Good news for poker seniors

October 22, 2007 4:12 AM
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Carol, it sure was nice of the folks to send me all of those get well soon cards and flowers. Thanks, I appreciate all the kind words.

I went into the hospital last week for a little repair work, but I am Back in the Saddle Again, here at GamingToday.

On Thursday, I visited with TyStewart, Director of Sponsorship and Licensing Sports and Entertainment Marketing for Harrah’s Entertainment, in the World Series of Poker board room at Caesars Palace.

My long time friend Gary Thompson, director of communications and operations for Harrah’s set the meeting up for me with Stewart and also with Jeffrey N. Pollack, commissioner of the World Series of Poker.

I wish to thank Gary, Ty, and Jeff for the courtesies extended to me during the meeting; they made me feel very comfortable while I visited with them in their WSOP offices.

I sure appreciated all of their kind words.

They even allowed me to express my excitement about my 80th birthday poker party hosted by the Venetian on the Strip.

I expressed my pleasure at being presented a special WSOP gold bracelet by Benny Binion in 1980 for being the Best All Around Player at the WSOP.

In the 1980 WSOP I finished at the final table five times — a 2nd place, two 3rd places, a 5th place and a fourth place to Stu Ungar in seven card stud.

The commissioner advised me that the WSOP understood and accepted my WSOP gold bracelet as being one of a kind, similar to the one awarded Johnny Moss at the beginning of the WSOP for being acknowledged by his peers as the world champion of poker.

I was told that they would make an effort to find "The Seniors" WCOP Golden Eagle Trophy that was lost when Harrah’s bought the WSOP, or create a replica to be placed on display. The latter would have a plaque about the merging of the WCOP/WSOP in 2001 and the names of the winning champions.

I was advised that the WCOP/WSOP champion would continue to receive a gold bracelet.

It was agreed that the WSOP would create a positive marketing experience featuring traditions of the WSOP with me and my daughter Oklahoma Sarah Hale.

Many wonderful things are being planned! Here are just a few things that are in the works.

I’m creating a new tournament that I called "The Super Seniors" of the WCOP to be held in May of 2008 at the Rio or another convenient date.

I’ve added a $100 re-buy for "The Seniors" Charities in the 2008 Seniors’ event at the World Series.

These charity re-buys will fund a dream I have had for sometime — The Oklahoma Johnny Hale Youth Camp, in which a hundred or more kids are invited to go free to Arizona for a week at the Grand Canyon. One of Carol’s charities will be the focus group of this — The Sign Design Theatre for special children with a little trouble hearing.

These charity re-buys will furnish funding for a new Las Vegas charity, to be known as Lekotec, a lending toy library of special toys for special children.

I’m also working on creating a new poker event in the European World Series of Poker tournaments similar to The Seniors at the WSOP.

I have been writing a series on great poker players that I have played a few hands with.

Here comes one of the stories of great poker players of my lifetime, and Oklahoma Bob Ensley.

We where playing in the Stairway to the Star tournament, a poker players dream tournament created by my friend Bob Thompson about 30 years ago at the old Stardust. The Stardust has recently gone the way of the doe-doe bird, to make way for a wonderful new super casino on the fabulous Las Vegas Strip.

OK Bob was a good poker player and business man from Lawton, Oklahoma, one of the toughest towns in the world.

One of Bob’s businesses was renting temporary toilets and he named that business for me — Oklahoma Johnnie’s. When you have a friend like that you want to keep him close.

 OK-Bob was a good poker player but had never played in a poker tournament. It was New Year’s Eve and I invited OK-Bob and his wife out to the house. Carol arranged for our cook Billie to make the lucky dish of the year — Black-eyed peas and hog back. If you eat this you will be lucky all year.

I told OK-Bob that I would take half of him in the next day’s tournament at the Stardust.

Robert Turner and I have been poker buddies for 40 years or so and we are playing in a $1,000 satellite for a seat in tomorrows tournament at the Stardust. Well, I get a little ahead of Bobby and he wants to make a deal. His offer was, if he won I would get one-third of his win in the big tournament; if I won I would give Bobby only one-fourth of my win in that tournament.

So I managed to get beat and Bobby is to play.

So I am playing for myself, Bobby is playing for 33.33% for me and OK-Bob is playing for 50% for me. No funny stuff was going on; it was all on the square.

When we get down to the final table, only the three of us are left in the tournament.

Now here’s a question for you: How can I do this to make the most money in the tournament? Email me at oklajohnny@aol.com with your answer.

You might guess me first, OK-Bob second and Bobby third, but that is not correct. See what you can come up with.

OK-J Poker Tip of the Week

When you play skillfully most of the time you will win; why would you not always play your best game?

If you play haphazardly you may get lucky and win; why would you ever wish to play silly?

I have heard it said so many times, "I would rather be lucky than good!"

Why not play good and then get lucky?

Here is one of the answers: Skill will allow you to stay in the game long enough for luck to find you.

So play skillfully, stay in the game and when luck finds you, take the money home and count it there.

Until next time remember to stay lucky.