Angel flies to win

Jan 31, 2005 7:40 AM

Angel Word, a registered nurse from Bowdon, GA won the largest ladies tournament ever held in the South. She was the winner of the Ladies No-Limit Hold’em championship at the 2005 Jack Binion World Poker Open, held in in Tunica, MS.

In terms of crowd excitement and player enthusiasm, it was by far the highlight of the 18-event tournament, to date. Every showdown and turn of a card brought the standing-room only crowd to its feet. Fortunes and chip leads changed multiple times during the three-hour slam-bang finale.

At the conclusion, Angel Word was in tears. In short, it was everything anyone would ever want to see at a tournament final table. Too bad the television cameras were not here to capture the drama.

The real story of Angel Word’s first tournament victory started, not in Tunica, but at a casino in Philadelphia, MS. A few weeks ago, Angel picked up a flyer at the casino. She saw an advertisement for a poker tournament called the "Jack Binion World Poker Open." She also saw that the tournament offered a Ladies Championship event.

Angel made her way to Tunica, hoping to play. But, disaster struck early. She lost most of her starting chips in the first few hours. She almost went out, when she was down to just a few chips and moved ”˜all-in’ with Q-8, not exactly one of hold’em’s best hands. Incredibly, Angel spiked an eight and managed to double up. A few hands later, she doubled up again. Within an hour, she was back to an average stack. Somehow, she managed to stay alive for 10 full hours, and made it into the money. When the final table commenced at 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday night, Angel arrived third in chips, behind the leaders — Tracy Malvestuto and Gyla Whitlow. Finalists were eliminated as follows:

9th Place: Seneathia Porter, an administrative director from Birmingham, AL was the first player to exit. She lost with A-K to Trudy Wells’ A-K. Porter received $1,680 in prize money.

8th Place: The first of Angel Word’s miracles at the final table came when she went heads-up with one of the big stacks — Gyla Whitlow. Angel got caught in a disadvantageous situation with J-10 against A-K. The first four cards were 5-3-2-7 and it looked like Angel might fly away. But a ten fell on the river, which meant Gyla Whitlow lost most of her chips. A few hands later, Whitlow suffered another cruel blow, losing with 5-5 to pocket Jacks. Then, in a three-way pot, Whitlow took A-9 up against Angel, and lost (see details below). Whitlow, an event producer from Houston, TX, collected $2,520.

7th Place: In the same hand that eliminated Whitlow, Thuy ”˜Cindi’ Nguyen had pocket sevens. The hand developed as follows: Nguyen, 7-7; Whitlow, A-9; Angel, K-10. The final board showed A-Q-3-J-J. Incredibly, Angel caught a straight on the turn and eliminated two players. Nguyen was the higher finisher by virtue of her larger number of chips. She earned $3,360 in prize money.

6th Place: Jewel Spooner was the next to get cut. Spooner played her last hand with 9-9 against Karen Clark’s K-J. A King shattered Spooner’s chances of winning. But the lady who finished in 4th place in an event here last year did received $4,200 for 6th place in this event.

5th Place: Tracy Malvestuto, an environmental compliance specialist from Champaign, IL went out next. Low on chips, she made her final stand with A-K, but lost to Angel’s A-J when a Jack fell on the turn. Malvestuto took prize money of $5,040.

4th Place: Karen Clark was the next player to be eliminated. The registered nurse from Mayfield, KY came in low in chips, was close to the chip lead at several points, but failed to win the key pot necessary to put her in control of the final table. She finally went out in 4th place, worth $5,704 in prize money.

3rd Place: Trudy Wells, a procurement officer from Michigan was attending the JBWPO for the first time. She was dealt A-5 on her final hand against Liz Brown’s A-Q. Predictably, the lesser hand failed to catch up and Wells was dry. She received $6,518 for her efforts.

Heads up, the chip count was about even. But from the outset of the duel, Angel Word was the aggressor. She repeatedly pressured Liz Brown with raises, to the point where she was ahead about 2 to 1 in chips. After a few big pots, Brown was desperate to win a moved in with J-6 hoping to take the pot, but Angel was only to happy to call with A-K. The board was massive overkill. Angle made a full house — Kings over Aces — and won the last pot of the night.

Liz Brown, from Denton, TX was the runner up. Brown, who finished high in some online poker tournaments in the past, added $13,037 to her poker bankroll.

Meanwhile, a tearful Angel Word accepted first-place prize money of $25,261, the gold and diamond bracelet given to every tournament winner, a crystal trophy for the ladies championship, and a bouquet of flowers. Who could have known that reading an ad in a newspaper a few weeks earlier could have led to such a big surprise.

Heads up, the chip count was about even. But from the outset of the duel, Angel Word was the aggressor. She repeatedly pressured Liz Brown with raises, to the point where she was ahead about 2 to 1 in chips. After a few big pots, Brown was desperate to win a moved in with J-6 hoping to take the pot, but Angel was only to happy to call with A-K. The board was massive overkill. Angle made a full house — Kings over Aces — and won the last pot of the night.

Liz Brown, from Denton, TX was the runner up. Brown, who finished high in some online poker tournaments in the past, added $13,037 to her poker bankroll.

Meanwhile, a tearful Angel Word accepted first-place prize money of $25,261, the gold and diamond bracelet given to every tournament winner, a crystal trophy for the ladies championship, and a bouquet of flowers. Who could have known that reading an ad in a newspaper a few weeks earlier could have led to such a big surprise.