slate who plays. Observers should be free to attend in order to record exactly what happens at this game, so it won't turn into another fisherman's story."
- Andy Beal, from The World's Biggest Poker Game"
Naturally Doyle responded in an open letter in card player."As far as your challenge goes, we concede that you have more money than all of us put together. So, why would we want to get into a $100,000-$200,000 game in which we would be underfunded? We are pros, and we know the disadvantage of this. So, here is what we propose:
1. We will raise a $40 million bankroll and post it along with yours. (Everything is contingent on raising the money, but I think it is very realistic that we can expand and raise it.)
2. We will play 30K-60K. If either side loses half of its post-up money, it can raise the stakes to $50,000-$100,000. There is an old axiom that applies here: Get out the way you got in!
3. We will choose who plays and when.
4. We prefer to play in Vegas, the gambling capital of the world. Most of us live here, and what would we do in Dallas when we weren't playing? This is negotiable. The first three points aren't. Andy, I'm chuckling as I write this closing paragraph. If Bill Gates came to Dallas and wanted to flip coins for $100 million per flip for four hours a day until one of you ran out of money or cried uncle, would you do it? My money says you would decline."
Doyle Brunson, from Doyle Says, 'Let's Play an $80 Million Freezeout!'Beal went on to kinda accept the offer
, however, nothing ever materialized until just recently.
Now in the 3 open letters that card player published, you may notice that it was a cut throat battle to even decide on how and where the game will be played, or "home court advantage" if you will."Part of the edge that pros have over everyone else, at least as important in pure Super/System-Sklansky/Malmuth type card playing skill, is KNOWING HOW TO GAMBLE. "Making the game" is what they sometimes call it. It's the art and science of knowing what circumstances give one side or the other the advantage, and handicapping accordingly. When you hear the story about Doyle Brunson winning a humongous golf bet when he was no longer able to walk without crutches, it was knowing how to make the game, not skill at golf, that won him the money. Andy is a professional at weighing circumstances, assigning them percentages, and acting accordingly; that's how he's become so wealthy at event arbitrage. But in this arena, he's no match for someone like Doyle Brunson, and he knows it. That's why there's so much bickering over where to play, or who can make substitutions, or how many hours a day to play. The bottom line is that if the players get everything the way they want it, they should be a significant favorite. If any gets everything the way he wants it .... Well, the last time that happened, he won $12 million in one day."
The need that Beal had to set the record straight about the previous matches, birthed "A banker, aprofessor, and suicide king: Inside the Richest Poker Gameof All Time
" by Micheal Criag.
The book itself was received well by the poker community
and gave excellent insight to not only the games themselves, but the psychological aspects of it as well. It also accomplished what Beal set out to do and "dispel some of the misconceptions" about what actually happened in the games.
Beal vs The Corporation II is currently being played at the Wynn Resort.
According to Jennifer Harman, The Corporation II is a slight adjustment of the original Corporation with the addition of a few "unknowns".
"According to Harman, the roster had been adjusted, adding unnamed and less famous players. Harman explained, “They’re known around town, but don’t get the notoriety as do the tournament pros on the circuit.”" - Jen Harman
The Original Corporation was made up of:
Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Todd Brunson, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Chau Giang, Barry Greenstein, Ted Forrest, Gus Hansen, Lee Salem, John Hennigan, Ming La, Lyle Berman, Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, Hamid Dastmalchi and a few others.
The match is in its second day with Todd Brunson playing Beal and ending the day Beal
Beal Up 1.625 million at the end of the day, he peaked at at 2.7 million dollars.
Round 2 was Jen's turn to take a swing where she recovered all but 500k, however after the dinner break Beal said he was hoping she was going to play and they wouldn't sub, unlike yesterday's match with Todd. David Grey is currently in the seat right now.
Since its a "private" game there is only 1 reporter in the field that I know of and the most up to date and actually pretty consistent reporting is at Bluff Magazine Forums.
I heard from RGP that ACE tournament poker reporter B.J. Nemeth, who has left CardPlayer Magazine/CardPlayer.com to work for PokerPages.com
, is there also and should have an article up at pokerpages when it is all said and done and Episode Three will be in the works.