I’m cashing in my poker chips and switching to playing the lottery. Turns out, I’m a bit of a psychic. Or is it telepathic? I’d like to think I just have an eye for talent. Just around 18 months ago I wrote a column on local Tunica player Scott Williams playing his first tournament. I detailed how he rolled a $60 single-table satellite win into a main-event seat, and ran deep, busting in 21st place.
Williams has continued to play in large regional events with a moderate amount of success, including a seventh at an IP Biloxi World Series of Poker Circuit event in 2010, a few cashes in ring events in Tunica, and a third in a WSOPC Bossier City event.
On Jan 9, at 9 a.m., after playing 19 hours straight on the third day of Event 1 at the Beau Rivage Million Dollar Heater, Williams etched his name into a small piece of poker history. Securing not only his first five-figure cash, he bested 1,452 players in the largest field in Mississippi history to take home the first-place trophy and $72,298.
The event, which permitted re-entry on Day 2, was a marathon.
“It was exhausting and mentally draining, but obviously worth every second,” he said.
There’s a joke among local players that, “Tournament poker is sort of like being punched in the face every day, over and over again, and then every six months or so you get a date with a supermodel.” When you finally get there, especially in the case of a noteworthy breakout cash, it makes the agony of all the near-misses worth it. Williams said he’s glad he finally got the figurative “supermodel” and though he’s in no hurry to get back to the grind, he’ll be playing the Beau Rivage main event seat he was awarded with his first-place finish.
By press time the Million Dollar Heater will have wrapped up three weeks of record-breaking numbers, and we’ll be on the way to Tunica for the WSOPC event at Harrah’s. This event will be one of Jimmy Sommerfeld’s last events as a tournament director. In early January, after the birth of his first grandchild, he announced his retirement. He intends to focus on spending more time with his family, and traveling less.
Jimmy is a Memphis local, who got his sea legs in the casino industry in Tunica. He’s been a cornerstone in the traveling poker circuit and helped shape many of the rules, structures and events for the WSOP. His influence will continue to evolve poker, even after his retirement, but his personality and presence will be sorely missed.
— Jennifer Gay is Ante Up’s Mississippi Ambassador. She can be contacted at
facebook.com/aceofjewels or at firstname.lastname@example.org.