What was going on till the final table in the first annual competition was unbelievable as many famous poker players were knocked out. Their game was fast and loose and it seemed as if the game was over in a few seconds. Many celebrities and highrollers were eliminated. The first to go was Scotty Nguyen, then there were Rene Angelil (Celine Dion’s husband), professional poker player and emcee Robert Williamson III, and Playmate Samantha Cole. Jeff Gordon having shared the table with Williamson and Chris Jesus Ferguson left the game after two hours into play.
The group of finalists consisted of Chris Moneymaker, who was the first, Anna Bravo, who in the game proudly outlasted Jesus, and Ali Nejad. Lately they were joined by Mitchell Mantin, Buddy Kemner, Mike Sugg and Rock Cloutier. The last one – Rock Cloutier – was late making people wait for him in the best traditions of Phil Hellmuth, but not living up to Hellmuth’s best playing poker standards.
The first prize was taken by Mike Sugg of Moorpark, and Nejad won the second one. The winner got nearly $18K in cash, a seat in the WSOP and a handshake from Jeff Gordon.
The tournament appeared to be pretty funny, unusual, but entertaining. From the very beginning of the tournament up to the final presentation the room was full of fans, friends, ESPN production folks getting ready for the upcoming NASCAR broadcast and simple strangers. The underprivileged families across the country will benefit from the tournament.
Las Vegas will willingly welcome Jeff Gordon and his crew next year.