Omaha star Kester wins WPO main event



If you didn’t make it to the World Poker Open, you missed a good one. This tournament is famous for the familiar Gulf Coast faces it draws, and this year it went down as one of the best post-World Series of Poker bankroll building opportunities anywhere. The $1 million guarantee in prize pools was an ambitious draw, and it resulted in a few overlays, giving players exceptional value for their buy-in.

Listing the notable cashes, as they apply to Mississippi poker, for a Tunica event is sort of like reading the results list. The Magnolia State is famous for supporting its own tournaments, and just about every final table is a Southern Who’s Who of poker. I would, however, like to congratulate Mitch Franks of Tupelo for taking down the $200K guarantee worth $50,416. They didn’t chop the event, or come to any sort of a deal. It was played down and the victory earned outright. Way to go, Mitch! It was a grind.

The final table finished in big Southern style, with several well-known local pros battling it out late into the night. B.J. McBrayer, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., just missed the final table with his 11th-place finish, but he took home $7K. The final 10 included November Niner John Dolan, who finished eighth for $15K and moved into the lead of the Ante Up POY race. The final three came down to Mike Postle, originally of Southaven, Miss., who received the most money in the chop but was eliminated third.

Despite having moved to Northern California after getting married, Postle never misses a Tunica tournament and it was good to see him another final table. Second place went to Brad Peeples of Coffeeville, Miss., who, after a few years of lying low, is on a tear this year. After a successful summer at the WSOP, Peeples can add a $91K WPO cash to his resumé.

The ultimate victory belonged to Galen Kester of Tunica. First place and $165K finishes out his successful summer. Having just returned from Vegas, where he cashed in two WSOP pot-limit Omaha events for a combined $30K-plus, it was good to see him back home. Kester is a local institution wherever Omaha is being played, and is always fun to see at the tables. He’s a true Southern gentleman and serves to remind us that poker doesn’t belong entirely to the Internet generation.

With the WPO behind us, and the Gulf Coast Poker Championship at the Beau Rivage just under way, the fall tournament circuit is beginning before most of us have even unpacked.

• On a more somber note, a well-known dealer/floor and familiar WSOP supervisor Casey Jones died this week after sufferi g an unknown ailment in his sleep during his return trip from Vegas on Aug. 2. He fell into a coma and was given little to no chance of recovery. Jones is survived by two young twin daughters and a family deeply rooted in the poker community. He’s the son of Dennis Jones, who continues to be a mainstay in the poker world. Casey worked in Tunica before traveling full time with the circuit, and will be sincerely missed by staff and players alike.

The family has set up a website for more infomation at, and to collect donations or prayers to aid his family in this tragic time.

With so much to celebrate at the end of yet another successful summer, I hate to close on such sad news. Mississippi poker is a tight-knit community, where we all know each other, so tragedy affects us all. I hope to see you all back at the Horseshoe Tunica and Gold Strike in the fall. As always, keep me updated on your wins and bad beats.

— Jennifer Gay is Ante Up’s Mississippi Ambassador.She can be contacted at or at

World Poker Open, Gold Strike Casino, Tunica, Miss.

July 19-Aug. 6
Event 1 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 1,105 • Pool: $321,555
Mike McDonald, $50,799
Event 2 • $340 Omaha/8
Entries: 107 • Pool: $31,137
David Seif, $11,209
Event 3 • $230 NLHE
Entries: 200 • Pool: $38,800
Alan Barnes, $12,802
Event 4 • $550 NLHE
Entries: 111 • Pool: $53,835
Michael McKuin, $19,381
Event 5 • $230 Omaha/8
Entries: 131 • Pool: $25,414
Harold Woolbright, $8,387
Event 6 • $230 Seniors
Entries: 222 • Pool: $43,068
David Kruger, $14,212
Event 7 • $120 NLHE w/rbs
Entries: 91 • Pool: $21,340
Aaron Gamino, $7,682
Event 8 • $230 NLHE
Entries: 386 • Pool: $75,000
Barry Schultz, $20,250
Event 9 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 35 • Pool: $10,185
Albert Frank, $4,583
Event 10 • $120 NLHE
Entries: 167 • Pool: $16,199
Robert Lancaster, $5,346
Event 11 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 113 • Pool: $32,883
James Fox, $11,838
Event 12 • $130 PLO
Entries: 94 • Pool: $25,220
Elisa Burkett, $8,810
Event 13 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 829 • Pool: $241,239
Mitch Franks, $50,416
Event 14 • $340 Stud/8
Entries: 42 • Pool: $12,222
Charles Polk, $4,400
Event 15 • $230 NLHE
Entries: 179 • Pool: $34,726
J.R. Hamilton, $11,459
Event 16 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 112 • Pool: $32,592
Terry Presley, $11,733
Event 17 • $230 Ladies
Entries: 49 • Pool: $9,800
Judy Cossey, $4,277
Event 18 • $230 NLHE
Entries: 87 • Pool: $16,878
Robert Lancaster, $6,077
Event 19 • $400 6-Max
Entries: 65 • Pool: $18,798
James Lambert, $6,390
Event 20 • $230 NLHE
Entries: 323 • Pool: $75K
James Gibson, $20,250
Event 21 • $340 NLHE w/rbs
Entries: 10 • Pool: $4,656
Sean Drake, $2,328
Event 22 • $120 NLHE
Entries: 104 • Pool: $10,068
Stephen Obringer, $3,631
$3,150 Main Event
Entries: 158 • Pool: $500K
Galen Kester, $165K

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine