Lutes wins WSOPC in Biloxi as poker heats up in Mississippi

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The end of the year always means a flurry of poker activity in Mississippi.

There are so many noteworthy events to attend and just barely enough time to sandwich in a few holidays as well. November kicked off with the World Sereis of Poker circuit event at the IP in Biloxi. Not to be confused with the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, the IP is an independently owned casino. Having recently had extensive renovations, this resort location is a world-class destination for tourists and poker players alike. The poker staff is top-notch, leaving no detail overlooked. It’s no wonder the playing fields at the IP are deep and varied, full of familiar faces and hopeful newcomers to the game.

For the 2010 WSOPC, poker room manager Jim Sterling and WSOPC tournament director Jimmy Sommerfield worked together to accommodate a record turnout. The numbers from the same event in 2009 show the daily noon events struggled to reach 125 registrants, with the average number hovering around 80. This year the field average was around 250 for the ring events. Please turn the page for full results from the WSOPC ring events.

Said Sommerfield: “This was an unexpected turnout. It was a very fun tournament. We had almost 5,000 players this week. The championship event had 270 alone.” That number is up from 2009’s 43 participants. He added: “The prize pool was almost $1.5 million (for the entire series).”

Travis Lutes from Crawfordsville, Ind., captured the championship event, winning $95,000 and a seat in the May 2011 $1 million National Championship. The final table also featured Tunica local Bob Talbot, who took home a cool $42,500 with his third-place finish. Talbot is a Mississippi favorite and a long-time regular in the state’s best cardrooms. On his right hand he wears a ring given to him by Benny Binion, and on his left, of course, is a WSOP ring.

Though the “Miss Poker” column is a fairly new addition to Ante Up, familiar faces from the September and October issues found success at the IP. Scott Williams of Memphis earned a seventh-place finish in the $345 NLHE ring event and Will “Monkey” Souther scored his first WSOP ring and a first-place finish in the $345 Omaha/8 event. Another “local” player, Tim Burt of Grenada, Miss., earned a ring in the $345 H.O.R.S.E. event, keeping up with the tradition of having a “homefield advantage.”

Sommerfield was on point in declaring this a “fun” tournament. Poker Hall of Famer and six-time bracelet-winner T.J. Cloutier played a handful of events, even notching an 18th-place finish in the main. The ladies event took on an unexpected charity theme when local pros Kai Landry and Will Souther showed up in full drag with intent to play and donate any winnings earned to breast cancer research. Though they arrived too late to register, donations were still made to the charity in honor of the actual women who played.

Following the action at the WSOPC at the IP, Ante Up is off to Horseshoe Tunica for its Magnolia Fall Classic. Event coverage to follow in next month’s issue. Last, but certainly not least, before we’ve had time to fully recover from Thanksgiving, Gold Strike Tunica will be turning up the heat in December with the Winter Poker Classic (Dec. 2-12). The Classic offers a $1K main event and nightly $125 survivor tournaments at 7. This event includes daily noon tournaments that have an average buy-in of $230 and daily super satellites to the main event ($100 and $30 rebuys). The Gold Strike Winter Classic will be the last opportunity in 2010 for poker players in Mississippi to put their skills to the test and earn bragging rights. Don’t worry, though, the break is only long enough for a couple more holidays and then, of course, it’s back to Biloxi on Jan. 7 for the first event in the Southern Poker Championship series, including a WPT $10K championship event. A flurry of activity indeed! There is no rest for the weary in Mississippi Poker.

— Jennifer Gay is a poker journalist, poker room supervisor and poker player local to the Mid-South region. Her column will focus on the Mississippi-area poker scene. She can be contacted at facebook.com/aceofjewels.

