Shuffle Up and Deal
Staff Sgt. James Morris, Combined Arms Support Command, won Fort Lee’s Texas Hold’em tournament, March 24, when he called Gunnery Sgt. Damon Smith’s, Marine Corps Detachment, all in. Morris’ winning hand consisted of two pairs, jacks over eights.

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After two days of battling against some of the installation’s most determined card jockeys, Staff Sgt. James Morris, Combined Arms Support Command, won Fort Lee’s Texas Hold’em tournament when he called Gunnery Sgt. Damon Smith’s, Marine Corps Detachment, all in. Morris’ winning hand consisted of two pairs, jacks over eights.

“I felt pretty confident having the chip lead going into heads-up play,” said Morris. “I got good cards, and just played them as such.”

Thirty die-hard Texas Hold’em poker players tested their skills March 17 and 24 at the Regimental Club. Each player began the tournament with $50,000 in poker chips. While each hand was intense, all players carefully studied one another’s strategy. Although the tournament lasted for seven exhilarating hours, the players managed to maintain their table etiquette.

With the blinds increasing each hour, 20 players were eliminated by the end of day one. Dennis Painter was the chip count leader after the day’s tournament with 395,000 followed by Smith with 310,000 chips. As several players laid down their last hands for the day, they attentively observed from a nearby seat as spectators.

The second day started with 10 players staring over smaller chip stacks as the chip values increased. Small blind started at 5,000 and the big blind at 10,000. Second Lt. Larry Cook, Co. E, 244th Quartermaster Battalion, the low chip count person after day one, was just waiting for an opportunity for a good hand or a serious bluff to go all in. Cook finished ninth in the tournament. For Painter, the cards were not his friend as he placed seventh.

“Overall the tournament was a great success,” said Dan Gauvin, tournament director. “We were very happy to provide entertainment like this for our Fort Lee community and look forward to doing more poker tournaments in the future.”