Four people went home with a nice amount of change from the Conine Celebrity Poker Classic at Studz Poker Club at Calder Casino & Racing.
The tournament offered a seat to the next year's World Series of Poker main event (worth $10,000), but instead the final four players remaining split the $7,500 cash option, meaning they each scored $1,875. They then played it out for the bonus prizes: a $10,000 poker-themed Corum men’s watch; a 5-day trip to Costa Rica; and a 3-day, 2-night stay at the Clevelander Hotel.
First place went to Steve Zaffos of Weston, and he was photographed with event co-chair Greg Marsh (left) and Mr. Marlin himself. The three others who chopped were: Joe Ankus, Miramar; Kristin Kessler, Coral Springs; and Soren Morales, Miami.
"After last year's success, we really wanted to hit another home run this year," said Calder's President Austin Miller. "Jeff and Cindy Conine along with the hospital staff helped us to take what was already an amazing event, and make it even better - and the proof in the numbers."
I actually had a nice night, buoyed by a pair of kings that followed up all-ins of jacks and queens that held up and got me a triple-up. I slid through to the final table and was about in the middle in chips until I was dealt a pair of eights in mid-early position. I had planned to shove all-in (I have a tight image), but the player in front of me shoved, and I blurted out "call" without thinking.
And that was my one mistake, even though it wasn't that bad -- my opponent had ace-queen. Of course, both hit on the board and I hit the rail, irked that, as we all know, one bad move can end a tournament (and a chance to be part of the chop!), and cause you to forget all the good hands you played, races you won and landmines you avoided on the times you got it in good.