Event #1 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 288 • Prize Pool: $83,808
1. Aaron Brant, Mobile, AL, $19,585
2. Justin Gates, Prarieville, LA, $12,102
3. Jeff Bell, San Antonio, TX, $12,102
4. Willey Lee, Perkinston, MS, $6,479
5. Adam West, Locust , NC, $4,859
6. Byron Higueros, Kenner, LA, $3,703
7. Robert Mayfield, Lafitte, LA, $2,866
8. Teddy Conner, New Orleans, $2,252
9. John Durio, Metairie, LA, $1,797
10. Shannon Hancock, Warrior, AL, $1,455
11. Daniel Brown, Biloxi, MS, $1,455
12. Michael Clary, Marietta, GA, $1,455
13. Craig Gullung, Marrero, LA, $1,195
14. Gary Holcomb, Mandeville, LA, $1,195
15. Herbie Crook, Pascagoula, MS, $1,195
16. Thomas Ballow, Denham Springs, LA, $996
17. Enrique Melguizo, Austin, TX, $996
18. Scott Alexantos, Gulfport, MS, $996
19. John Riola, Biloxi, MS, $842
20. Peter Shashy, Montgomery, AL, $842
21. Mark Caldwell, Fort Walton Beach, FL, $842
22. Cameron Ainsworth, Baton Rouge, LA, $722
23. Cale Weeks, Panama City, FL, $722
24. Kristen Deardorff, Gulfport, MS, $722
25. Matthew Chang, Rockville, MD, $627
26. Rick Wasson, Houston, $627
27. Joe Gowder, Alto, GA, $627
28. Joseph Morris, Mont Belvieu, TX, $553
29. Robert Ramsak, Hendersonville, NC, $553
30. Anthony Vidmer, Franklin, TN, $553

Event #2 $345 NLHE
Entries: 270 • Prize Pool: $76,410
1. Rob Quin, Metairie, LA, $18,722
2. Daniel Seiver, Carthage, TN, $11,567
3. David Nicholson, Prairieville, LA, $8,357
4. Greg Harkinson, Houston, $6,150
5. Rob Lewis, Brandon, FL, $4,608
6. Bobbie Talbot, Hernando, MS, $3,511
7. John Olsen, Moss Point, MS, $2,720
8. John Cornelius, Newnan, GA, $2,142
9. Richard Hughes, Mobile, AL, $1,713
10. Mark Jarema, Birmingham, AL, $1,391
11. Christopher Conry, Frisco, TX, $1,391
12. Matthew Colvin, Dallas, $1,391
13. Thomas Franklin, Gulfport, MS, $1,148
14. Richard Gibson, Sidon, MS, $1,148
15. Jarrod Stewart, Winter Haven, FL, $1,148
16. Benny Peebles, Newnan, GA, $961
17. Richard Radford, Franklin, TX, $961
18. Hayes Cristie, Dothan, AL, $961
19. Bertel Ladner, Biloxi, MS, $818
20. Anthony Denicola, Baton Rouge, LA, $818
21. James Blackmon, Wiggins, MS, $818
22. Mofeed Atalla, Panama City, FL, $705
23. Dyer Raiford, Tuscaloosa, AL, $705
24. Dana Murse, Millbrook, AL, $705
25. Rob Gunter, Salem, AL, $617
26. John Rogers, Gadsden, AL, $617
27. Dennis Baker, Haughton, LA, $617

Event #3 • $345 Omaha/8
Entries: 70 • Prize Pool: $20,370
1. William Souther, Biloxi, MS, $6,583
2. Brett Alello, Baton Rouge, LA, $4,068
3. Rob West, Abbeville, AL, $2,698
4. Wendell Salley, Mobile, AL, $1,910
5. Yong Chen, Ocean Springs, MS, $1,438
6. John Demarco, Ocean Springs, MS, $1,147
7. Barry Levy, Brooklyn, NY, $966

Event #4 • $345 H.O.R.S.E.
Entries: 78 • Prize Pool: $22,698
1. Timothy Burt, Diberville, MS, $7,178
2. Charles Edwards, Decherd, TN, $4,442
3. Scott Clark, O’Fallon, IL, $2,924
4. Steven Weigel, Newell, AL, $2,047
5. Viers Raymond, Lilburn, GA, $1,517
6. Bentley Roberts, Gadsden, AL, $1,186
7. Kirk Flom, Gulfport, MS, $976
8. Barry Washington, Beavteron, OR, $844

