Tourney takes Okla. by storm

Apr 17, 2006 2:33 AM

Yes, Carol, that was a tornado that came through the Tulsa Airport last week! It did a lot of damage to the planes and cars out at the airport.

The Tulsa airport is only a few minutes from the Cherokee Casino and Resorts where I was hosting The Oklahoma Johnny Hale Poker Tournament last week.

This area of Oklahoma is often called Green Country because of the spring rains, but it is also known as Tornado Alley because of the storms that blow through.

I remember many years ago how the storms forced us into the safety of our storm cellar.

My father, G.N. Hale, was always concerned about the safety of the family! But the storm god was good to him — Dad knew all about the terrible damage that the tornado winds could cause, but they always managed to miss our house during his lifetime.

The year after dad went to play in the big game upstairs, a really big tornado came right down tornado alley and blew our home and everything away!

Despite the violence of the storms, in my youth I would love to go out into the heart of the storm and watch the lighting dance and crackle and explode, and let the driving rain hit me in the face!

Maybe this is why my first nickname in the poker world was "Crazy Johnny."

Crazy or not, we had a great turnout at the tournament.

On April 6, 100 beautiful ladies came out to play a little No limit poker with Mary Young taking first place and $1,800; Robin Wheat was second ($1,080) and Holly Dorland came in third ($810).

You can get a complete list of all tournament results on my web page at

The next day, 146 seniors came out to win the money in the Seniors only event, which was won by Randy Newell of Fort Smith, Arkansas, who took home $5,910. Taking second place and the $3,723 was Jerry Hunter of Tulsa, while third place and $2,847 went to Bobby Sadler of Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Once again, the seniors came through as this event raised $6,500 The Seniors Charities.

Then on Saturday, the Oklahoma Johnny Hale Open Poker Championship kicked off, and believe it or not, there was not room in the poker room for all the folks who came to play. There were only 30 tournament tables and it was a sell-out with alternates standing by.

At the outset, there was 300 poker players, each with 3,000 in tournament chips and the alternates were allowed to play only after someone had lost all their chips.

The Open was a two-day no limit championship, in which I played with the folks and of course got my two aces beat. Then I was able to enjoy hosting all of our friends.

Carol and I were so proud of our daughter, Oklahoma Sarah, who will be a world champion soon. She played with the best of the no limit players for two days and reached the final two tables, but the poker god said no, not this time, and she finished 14th and received $1,200 for her efforts.

The winner was Parker Binion of Houston, who walked off with $32,000 plus a $25,000 seat in the WPT championship scheduled to begin this week at Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Mark Quillman of Tulsa finished second and received $20,480, while Mike Taylor, also of Tulsa, came in third and took home $15,360.

Poker Tip of the Week

Carol will be hosting on May 21 a charity benefit for The Sign Design Theatre at the Gold Coast in Las Vegas.

She is the president of this little charity for the hearing-impaired children of Las Vegas.

Come out and help Carol with her kids.

Oklahoma Sarah will sing in sign-language and the kids of Sign Design Theatre will perform their show for you.

The nice thing is you can’t lose at this event.

The satellites and tourney begins at noon. And if you make it here, Carol and I will make sure you do not go away hungry!

Until next time remember to stay lucky.