‘Pegasus’ Smith wins one for the thumb

November 02, 2011  

Poker is unlike any competition in the world. It might take 10-20 years to reach the top of other sports or games, but poker players can go from home-game amateur to tournament superstar overnight.

For Georgetown, Ky., native Mark “Pegasus” Smith, it only took six years, going from playing in local home games to the all-time leader in World Series of Poker Circuit rings won.

Smith tied Men “The Master” Nguyen in December 2009 in Atlantic City by winning his fourth ring, and after that, the race was on.

“I was actually second in January to Bob Castoire,” Smith said of his finish. “I really wanted it then.”

But it would take nine more months for Smith to reach No. 5, defeating Christian Schumacher in Event 1 ($345 no-limit hold’em) of the WSOPC at Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Elizabeth in the wee hours on Oct. 1.

Before embarking on the circuit, Smith raised horses for 30 years. Today, when he’s not battling it out on the felt, he’s president of the largest privately owned utility in Kentucky. Smith credits a great support staff that allows him to travel through the year to compete.

He began playing poker six years ago in home games, beating his brains out to master the game playing five nights a week. His first WSOPC was in Tunica, Miss., which is picked up his Pegasus moniker.

“I was waiting for a sit-in-go at Tunica and I was wearing a (Kentucky Derby winner) Fusaichi Pegasus hat,” he said. “They didn’t know my name so they called out ‘Hey Pegasus!’ They hollered it like 10 times over the course of the event.”

A writer referenced Smith as Mark “Pegasus” Smith for the first time and the name stuck.
“I guess it’s a good thing my hat didn’t say ‘shit head.’ ”

On top of his five rings, Smith has cashed 25 times and was voted the 2009-10 WSOPC Player of the Year.
“That was as important as anything,” he said.
Smith also had moderate success at the WSOP in Las Vegas, cashing five times, though he admits they were min-cashes. “I’ve got a bracelet coming,” he said.

He’ll also admit he only plays hold’em tournaments. “I try to do one thing and do it well. I don’t play cash and I don’t play online. They each have their own dynamic. … I like to watch the other players. I try to get a good read on their betting patterns.”

Being well-rested also plays a part, especially when you’re playing for long hours.

“Once you’re into the game, time goes quick if you start out fresh. You make the most mistakes if you’re fatigued.”

In case you’re wondering how he fared in the remaining events, he fell just short of Ring No. 6 in Event 3, ending up third. He didn’t win the main event, though he gave it his best effort, finishing fifth. That honor went to Smith’s nemesis, Castoire (results below). But we’ll be sure to follow Pegasus for the rest of the WSOPC season to see if he will add to his record total.

— Don Lawson is the Ante Up Ambassador for Kentuckiana. He’s a part-time journalist and avid poker player. He can be reached at anteupdon@gmail.com.
WSOP Circuit, Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Sept. 29-Oct. 10

Ring Event 1 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 283 • Prize Pool: $81,003
1. Mark Smith, Georgetown, KY, $19,441
2. Christian Schumacher, St. Paul Park, MN, $12,014
3. Matthew Campbell, Chesterton, IN, $8,718
4. Matthew Ashlock, Louisville, KY, $6,432
5. Stephen Kats, Omaha, $4,824
6. Robert Castoire, Cecelia, KY, $3,676
7. David Mendez, Chicago, $2,845
8. James Gordon, Lexington, KY, $2,236
9. Danny Sweeney, Ashland City, TN, $1,784

Ring Event 2 • $345 NLHE w/re-entry
Entries: 650 • Prize Pool: $187,800
1. Garry Simms, Shelbyville, KY, $38,499
2. Sean Pramuk, West Chester, OH, $23,822
3. John Sullivan, Brunswick, OH, $17,473
4. James Camp, Louisville, KY, $12,994
5. Ki Kim, Nashville, $9,794
6. Charles Beggs, Fishers, IN, $7,480
7. Robert Deppe, Lima, OH, $5,788
8. Jose Serratos, Detroit, $4,537
9. Erick Wingfield, Louisville, KY, $3,602

Ring Event 3 • $555 NLHE
Entries: 175 • Prize Pool: $83,525
1. Gregory Joslyn, Milford, PA, $21,987
2. Gregory Collier, Luttrell, TN, $13,937
3. Mark Smith, Georgetown, KY, $10,032
4. Adam Foster, Portland, IN, $7,353
5. Robert Scott, New York, $5,484
6. Brian Roberts, Ridgeville, IN, $4,162
7. John Gallaher, Lebanon, TN, $3,212
8. Peter Mavro, Douglaston, NY, $2,520
9. Raymond Lantz, Gibson City, IL, $2,010

Ring Event 4 • $345 6-Max NLHE
Entries: 229 • Prize Pool: $65,289
1. Benjamin Gerrard, Indianapolis, $17,628
2. Matthew Hankins, Newnan, GA, $10,892
3. Brandon Brown, English, IN, $7,630
4. Edward Corrado, Naples, FL, $5,382
5. Dennis Booze, Las Vegas, $3,826
6. Derek Feierabend, Strongsville, OH, $2,741
7. Kurt Jewell, Frankfort, KY, $1,981
8. Joseph Couden, Reynoldsburg, OH, $1,981
9. Steven Pionk, Hernando, MS, $1,443