Event #5 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 278 • Prize Pool: $80,898
1. Craig Flood, Spring, TX, $18,894
2. Chad Tucker, Winfield, AL, $11,675
3. William Rogers, Birmingham, AL, $8,471
4. Ross Bybee, McKinney, TX, $6,250
5. Michael Shafer, Covington, LA, $4,687
6. Zhen Cai, Melbourne, FL, $3,572
7. Thomas Williams, Millington, TN, $2,764
8. Daylon Zimmerman, Temple, GA, $2,173
9. William Hinson, Byhalia, MS, $1,733
10. Jason Burdis, Atlanta, $1,403
11. Danny Dorcey, Chalmette, LA, $1,403
12. Joshua Palmer, Daphne, AL, $1,403
13. Jeffrey Seims, Gulfport, MS, $1,153
14. Roston Stukes, Manning, SC, $1,153
15. Joseph Freck, Gainesville, FL, $1,153
16. Aaron Andrews, Elberta, AL, $961
17. Douglas Gambel, Ponchatoula, LA, $961
18. Damjan Radanov, Memphis, $961
19. Anasavanh Sitthivong, Glendale Heights, IL, $812
20. Russell Bistle, Biloxi, MS, $812
21. Stephen Buttieri, Spring,TX, $812
22. Daniel Salter, St. Charles, MO, $697
23. John Pearson, Moss Point, MS, $697
24. Toby Tatum, Gulfport, MS, $697
25. Justin Jones, Texas, $605
26. John Olsen, Moss Point, MS, $605
27. Ricky Romero, New Iberia, LA, $605
28. Douglas Carli, Alliance, OH, $534
29. Thomas Franklin, Gulfport, MS, $534
30. Matthew Wetzel, Steamboat Spg., CO, $534
31. John Riola, Biloxi, MS, $534

Event #6 • $555 6-handed NLHE
Entries: 159 • Prize Pool: $77,115
1. Thomas Drivas, Las Vegas, $20,241
2. Tom Franklin, Gulfport, MS, $12,509
3. Matthew Lischke, Norcross, GA, $9,005
4. Michael Wissler, $6,600
5. David Nicholson, Perkiniston, MS, $4,923
6. Aaron Brant, Mobile, AL, $3,736
7. Daniel Doucet, Opelousas, LA, $2,883
8. Michael Armiger, Auburn, AL, $2,262
9. Peter Mavro, Douglaston, NY, $1,804
10. Michael Schneider, $1,461
11. Jonathan Walls, Plato, MO, $1,461
12. Rodney Shows, Hattiesburg, MS, $1,461
13. Randal Dubois, $1,203
14. Kai Landry, Biloxi, MS, $1,203
15. James Eubank, Houston, $1,203
16. James Helms, Fairhope, AL, $1,005
17. Casey Hayes, Demotte, IN, $1,005
18. Richard Woodward, Baton Rouge, $1,005

Event #7 • $555 NLHE
Entries: 211 • Prize Pool: $102,335
1. Corrie Wunstel, Baton Rouge, $24,984
2. Jonathan Sorcher, Lynbrook, NY, $15,441
3. Jeffrey Fielder, Des Moines, $11,238
4. Melvin Dukes, Marietta, GA, $8,311
5. Smith Collins, Gainesville, FL, $6,243
6. Daniel Yun, Marietta, GA, $4,762
7. William Tyre, Dublin, GA, $3,687
8. Pawel Andrzejewski, Des Plaines, IL, $2,898
9. Michael Dalton, Ashland, MO, $2,311
10. Robbie Matthews, Baton Rouge, $1,871
11. Douglas Bruce, Lawrenceville, GA, $1,871
12. John Land, Frisco, TX, $1,871
13. Mark Smith, Georgetown, KY $1,536
14. John Nguyen, Harvey, LA, $1,536
15. Walter Chambers, Baton Rouge, $1,536
16. Ivan Poroslay, Tampa, FL, $1,278
17. Frederick Berger, Slidell, LA, $1,278
18. Jennifer Gladden, Ocean Springs, MS, $1,278
19. Edward Corrado, Naples, FL, $1,078
20. Matthew Lawrence, Tulsa, $1,078
21. Ricky Taylor Jr. Columbia, TN, $1,078
22. Christopher Gray, Atlanta, $922
23. Melih Birdal, Knoxville, $922
24. Cecil White, Columbia, MO, $922

