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inaugural World Poker Tour event took place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. Six well-known players battled for a first
prize of $556,460. The players on this particular episode are a nice mix from the ultra-aggressive,
Gus Hansen to the conservative, Chris Bigler. Although this episode
was a nice mix of players, it wasn't as eventful as some of the other WPT episodes.
Scotty Nguyen, who happens to be one of my favorite players to
watch, didn't shine as he normally does. However, I did enjoy the interview with Scotty where he said, "Scotty Nguyen gonna
win it baby". That statement is more like the Scotty that I know.
There were a couple of hands I enjoyed, including one between Scotty and John Hennigan. John flopped
slowplayed his hand giving Scotty the
opportunity to bluff at the pot twice with
his Ace high. When the river came an ace, Hennigan led out and Scotty made the difficult decision to lay his hand down.
Watching this event on television makes it easy for us to scream at the players for making bad moves. I was yelling at
Scotty to give the hand up after Hennigan called him on the flop. He didn't give it up at that time, but when a card that
should have been good for Scotty's hand came, he made a terrific decision to finally lay it down.
The hand rivalry between Gus Hansen and Freddy Deeb was also interesting. After Gus knocked Deeb out, Freddy complained that
"he played very bad." Gus Hansen does not play the hands that other
"odds dictated" players might play. However,
Gus has a tremendous ability to play his hands and his opponents well. His take home winnings from the prize pool were $556,460.
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Hansen $556,460. This was Gus's first major tournament final table. He used to be a high-stakes backgammon player.
2) John Juanda $278,240. Born in Indonesia, he
began playing in 1996 and has two best all-around awards in the last five years.
3) Kassem "Freddy" Deeb $139,120. Born in Beirut, Freddy (pictured) is a Bellagio high-stakes regular.
4) John Hennigan $83,472. Former pro pool player from Philadelphia. He is more of a live poker player than a tournament player.
5) Chris Bigler $62,604. Retired businessman from Switzerland. At the time of this tournament, he had reached the final
table in three of seven major events entered.
6) Scotty Nguyen $48,692. 1998 World Champion. Scotty grew up in Vietnam and came here to make a better life for himself.
"Scotty Nguyen gonna win it, baby."
See also Bellagio - Season Two and