Ring Event 5 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 247 • Prize Pool: $70,527
1. Scott Schwalich, West Carrollton, OH, $17,279
2. George Ward, Mt. Juliet, TN, $10,676
3. Jesse Kidd, Richmond, VA, $7,714
4. Thomas Surbaugh, Murfreesboro, TN, $5,677
5. Jimmy Tidwell, Westpoint, TN, $4,253
6. Charlie Dawson, Owensboro, KY, $3,241
7. Melissa Cosby, Craig, CO, $2,511
8. Robert Hodson, Tallahassee, FL, $1,977
9. Stephen Binkley, Orlinda, TN, $1,581

Ring Event 6 • $345 H.O.R.S.E.
Entries: 96 • Prize Pool: $26,586
1. Rodney Domer, Bloomington, IN, $7,976
2. Kevin Chance, Sabina, OH, $4,930
3. Robert Gammon, Bloomington, IN, $3,510
4. Allan Sturms, Lewis Center, OH, $2,550
5. Leland Isaacs, Louisville, KY, $1,889
6. John Evans, Granbury, TX, $1,426
7. Gregory Hurst, Tazewell, TN, $1,097
8. Beverly Cheney, Grandbury, TX, $859
9. Kevin Parsley, Connersville, IN, $685

Ring Event 7 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 252 • Prize Pool: $71,982
1. Benjamin Kramer, Terre Haute, IN, $17,636
2. Thomas Cronin, Saint Peters, MO, $10,897
3. Jason Walden, Madison, TN, $7,873
4. Jeffrey Moore, Sullivan, IN, $5,794
5. Anthony Cissell, Coxs Creek, KY, $4,341
6. John Nguyen, Fairview Heights, IL, $3,308
7. John Fagg, Terre Haute, IN, $2,563
8. Michael Dalton, Ashland, MO, $2,018
9. Kevin Manley, Arlington Heights, IL, $1,614

Ring Event 8 • $555 NLHE
Entries: 211 • Prize Pool: $100,985
1. Casey Hirschman, Jefferson City, MO, $25,246
2. Richard Bolden, Christiana, TN, $15,604
3. Dean Schultz, Stow, OH, $11,357
4. Jason Schwartz, Bozeman, MT, $8,399
5. Tori Todd, Granville, OH, $6,309
6. Bill Kanipe, Fishers, IN, $4,812
7. Randy Pfeifer, East Amherst, NY, $3,726
8. Jerry Payne, Centerville, OH, $2,929
9. Clinton Sparks, Fairborn, OH, $2,336

Ring Event 9 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 184 • Prize Pool: $53,544
1. Kevin Davis, Shepherdsville, KY, $13,921
2. Michael Foster, Chicago, $8,600
3. Christopher Mcmillian, Huntington, WV $6,210
4. Richard Tucker, Charlotte, NC, $4,560
5. James Garst, Seymour, TN, $3,407
6. Ryan Massa, Nashville, $2,589
7. Michael Auterson, Indianapolis, $2,000
8. Derek Geise, Ft. Jennings, OH, $1,570
9. John Courtney, Virginia Beach, $1,253

Ring Event 10 • $1,600 Main Event
Entries: 313 • Prize Pool: $455,415
1. Robert Castoire, Cecelia, KY, $107,023
2. Jacob Bazeley, Ludlow, KY, $66,172
3. Aaron Massey, Chicago, $48,060
4. Donovan Darland, Stafford, VA, $35,500
5. Mark Smith, Georgetown, KY, $26,651
6. Thang Nguyen, Mclean, VA, $20,325
7. David J. Hengen, Omaha, $15,744
8. Bernard Lee, Wayland, MA, $12,378
9. Sameer Al-Dbhany, Frankfort, KY, $9,878

Ring Event 11 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 117 • Prize Pool: $34,047
1. Bryan Dillon, Prospect, KY, $10,214
2. James Lindsay, Hayesville, NC, $6,313
3. Anthony Cissell, Coxs Creek, KY, $4,495
4. Nick Blackburn, Long Bottom, OH, $3,265
5. Matthew Ashlock, Louisville, $2,419
6. Leonard Eidson, Bulls Gap, TN, $1,826
7. Thomas Zint, Lawrenceburg, IN, $1,404
8. Hugh Thomas Cross, Westfield, IN, $1,100
9. Wendy Howell, Indianapolis, $877

Ring Event 12 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 86 • Prize Pool: $24,900
1. Matthew Chang, Rockville, MD, $7,729
2. Ryan Johnson, Whiteland, IN, $4,777
3. Peter Mavro, Las Vegas, $3,344
4. Jonathan Cary, Frankfort, KY, $2,436
5. Jeremy Drewery, Arlington, TN, $1,792
6. Matthew Kupiec, Collegeville, PA, $1,339
7. Stephen Kats Omaha, $1,074
8. Jason Mumbach, Trumbull, CT, $895
9. Joseph Marshall, Louisville, $769