Terry Simpson wins Pearl River Poker Open Ante Up Poker Tour Main Event

November 04, 2018, Scott Long  

If it wasn’t for the cowboy hat on his head, you might not have even noticed Terry Simpson for almost all of the final table of the Pearl River Poker Open.

But in the span of two hands after a fizzled deal, Simpson went from a quiet mouse to a roaring lion in the Ante Up Poker Tour series in Choctaw, Miss., taking the title after a quick heads-up deal with most of the chips in his stack.

“I’m just tickled to death. Here I am talking to you all calm, and inside I’m ready to bust. And I was about to bust that tournament, too,” Simpson said with a chuckle after agreeing to give David Bradshaw of Atlanta about $6,000 of first-place money so he could lock up his first major title. In addition to $24,135, Simpson earned his way on to the cover of Ante Up Magazine and a seat in the Main Event of the 2019 Ante Up World Championship at Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, Calif.

“I never won one of these, and I wanted that ticket to go out and play (in California),” Simpson said of the reason he was quick to take the deal after he eliminated Lakisha Slaughter of Atlanta in third place. “I wanted to be first place one time. I even have to work tomorrow. I drive a truck for a living. I’m set to go to work at 6 a.m., but I wasn’t going to let anyone know that.”

The two hands that defined Simpson’s main event run at Pearl River Resort came soon after the final three couldn’t reach an agreement on an ICM deal when Simpson was low on chips. Simpson really wanted the Ante Up World Championship seat, Bradshaw, chipleader at the time, was willing to sell it for less, but Slaughter ultimately decided to play on.

Not too much later, Simpson got it all with Slaughter with ace high against her flopped pair of eights and turned an ace to more than double up. Almost immediately after, he got it all in against Bradshaw on a jack-high flop holding ace-jack to Bradshaw’s king-jack to take a commanding chip lead that he never relinquished.

“What made me more aggressive was when we couldn’t work the deal,” said Simpson of Enterprise, Miss. “I just more or less decided that since I was close to finishing in third place, why not just play it out? That aggressiveness really captured the tournament for me.”

It was a marked change from Simpson’s style all day. He came into the final day 11th in chips, and came to the final table second in chips with a strategy to play as tight as possible.

“I tried to stay as quiet as I could and concentrate on what I needed to do and more or less listen to what was going on around the table,” Simpson said.

It worked well. Fresh off winning a World Series Circuit ring in August, Slaughter, true to her name, took care of most of the business at the final table, slaying Lester “Black Ice” Milligan, World Series Circuit ring-winner Don Dove, J.W. Carter and World Series of bracelet winner Corey Harrison back-to-back-to-back-to-back to get to three-handed. But it was all Simpson after that.

For Simpson, who plays poker as a hobby on weekends, mostly at Pearl River but also elsewhere in Mississippi, the Main Event title topped off the best week of poker of his life. After having no luck in the first two events of the series, he took fifth in Event #3, improved to runner-up in Event #5 and won Event #7 before his Main Event success.

“This is the first time I took a week’s vacation to play so I was building up to this,” Simpson said. “There was nothing on my mind but playing poker and enjoying myself. It worked mighty well.”

The Pearl River Poker Open, run by tournament director Paul Dutsch and his crew that is well known throughout the South, featured eight other events, including a $350 buy-in, $100,000 guaranteed multi-day kickoff event that attracted 387 entries and was won by Pearl River regular Tara Snow. Other events included a seniors event, a bounty event and two monster stack events.

This year’s event was in a new home, as the legalization of sports betting in Mississippi led Golden Moon to turn the event’s former home, the Timeout Sports Lounge, into a full-service sportsbook that was brimming with action all series long. The series moved to the Center Bar, the appropriately named center of the action at Golden Moon. The venue proved to be brighter with plenty of TVs and convenient bar service, and Pearl River kept players from being hungry on the final day by rolling in a complimentary pho bar.

Owned and operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the two casino-resorts at Pearl River (Golden Moon and Silver Star) together offer more than 1,000 hotel rooms, 2,400 slot machines, 59 table games, a sportsbook and a 14-table poker room, as well as the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club, Geyser Falls Water Theme Park and numerous dining and entertainment options.

The Pearl River Spring Classic will be the next major event at Pearl River Resort, with a tentative date of March 13-24.

PEARL RIVER POKER OPEN - Ante Up Poker Tour
Pearl River Resort - Choctaw, Miss.
MAIN EVENT
Buy-in:
$810
Entries: 169
Prize pool: $120,537
1. Terry Simpson, Enterprise, Miss. $24,135
2. David Bradshaw, Atlanta, Ga., $22,272
3. Lakisha Slaughter, Atlanta, Ga., $10,848
4. Corey Harrison, Birmingham, Ala., $9,643
5. J.W. Carter, Jackson, Miss., $8,438
6. Don Dove, New Orleans, La., $7,232
7. Lester “Black Ice” Milligan, Brighton, Ala., $6,027
8. Donnie Phan, Nashville, Tenn., $4,821
9. Alan “Tank” Downey, Piedmont, Ala., $3,616
10. Joel Doneig, $2,893
11. Robert Henderson, $2,893
12. Harinder Chawla, $2,893
13. Karl Chesser, $2,531
14. Matt Davidson, $2,531
15. Jay Bishop, $2,531
16. Tara Snow, $2,411
17. David Huwe, $2,411
18. Charles Johnson, $2,411

PEARL RIVER POKER OPEN - Ante Up Poker Tour
Pearl River Resort - Choctaw, Miss.
EVENT #1 - No-Limit Hold'em
Buy-in:
$350
Entries: 387
Prize pool: $112,230
1st Tara Snow Tuscaloosa, AL $26,379
2nd Randall Smith Silvercreek, GA $14,085
3rd Gerald Beard Boaz, AL $9,315
4th James Arnold Vaiden, MS $8,193
5th Adam Cotant Birmingham, AL $7,070
6th Ralph Reed Meridian,MS $5,948
7th Matthew Smith Prattville, AL $4,826
8th Danyon Rose Anniston, AL $3,704
9th Clinton Carney Philadelphia, MS $2,581
10th Kevin Lee Mt. Olive, AL $1,796
11th Albert Hamner Tuscaloosa, AL $1,796
12th Alan Downey Piedmont Springs, AL $1,796
13th Kevin Comens Double Springs, AL $1,571
14th Saeed Nig Memphis, TN $1,571
15th Harinder Chawla Madison, MS $1,571
16th Nolan Burton Birmingham, AL $1,291
17th Charles Westbrook Byram, MS $1,291
18th James "Mousey" Davis Jackson, TN $1,291
19th Adison Kloysuntia Brandon, MS $1,066
20th Thomas Ellis Brandon, MS $1,066
21st Thuy Djedijos Jackson, MS $1,066
22nd Stephen Duprima Rome, GA $1,066
23rd Jerry Girior Lafayette, LA $1,066
24th Billy McBrayer Tuscaloosa, AL $1,066
25th Will Bean Montrose, MS $1,066
26th Dexter Burns Pinson, AL $1,066
27th Douglas Kilarski Columbus, MS $1,066
28th David Lee Memphis, TN $729
29th Ronnie Hope Central, LA $729
30th Toby Bell Atlanta, GA $729
31st Morgan Hayes Tuscaloosa, AL $729
32nd Ronnie Scott Byram, MS $729
33rd James Robertson Tuscaloosa, AL $729
34th Thurmond Booth Ferriday, LA $729
35th Cody Stanford Tupelo, MS $729
36th Michael Monaghan Jackson, MS $729

PEARL RIVER POKER OPEN - Ante Up Poker Tour
Pearl River Resort - Choctaw, Miss.
EVENT #2 - No-Limit Hold'em Seniors
Buy-in:
$260
Entries: 55
Prize pool: $11,660
1st Paul Leggett Rockmart, GA $3,615
2nd James Allan Walker, LA $2,099
3rd Larry Downey Borden Springs, AL $1,399
4th Jeanne Milsaps Canton, GA $1,049
5th Richards Moats Rome,GA $933
6th Randy Garber Bessemer, AL $816
7th Joe Mahan Laceys Spring, AL $700
8th Ricky Sanders Coaling, AL $583
9th Edward Basham Pike Road, AL $466

PEARL RIVER POKER OPEN - Ante Up Poker Tour
Pearl River Resort - Choctaw, Miss.
EVENT #3 - No-Limit Hold'em
Buy-in:
$350
Entries: 32
Prize pool: $10,000
1st Jimmy Milsaps Canton, GA $4,000
2nd Marshall Bailey Mineral Wells, MS $2,400
3rd Michael Talley Northport, AL $1,700
4th Prissy Girior Lafayette, LA $1,200
5th Terry Simpson Enterprise,MS $700

PEARL RIVER POKER OPEN - Ante Up Poker Tour
Pearl River Resort - Choctaw, Miss.
EVENT #4 - No-Limit Hold'em Double Deep Monster Stack
Buy-in:
$350
Entries: 66
Prize pool: $19,140
1st Jason Eskridge Rome, GA $5,933
2nd Toby Bell Tallapoosa, GA $3,445
3rd Richard Moats Rome, GA $2,297
4th Grover Faulkner Tuscaloosa, AL $1,723
5th Jeremy Kimbrell Gordo, AL $1,531
6th James Falgout Birmingham, AL $1,340
7th Daniel Irvine Cape Girardeau, MO $1,148
8th Larry White Braxton, MS $957
9th Christopher Canan New Orleans, LA $766

PEARL RIVER POKER OPEN - Ante Up Poker Tour
Pearl River Resort - Choctaw, Miss.
EVENT #5 - No-Limit Hold'em Bounty
Buy-in:
$250
Entries: 21
Prize pool: $3,213
1st Hiep Doan Marrero, LA $1,606
2nd Terry Simpson Enterprise, MS $964
3rd Christopher Canaan New Orleans, LA $643

PEARL RIVER POKER OPEN - Ante Up Poker Tour
Pearl River Resort - Choctaw, Miss.
EVENT #6 - No-Limit Hold'em
Buy-in:
$200
Entries: $150
Prize pool: $23,250
1st Kenneth Stanton Dalton, GA $5,811
2nd James Davis Jackson, TN $3,139
3rd Harinder Chawla Madison, MS $2,093
4th Larry Barker Ohatchee, AL $1,860
5th Joe Mahar Lacey Springs, AL $1,628
6th Charles Griffin Florence, AL $1,395
7th John Demarco Ocean Springs, MS $1,163
8th John Williams Meridian, MS $930
9th Yousef Saleh Meridian, MS $698
10th Danny Penny Pensacola, FL $558
11th Karl Chesser Woodstock,GA $558
12th Paul Leggett Rockmart, GA $558
13th James Frye Columbus, GA $488
14th Clifford Chisolm Collinsville, AL $488
15th Robert Lemke Forrest City, AR $488
16th Donald Dove New Orleans, LA $465
17th Eric Suloza Greensboro, GA $465
18th Kelly Boyd Durant, MS $465

PEARL RIVER POKER OPEN - Ante Up Poker Tour
Pearl River Resort - Choctaw, Miss.
Event #7 - No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack
Buy-in:
$350
Entries: 30
Prize pool: $8,700
1st Terry Simpson Enterprise, AL $3,480
2nd Jerry Giroir Lafayette, LA $2,088
3rd Karl Chesser Woodstock, GA $1,479
4th Hiep Doan New Orleans, LA $1,044
5th John Humphries Taylorsville, GA $609

EVENT #8 CANCELLED
PEARL RIVER POKER OPEN - Ante Up Poker Tour
Pearl River Resort - Choctaw, Miss.
EVENT #10 - No-Limit Hold'em
Buy-in:
$200
Entries: 22
Prize pool: $3,410
1. Luke Thames, $1,600
2. Jerry Giroir, $1,000
3. Sheryl Stickland, $600
4. Randall Sarbey, $200