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Andy Beal vs. The Corporation

Recap of Poker Heads-Up Matches at the Wynn Las Vegas

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Over the years, mathematical theorist Andy Beal has applied probability to the game of poker and found new fame by repeatedly challenging the elite in a spirited game of limit Texas hold'em.

"Beal's conjecture," otherwise known as the "Beal problem," became just that for "The Corporation" - a team of professional poker players - who aggregated their $10 million and matched it against his $20 million in a series of private sessions. Over the next two weeks, the event became a virtual roller coaster ride for players and fans alike.

A year had passed since the burgeoning aerospace entrepreneur had gone heads up with The Corporation, but Beal returned to Las Vegas and the Wynn Hotel Casino to challenge poker professionals Jennifer Harman, Todd Brunson, David Gray, and Ted Forrest.

This is a recap of the two-week span of events. With its twists and turns and highs and lows. It was an exhilarating ride and an amazing story.


Wednesday, Feb. 1:
The high-limit area of the Wynn poker room was roped off, open only to Beal, members of The Corporation and Michael Craig (author of The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King).

The stakes were negotiated and the Corporation opted for $30,000-$60,000 limits, but Beal insisted the blinds be set at $25,000-$50,000 with $50,000-$100,000 limits.

The first player, celebrating the biggest win during last year's union, was heads-up specialist Todd Brunson and after five hours of intense counteraction, Beal was up $1.6 million.

Thursday, Feb. 2:
Jennifer Harman challenged Beal until the dinner break, winning $1 million. David Grey and Ted Forrest took their turns at the felt, losing the $1 million gain and essentially breaking even for the day.

Friday, Feb. 3:
Ted Forrest was back and Beal employed a more aggressive style, but Forrest was unaffected by Beal's change in technique and ended the day with a $2.5 million surplus over the past three days.

Saturday, Feb. 4:
Forrest returned, but Beal appeared focused and determined not to suffer a similar slide to the day before. Play ended at about 7:30 p.m. with no substantial gains for either side.

Sunday, Feb. 5:
The short session with Todd Brunson broke around 4 p.m and Beal was down $3 million for the week.

That evening, Beal boarded a plane to Texas. It wasn't clear if he would return for another round of one-on-one matches, but none were prepared for the events that would transpire over the next few days. Craig Singer, who represents Beal, issued a shocking statement. "Andy is done with poker … for good." The news quickly resonated throughout the press and created a wave of intrigue and confusion.

In a popular poker forum (The 2 + 2 Forum), Todd Brunson responded. "Andy has made these claims before. He is very eccentric and he may be back to Vegas tomorrow, or we may never see him again. Who knows?"

On Saturday, 11 February, Beal boarded a plane back to Las Vegas.

The local press began reporting and poker enthusiasts around the world were starved for updates. Soon the national press had their own distant coverage and poker forums were alive with speculation, chatter, and gossip.

When informed that he'd developed an enormous fan base, Beal replied, "I'm glad to hear that. It makes me feel good."

Sunday, Feb. 12:
Jennifer Harman returned to the felt with Doyle Brunson by her side. She'd accumulated almost $2 million at midday, but by session's end she was down $5 million.

Monday, Feb. 13:
Todd Brunson had won $2.5 million for the Corporation, but with an hour until break, Beal battled back for a $1.2 million surplus in his favor.

Tuesday, Feb. 14:
Forrest was able to regain $7 million of the previous losses, but with two hours remaining, Andy had profited $3.5 million.

"It's been going great," Beal said. "But you always want to win more."

Wednesday, Feb. 15:
Ted Forrest was shortstacked and unable to gain momentum. It wasn't long before his chip racks were empty.

The Corporation had depleted their $10 million bankroll and the game was over, for now. They dusted themselves off and prepared for the L.A. Poker Classic, to commence on Thursday in California.

The Corporation still holds a net gain over the course of several years, but Beal came closer to evening the score and made a reputable comeback.

Andy Beal returned to Texas, but not before he praised his opponents for their grace and performance.

Will Andy Beal and The Corporation return to "the trail of the richest poker game of all time," or has it run its course and reached the end of a five-year road? One can only speculate and hope that everyone involved are merely on another temporary hiatus.