Event. #8 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 374 • Prize Pool: $106,112
1. Nick Jivkov, Des Plaines, IL, $23,344
2. Trevor Deeter, Philadelphia, $14,426
3. Mike Phan, Garland, TX, $10,541
4. Jonathan Thomas, Germantown, TN, $7,827
5. Shannon Hancock, Warrior, AL, $5,902
6. George Merchant, Pasadena, TX, $4,517
7. Mark Smith, Georgetown, KY, $3,508
8. Anthony Ruffolo, Alpharetta, GA, $2,763
9. Christopher Dillon, Bellefontaine, OH, $2,207
10. Larry Lackey, Hoover, AL, $1,787
11. Jennifer Denton, Pearl, MS, $1,787
12. Marc Kergosien, Gulfport, MS, $1,787
13. Philip Walsh, Gulfport, MS, $1,466
14. Brian Franklin, Gulfport, MS, $1,466
15. Gregory Faro, Griffin, GA, $1,466
16. Davy Murrah, Lucedale, MS, $1,220
17. Juan Navarro, Caldwell, TX, $1,220
18. Brian Sienkiowski, Cumming, GA, $1,220
19. Kathryn Lunn, Toccoa, GA, $1,028
20. James Eckert, Flovilla, GA, $1,028
21. Matthew Lischke, Norcross, GA, $1,028
22. Keith Sims, Navarre, FL, $878
23. Thomas Cowan, Jacksonville, FL, $878
24. Nicholas Desenberg, Kennesaw, GA, $878
25. Russell Bistle, Biloxi, MS, $759
26. Jason Boone, Hattiesburg, MS, $759
27. George Hosek, Mandeville, LA, $759
28. Robert Quin, Metaire, LA, $664
29. Bobby McCarty WilliamsonGA$664
30. Ian Knapp, Glen Ellyn, IL, $664
31. George McDonald, Ocean Springs, MS, $589
32. John Olsen, Moss Point, MS, $589
33. Thomas Walsh, Maplewood, MN, $589
34. Chris Gray, Atlanta, $528
35. Denise Kelley, Dothan, GA, $528
36. Stephen Phillips, Atlanta, $528
37. Edward Leahy, Sugar Hill, GA, $480
38. John Sutton, Destin, FL, $480
39. Larry Williamson, Brookhaven, MS, $480
40. David Rylander, Collierville, TN, $480
41. Richard Griffis, Ebro, FL, $480
42. Thomas Elliott, Keller, TX, $480
43. Donald Mathews, Oxford, FL, $480
44. Rodney Shows, Hattiesburg, MS, $480
45. Todd Davis, Jacksonville, FL, $480

Event #9 • $335 NLHE
Entries: 138 • Prize Pool: $40,158
1. John Durio, Metairie, LA, $11,128
2. Robert Beck, Metairie, LA, $6,878
3. Jeffrey West, Locust, NC, $4,965
4. Ricky Kestner, Ocean Springs, MS, $3,648
5. William MaQuire, Robstown, TX, $2,727
6. James Dicarlo, White Lake, NY, $2,073
7. Daniel Pyszynski, Norridge, IL, $1,603
8. Clifford Mathews, Odenville, AL, $1,259
9. Shellie Mitchell, Oxford, MS, $1,005
10. Barron Whipple, Houma, LA, $815
11. Paula Halata, Houston, $815
12. John Gaudio, Titusville, FL, $815
13. John Tison, McKinney, TX, $671
14. Donald Mathews, Oxford, FL, $671
15. Paul Martinez, Seguin, TX, $350
16. Alex Berger, New York, $350

Main Event • $1,600 NLHE
Entries: 270 • Prize Pool: $392,850
1. Travis Lutes, Crawfordsville, IN, $95,253
2. Farid Nasserazad, Atlanta, $58,857
3. Bobbie Talbot, Hernando, MS, $42,523
4. Jason Cluxton, Kennesaw, GA, $31,295
5. Yair Alon, Panama City, FL, $23,445
6. Robert Gunter, Salem, AL, $17,865
7. Jerry Monroe, Columbus, OH, $13,841
8. Steven Marshall, Cumming, GA, $10,898
9. John Holley, Destin, FL, $8,717
10. Michael Hill, Austin, TX, $7,080
11. Jeremy Drewery, Arlington, TN, $7,080
12. William Souther, Biloxi, MS, $7,080
13. Shane Sigsbee, Chicago, $5,840
14. Dale Hinson, Byhalia, MS, $5,840
15. Robert Harris, Gulf Shores, AL, $5,840
16. David Barrow, Guntersville, AL, $4,891
17. Cary Purcell, Tucker, GA, $4,891
18. T.J. Cloutier, Richardson, TX, $4,891
19. Garrett Jones, Nederland, TX, $4,160
20. Christopher Sullivan, Conway, AR, $4,160
21. James Namken, Houston, $4,160
22. Brian Walsingham, Winston, GA, $3,589
23. Mike Flowers, Baton Rouge, $3,589
24. John Land, Frisco, TX, $3,589
25. Kevin Calenzo, New Hartford, NY, $3,142
26. James Jabaley, Lagrange, GA, $3,142
27. Kenneth Ware, Georgetown, KY, $3,142