Make way for ‘Okie’ Sarah

September 25, 2007 12:37 AM
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Hi folks.

This is Oklahoma Sarah Hale. You all know my dad and my mother Carol. Now I would like to get a little better acquainted with all of you and visit once in a while to help dad with his GamingToday column.

I will be telling you some of the stories from the whipper-snappers side of the poker table. I am playing a lot of poker now since I graduated from UNLV! I play at the Venetian, Sahara, Caesars Palace, Orleans, Aviation Club in Paris on the Champ d’ Elysee, the cruise that I am arranging with dad on The Freedom of the Seas, Foxwoods, — LA, Oregon, Oklahoma and a hundred other places that I go with my dad.

First, let me invite you to come on over this weekend to the fabulous and elegant Venetian Poker Room, where I have helped arrange a three day poker celebration for OK-J’s 80th birthday party with the casino resort’s Director of Poker Operations, Kathy Raymond.

I will be there with all of dad’s poker buddies and even Max has been invited.

I would love to play some poker with all of you. OK-J is now writing a series of articles based on world famous poker players that he has played with in his lifetime.

Today I am going to continue with that theme.

I can not name as many world famous poker players as dad did, but I can name some of the young whipper-snappers that are on the way up. Folks like Corina Jett along with some of the famous players dad and I went up against Scotty Nguyen, Dr. Jerry Buss {owner of the LA Lakers} and many others.

As for today, I’ll concentrate on my dad, "OK-J’. He’s my mentor in all things. Even before I was born, I went with my mother, Carol to all the old time poker events. After I was born, I had to stay home for a while with my wonderful "Nanny Jean," who was my nanny for a month until I was 10.

Thousands of poker players know about me before and after I was born. I have helped dad host poker events all over the world. I also have hosted the L.A.C.E. ladies only event at the Horseshoe in Tunica, Miss., The First Family of Poker event at Hollywood Park in LA and The Battle of the Ages — with dad the captain of his generation and me as captain of the whipper-snappers.

My father has introduced me to all the senior poker players when he acts as the Grand Marshall of "The Seniors" at the Series. Just this year, we hosted 1,882 of his senior friends at the WSOP.

I learn to play at my father’s knee and my first speaking words were "I raise the pot."

Then, there was the time I played with Amarillo Slim, a member of "The Seniors" WCOP/Poker Players Hall of Fame along with a few other things. Mr. Slim is reported to have said if a women were to ever beat him or win the WSOP, "I would just cut my own throat!"

Well one day, dad and Slim were discussing the arrangements for a poker promotion for a $1 million winner take all contest between them. I was an interested spectator and remember dad saying, "Why Slim you cannot even beat my little daughter OK-Sarah playing no limit Baja Okie (aka Texas Hold’ em)!"

Dad and Slim agreed on some bets and terms. One was dad sending out for a dull butter knife for Slim to use. Amarillo and I played a head up freeze out of no limit Baja Okie. The head up match was played during The Oklahoma Johnny Hale Open at the Cherokee in Tulsa. Dad arranged that it would be a best 2-of-3 head up matches.

I went with my dad to Ireland, climbed up to top of the tower in Blarney kissed the Stone. So I too have a license to tell a tale now and then!

In Oklahoma there is a saying: If it is the truth, it is not considered brag. I played the head up match with Slim very carefully at first. When Amarillo talked to me about how bad he had always beat my dad, I would just smile sweetly-and say "Dad, where is the knife. "Keep it ready"!

I beat him the first match, and he acted like "Casey at the Bat." Slim had nothing but displeasure at what he called my lucky draw out. In the second of the three matches, I remember the play of Jim Becktile, an Arizona cotton farmer who beat "the man" John Bonetti to win the WSOP one year. Jim flopped a small set and let Bonetti run with the bait.

I held a pair of deuces and got into the pot with Amarillo. Slim raised the pot about 20 percent of my chips before the flop. On the Flop came A-high, Jd, 2c. I put Slim on two pair or A with a kicker. I know that he is going to raise. I bet 20 percent of my chips. As quick as a frog on a June bug, Slim raised me all in and begin to use his gift of gab to try to get me to call.

I waited and went into all the Hollywood I know, then I asked him "Mr. Amarillo Slim why did you bet so much? "I did not want to bust you so quickly."

Then I said to dad, "Get that dull knife ready, we are going to need it as soon as I call." I just pushed all my chips to the center of the table, gave dad a high five and sang a few bars of "Back in the Saddle Again"!

I called, the match was over, and it was now up to Slim to cut his own throat with the dull butter knife! But you know my dad. He let him out of the bet for some seed money with the provision that Slim would have to wear a band aid on this throat for the rest of dad’s Oklahoma Johnny Hale Open.

Remember in Oklahoma if it’s true, it’s not brag.

I am OK-Sarah and I always Stay Lucky!!

What OK-J taught me

”¡ Be courteous and respectful
”¡ Turn off the lights
”¡ Be a safe driver
”¡ Be happy [today]
”¡ Look for Trolls
”¡ Always be a lady
”¡ Take care of my mom
”¡ Be aggressive in poker and in life
”¡ Dream big and make them come true
”¡ Raise the pot at every opportunity
”¡ How to catch fish

(I taught him how to put them back).