Ok J to battle Amarillo Slim

Sep 27, 2005 1:30 AM

Carol, please be sure you pack my red boots and white hat for our trip back to our poker home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the Cherokee Casino and Resort.

The folks at the Cherokee Casino and Resort in Catoosa, which is just a little east of the Tulsa International airport, have invited us to come and stay with them for a few weeks and host my 78th Birthday Poker Party, Sept. 26 through Oct. 2.

Now, my seventy-eighth birthday will be on Friday, and how do you have a birthday party with a poker tournament? Mine will be a $300 No Limit Hold’em tourney with a charity re-buy.

At my party, I promise not to sing Back in the Saddle Again, but I will be serving poker cake and green money.

My birthday party will be the kick-off event for the Oklahoma Johnny Hale Open, which will be held at the Cherokee Casino next spring — March 26 through April 9. Festivities will include golf, gin and a $1 million-and-more No Limit Hold’em poker tournament.

I have had so many dreams in my lifetime and I have been so lucky — I’ve always kept to my signature line: Stay lucky!

I was certainly lucky when Chuck Di Rocco asked me to write a column in the oldest gaming newspaper in the world. I was lucky as my dreams and wishes always seem to come true.

I have another dream, that Oklahoma — in the heartland of America — will become the heartland of poker.

Yes, hold’em poker was not created in Texas (which I have renamed Baja Oklahoma), but it was created in my home of Tulsa in 1952.

Two of our players brought the game to Bill Boyd of the Golden Nugget in 1953. Bill (a member of the Seniors World Championship of Poker) liked the game and created the first ever Las Vegas Poker Tournament.

I will send a copy of my book, "The Gentleman Gambler," to the first five people who can e-mail me at [email protected] with the name of that first ever hold’em poker tournament.

In terms of poker, what happens in Vegas, started in Oklahoma, got purloined by Texas and is now returning to its home in the heartland of America — Oklahoma.

To commemorate the game, on Oct. 9 there will be a poker duel between Amarillo Slim and Oklahoma Johnny, a Texas vs. Oklahoma poker match.

The proceeds will be for charity and for scholarships to Texas and Oklahoma universities. Also at stake will be this code: If I win, Amarillo Slim will have to call the game Baja Okie No Limit Hold’em for an entire year.

If the unthinkable happens and Slim wins, I will just have to call the game Texas Hold’em poker.

More about poker happenings in Oklahoma next time.

Until then remember to stay lucky.