Robert "Chip-Burner" Turner, executive host at the Bicycle Casino, put in a full day’s work at the Bike, followed by a full night’s work playing 7-card stud hi-lo, a $500 buy-in event which he burnt up without breaking a sweat.
He came to the final table in the Winning of the Green tourney with a comfortable chip lead, played a lot of hands and gradually built up his stacks until he had most of the chips in play when a three-way deal ended the evening.
Turner, who has been playing poker and working in casinos since the cave man era, has more tournament cash-ins than anybody can count and probably holds the world’s record for most best all-arounds and most casinos worked in.
Final-table play started with 75 antes, 150 low-card bring-in and limits of 500/1,000, with 2:49 left. As he sat down, Turner was asked where he got all his chips. "I re-bought," he explained.
Paul McGee, who is in real estate, started with only 1,475 and was first out. On the fourth hand, he went all in with (10-6)7-7 against Michael Mueller, a general manager, who had (9s-Js)10s-J. McGee made 10s-up, not nearly good enough against Mueller’s flush. Ricardo Abraham was next to go all in, surviving with a 7-low in three-way action. The second time he was all in was his last. On sixth street, he showed J-3-8-10. Param Gill had 7-3-10-9, and Mueller had 2-Q-9-K. Gill, with 8-5 in the hole, missed his draws to a low and a straight, but Mueller turned up kings-full and Abraham mucked.
Ken Steinberg, a retiree, was nearly dead on hand 18. He made a desperation, all-in call on the river with just A-K high and lucked out when Gebrehiwet Goitom, with a low, had no pair. Gill, who made the no-limit second-day final table earlier, was now making his second final table in one day. On hand 20 he went all in on the river with queens-up. Turner, starting with three spades, made a flush and Gill was out in sixth place.
By the time limits went to 1k/2k with 200 antes and a 300 bring-in a couple of hands later, Turner had built his lead to about 36k. Soon after, Stan Zdanowich got hurt when he missed his low draw while Goitom made a Broadway straight on fifth street. On hand 29, Goldstein, showing 4-J-2-K, folded against Zdanowich’s 3-5-10-5, and was down to 1,100. Two hands later he put in his last 700 with split aces. Zdanowich started with (5-2)5, promptly hit a third 5 and then filled up on fourth street. Goldstein’s aces-up was futile, and he finished fifth.
As play continued, there were a number of all ins and escapes. On one hand, Goitom had all his chips on fifth street, missed his flush draw but scooped with two pair. All in again later, he later scooped Turner with a 6-high street.
When limits went to 1.5k/3k with 200 antes and a 400 bring-in, Turner had increased his lead to about 42k, while at the other end, Zdanowich was down to about 4k. He got away a couple of times, once when his trip 8s were beaten by trip kings, but survived with a low. He finally finished fourth when his 10s and 9s fell to Goitom’s set of 7s. The three finalists now made a deal. Turner had 38,800 in chips, Goitom came in second with 23,700, and Mueller finished third with 8,600.
Robert Turner has been working on and off at the Bicycle Casino for 14 years, and has also been employed by six other casinos along the way. His countless tournament cash-ins include a World Series bracelet for $1,500 7-stud in 1993, and a $130,000 win at the Golden Nugget for pot-limit hold’em about 10 years before that. Last year he had a seventh in stud/8 at the World Series and the year before a third in the same event. He also has five best all-arounds: two at the Bike, and one each at the Stardust, Caesars and Circus Circus. His favorite games are 7-stud hi-lo and Omaha hi-lo because they offer the most action.
His big hand last week came in early going when one player had aces-up and another a straight, while Turner, who looked low, had a hidden hand of deuces full of treys. That got him his chips.