The final 10 players all came away winners.
It has been the subject of movies, TV dramas and too numerous to count TV shows. It is known as No Limit Texas Hold-Em Poker and the Soldotna Elks brought it to the Peninsula on April 30th. With poker chips, tables, cards and other poker supplies loaned to them from Hawk's Games, the Soldotna Elks put on a No Limit Texas Hold-Em Poker Tournament. The tournament started with 129 people and was played until just one person was left standing. Numerous prizes, including dinner for 2 at the Soldotna Elks, dinner for 2 at the Riverside House, dinner for 2 at the Tustumena Lodge, 2 framed prints from 4D Carpet, $50 worth of fish or game processing at Echo Lake Meats, a Lite Force Light Set from Audio Concepts, 1 week stay at the Decanter Inn, 1 night stay for 2 at Alaska Legends, a fishing trip for 2 from Bo's Guide Service, a fishing trip for 2 from Ray Debardeladen, and a $1500 travel voucher from Alaska's Best Travel were available for drawings or given away based on how people finished. Along with the tournament, there was also a great Spanish themed dinner. The tournament was sponsored by the Soldotna Elks, Coca-Cola, Miller Lite and Hawks Games.
Players showed up to compete for prizes from steak dinner to guided fishing trips.
Since I have been watching poker on TV and playing it at home for close to 5 years, I thought it sounded like fun. I was a little nervous since this was my first tournament. Decked out in a baseball cap and sunglasses so as not to give away my "tells", I was one of the 129 that started the tournament. We were all given $1000 worth of chips and randomly assigned a table to start from. Since this was "No Limit", anyone could be out of the tournament at any time by going "all-in" and losing the hand, as many people did early on. I played slow at first, waiting for a great hand to show up where I could almost guarantee I would win the hand. Apparently, those hands are very rare. I was once dealt two kings and thought "This is it!', but when I made a minimal raise, everyone else folded. Since I was playing slow, I was able to last quite a while, but my chip stack was looking pretty pathetic.
Norton Dablemont with the winning hand, a pair of threes, wins a $1500.00 travel voucher from Alaska's Best Travel.
Owing everything to chance and luck, I actually survived long enough to be one of the final 20 players left and got to play at one of the two final tables. These tables were the true "Poker Tables" on loan by Hawk's Games. If you have not seen or felt one of these tables, stop into Hawk's Games and check them out. They are really quite amazing. This is where I experienced something poker pros call "going on a rush". For a splendid 20 or 30 minutes, I really can't rememebr how long, I could do no wrong. Every time I needed a card to make my hand great, there it was. I doubled up, then doubled up again, took 2 people out of the tournament and won a few more big hands. This "rush" allowed me to last long enough to make it to the "Final Table".
The "Final Table" is where the poker gets very serious. I was very intimidated and it showed by the rate at which my chip stack dwindled. I lasted until there were six people left and was dealt an Ace-Queen. This is a very good hand. I had very little chips left so I went "All-In" and push all my chips into the center of the table. Two people called my bet and we got to see the "Flop", which is the first three cards dealt in the middle of the table that everyone can use. The three cards were a 3, a 9, and a queen. I can't remember what suit they were, I was too busy counting my money. One of the people bet and the other one folded. I don't remember what the other two cards were, but my pair of queens was beat by two pair - 3s and 9s. If I had had more chips, that person would not have even been in the hand, but since it did not cost her very much to stay in, she ended up with a great hand. I was disappointed, but after thinking about it, I couldn't believe I made it to 6th place.
Here are the final 10 players and what they won: In 10th place was Dave Brown and he won a steak dinner at the Soldotna Elks. In 9th place was Bob Sizemore and he also won a steak dinner at the Soldotna Elks. In 8th place was Mike Bergholtz and he also won a steak dinner at the Soldotna Elks. In 7th place was Jim Brenton and he also won a steak dinner at the Soldotna Elks. In 6th place was me, Daryl Palmer, and I won $50 of game or fish processing at Echo Lake Meats. In 5th place was Jason Pallas and he won a Lite Force Light Set from Audio Concepts. In 4th place was Michele Robinson and she won 1 nights stay for 2 at Alaska Legends. In 3rd place was Rich Boyce and he won a fishing trip for two with Bo's Guide Service. In second place was Jim Davis and he won a fishing trip for two with Ray Debardeladen. The champion was Norton Dablemont and he won a $1500 travel voucher from Alaska's Best travel. Norton won the final hand with a pair of threes.
Overall, it was a great event and I think everyone had a great time, I know I did. All the sponsors, especially the Soldotna Elks and Hawk's games should be commended for putting on a great tournament.
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