Call the wife and update your Facebook status. That’s what Craig “Smitty” Smith did after winning the Midwest Regional Poker Championship at Southern Indiana’s Horseshoe Casino in April.
Smith, an award-winning businessman with a wife of 17 years and three children, outlasted 146 players in the main event to win $32,714 and a $10K seat to this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas.
“I actually grew up playing nickel, dime and quarter poker with my family,” Smitty said when asked how long he’d been playing poker. “We had Friday night poker games at my parents’ house for years. About seven years ago, Texas Hold’em became really popular around here and I started playing in some house tournaments, and then began playing cash at the Horseshoe. I never really considered myself a tournament player; I had a great deal of success with the cash games. I enjoy playing pot-limit Omaha.”
Smith affirms that patience and the ability to change gears at the appropriate time are crucial to the success of tournament play. His chip average slipped suddenly before going to the final table; having called three all-in bets having the best of it preflop. Being short-stacked at the final table didn’t last long as it was his turn to double-up three times and get heads-up. His opponent had a 2-to-1 lead over him and Smitty offered a chop. His opponent declined. Fifteen minutes later, it was over with Smith holding the trophy.
Poker room manager Jimmy Allen felt the guarantees and seats awarded helped boost attendance.
“Just adding a WSOP seat to the prize pool gives them something extra to shoot for and shows that we are serious about giving our players what they want,” he said. “We will continue to look at all facets of our tournaments to ensure we’re providing our guests with the best possible tournament experience.”
— R.C. Thorne is Ante Up’s Southern Indiana Ambassador. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.