Seniors sparkle at The Orleans Open

Jul 22, 2003 3:20 AM

The Orleans is currently in the midst of hosting its 2003 Orleans Open poker tournament, which continues through next weekend. Capping the exciting tourney is the Championship No Limit Hold’em event with a $1,000 per player entry fee.

Congratulations to Orleans poker manager Mike Vento and his staff for once again staging a marvelous tournament.

The Orleans Open is so large that the regular card room has been temporarily moved upstairs into a very large banquet room. This was necessary because the first limit hold’em tournament that was held on July 12 attracted over 1,100 poker players.

The tournament is a non-smoking event, both during the tournament and when the players are playing in the live poker action games.

All of the participants must be 21 years of age, but on Thursday, July 17, all of the players were required to be 50 years or older.

This event was "The Seniors" Charity No Limit Hold’em contest in which each of the players was required to have been born on or before 1953.

There were 177 players who paid $230 for their seat in this special seniors only event.

There were a few players who tried to dress, look and act older, but they were turned away and told that they would have to wait until they too reached 50 before they would be eligible to play in The Seniors event.

The Seniors poker players who participated in the poker tournament would read like the a "Who’s Who" of the poker world.

There were nine members of "The Seniors" World Championship of Poker (WCOP) Poker Players Hall of Fame playing in the event, including Oklahoma Johnny Hale, Ron McMillan, "Tahoe" Andrews, Frank Henderson, Marsha Waggoner, Tom McEvoy, Dr. Max Stern, his wife Maria Stern, and myself.

A future member of the WCOP Poker Hall of Fame, Spike Gallas, was introduced as the next senior player who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on October 10 at the Grand Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, where "The Seniors" XII World Championship of Poker Tournament will be held.

Spike will become the 48th member of "The Seniors" WCOP Poker Players Hall of Fame when he is inducted during a memorial dinner for "Cowboy" Wolford.

The dinner is planned to follow a golf tournament for "The Seniors" Charities, and it is planned for Cowboy’s wife Evelyn to be the guest of honor during the dinner to remember and honor her husband.

A moment of silence was observed for those of "The Seniors" who had gone to play in a higher game. One of those who was missed was Bryan "Cowboy" Wolford (one of the original 10 members of the Hall of Fame. Also remembered was Loraine Arms whose sudden death saddened those who knew and played with her.

Each of The Seniors players received $500 in chips to begin play, and at their option for a contribution of $25 to The Seniors Charities each received an additional $500 in chips to begin the play of "The Seniors" tournament. All re-buys were generously contributed by the players to the charity, so of course Johnny and I were very pleased when all 177 players generously began play with $1,000 in chips.

The contributions continued and during the first one and one-half hours the players continued to re-buy for a total of 561 times, thereby creating a very wonderful total of $14,025 that was given by the players to "The Seniors" Charities.

Several cash prize pools were created:

Original buy-ins, 177 @ $230 for a total pool of $40,710;

Re-buys, 561 @ $25 for a total of $14,025;

Total cash collected was $54,735;

To cover administration of the tournament, 177 at $30 for a total pool of $5,310;

3% dealer’s allotment, $1,060;

Adjusted players prize pool was $34,340.

A total of 18 places were paid and "Oklahoma Johnny" Hale played a little bit better and reached the money. My husband finished 16th and received $345.

The other finishers were:

# 1 Jack Duncan, $12,705

# 2 Mike Laing, $6,595

# 3 Bob Craig, $3,605

# 4 Gary Huttleball, $2,405

# 5 Rich Lister, $1,715

# 6 Steve Chesler, $1,290

# 7 Ed Newton, $945

# 8 Harold Barnholtz, $775

# 9 Gloria Tschetschot, $600

All charity monies raised during this event will be contributed to "The Seniors" Play to Win program. The goal of this program is to open a special library where developmentally delayed children can be loaned toys and the services of a specially trained toy librarian who will teach them to use these special toys on their road to recovery.

Our sincere thanks to Mike Vento, The Orleans staff, and all of the wonderful players who are helping these children realize their dreams.

(Carol Hale is the historian of "The Seniors" Poker Tournament and president of "The Seniors" Charities. She inexplicably also shares the same last name as Oklahoma Johnny Hale.)