Annual poker tournament finds winner in fifth hour


Doug Smith’s not one to prattle on – something that came in handy Saturday night during Beta Gamma Psi’s 11th annual Texas Hold ’Em Poker Tournament.

He’s been playing about 7 years, mostly with friends. Reaching the final table and facing off with Josh Selleck and James Mercer Feb. 2, Smith kept his cool as yellow chips moved from one side of the table to the other.

Eventually, they were all in his hands.

“It was all pretty easy-going,” the White Oak resident said Tuesday, happy to take home a $1,000 gift card, but in no hurry to spill his secrets from the evening’s hands.

This year’s poker challenge, set at the Hidden Timbers Lakeside Venue, drew about 60 players Saturday night, Beta Gamma Psi sorority members acting once again as dealers.

It was a successful year, co-organizer Brandy Henry said. The sorority’s still counting proceeds from sponsorships, entry fees, re-buys, donations and raffle tickets. All proceeds benefit Kilgore ISD Education Foundation.

“We do not have an exact number yet,” Henry said. “The numbers, they look great. I don’t think they’re as good as they were last year, but that’s hard to tell. We still have a few expenses to account for and a few checks that came.”

This year’s fundraiser was a little more challenging than usual, falling a month ahead of the regular date.

Meanwhile, “We did not have a lot of our regulars there that come every year,” Henry said, “because of all the different events that were going on.”

There was still robust play, though.

“All in all I think it went great. We had a good turnout. The competition was good, but we can always have a lot more. I think everybody loved it, everybody had a lot of fun. We had a lot more sponsors this year than we usually do.”

Dealing the final table herself, Henry and her cohorts congratulated Mercer on his third-place finish and watched as the final chips moved back-and-forth between Selleck and Smith. Ultimately, the former finished second, and Smith took home the bragging rights – though, he’s not shouting it from the rooftops.

“It was fun.”


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