Locals doing well at WSOP; WPO is July 18

June 24, 2013  

The summer is flying by out here in Vegas. We’re midway through the World Series events and planning ahead for upcoming fall tournaments. I’ve seen dozens of our Mississippi players grinding their way through the endless tables of the Rio (Tim Burt, David Nicholson and Stuart Breakstone just to name a few).

At the Venetian, Biloxi pro Will “Poker Monkey” Souther has been enjoying consistent deep runs in the deepstack events, including back-to-back final tables. Some of the biggest events are still yet to come, and I’m certain we’ll continue to have a strong showing.

Someone I’d like to extend congratulations to is WSOP national champ Jonathan Hilton. I met him when I was a floor manager at the Horseshoe in Tunica. He’d come in with his longtime friend Tanner Bibat, who insisted Hilton was a breakout player to watch. I sort of smiled and mentally stored it away somewhere. Shortly after that, Hilton hit the bad beat at Gold Strike, giving him a moderate cash infusion. The circuit became his focus, and he consistently turned a profit. Last summer in Vegas he had an incredibly good run, coming up second in an open no-limit hold’em bracelet event and bringing home near half a million.

Hilton has a strong group of friends he travels with, all of them proud to be Christian poker players, attributing their successes to their strong faith in God. They’re a refreshing group of young men, always polite and pleasant to chat with and still undeniably lethal on the felt. Though he claims Chattanooga as his home, he got his feet wet playing live in Tunica. So it’s with sincere pride I claim him for the roster of Southern Poker Players to Watch.

I’ll admit, I’m having a great time out here in Vegas, despite being mega-pregnant and suffering 115-degree days. I still can’t wait to head back to Tunica in just a few weeks, though. The World Poker Open kicks off July 18 at the Gold Strike, and in great WPO tradition, promises to be one of the best Mississippi tournaments of the year. The event opens on Thursday with the action-packed 7 p.m. events and single-table satellites that will continue through the rest of the 12-day schedule.

All sorts of events span the schedule, ranging from $100 to a $2,500 main event (July 27). You’ll see plenty of Omaha, PLO, PLO/8 and even a stud/8 event. Tournament director Eric Comer and poker room manager Johnny Grooms always guarantee the best structures, a variety of buy-ins and game options.

I look forward to seeing you down there. I miss the smell of green grass, rain and good ol’ Mississippi poker. As always, kept in touch through email or Facebook to send me your funny stories, tales or success or just to vent about the inevitable bad beats. Good luck on the felt.

— Jennifer Gay is Ante Up’s Mississippi Ambassador. She can be contacted at facebook.com/aceofjewels or at jennifergay80@hotmail.com.