Gibbs captures Winter Poker Classic at Oaklawn

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Gary Gibbs of Hot Springs held off Little Rock’s Phillip Prater to take home the title of the second annual Winter Poker Classic and a share of the more than $12,500 that was up for grabs.

“There were some good players tonight,” Gibbs said. “But Phillip was the best that I faced.”
Though many, including his final heads-up opponent, weren’t familiar with Gibbs, it shouldn’t have been a surprise he took the title. Gibbs has five World Series of Poker cashes, including winning the senior bracelet in 2004. He has numerous victories across the country as well.

Prater, who placed second to Gibbs, found out who he was minutes after the final hand.
“I had no idea,” Prater said. “We played the last two tables together, but I never had many heads-up with him. His reputation speaks for itself, though. It’s an honor just to be playing with him.”

The final night began with 60 players on six tables. Each player had previously qualified for their spot on the final night of the Winter Poker Classic during remote qualifiers over the course of the previous three months.

In the end, after six hours of play, it was Gibbs.

“I didn’t get to see a lot of his play until the end,” Gibbs said of Prater. “But when it counted he made the calls at the right time, the raises at the right time and laid down at the right time. He definitely has a future in poker.”