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Mississippi Dentist Drills Opponents in Poker Showdown:

Terry Garner wins first place and $102,306 in third-ever poker tournament

The longest final table at this year’s Jack Binion World Poker Open was bound to be the highly-contested $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em event.  Clocking in at just over six hours, the finale featured a dominant first-time win for a family dentist from Hattiesburg, MS.  For the nine rivals, watching the deck run over Garner was about as enjoyable as getting a root canal without the Novocain.  At times, flustered opponents openly gasped when Garner revealed monster hands, which time after time proved to be unbeatable.  It seemed – whatever Garner needed, he caught -- and then some.  You could bank on the fact that if Garner had two diamonds in his hand, the flop would come all diamonds.  If Garner had Q-Q against A-K, he’d not only win with the pair of ladies, but a Queen would come for overkill.  His big pocket pairs always held up.  It was though Garner was coated in Teflon, drilling deep into the gums of his eight opponents, tapping into raw nerve endings with every big hand. 

Garner’s win amounted to $102,306, the coveted gold and diamond bracelet awarded to each event winner, and an entry into the $10,000 Jack Binion World Poker Open championship, now just two days away.  With his wife watching and cheering every hand that was dealt, Garner made the victory seem far too easy.  Of the 16 events thus far played at the JBWPO, this seemed the most effortless.

On Day One, 161 players were eliminated.  Nine of these players, places 10 through 18 received prize money.  Nine finalists returned for Day Two and players were eliminated as follows:

9th Place – Amir Vahedi has become one of poker’s most famous names and faces.  The Sherman Oaks-based tournament pro, who finished 5th in the WSOP main event in 2003, blasted through his chips quickly, often catching the worst possible hand time and time again.  Vahedi would play A-K, hit an Ace on the flop, bet aggressively, then lose to two pair on the end.  On his final hand, Vahedi lost to Terry Garner’s spade flush.  Vahedi received a payout of $6,392.

8th Place – John Bonetti has been one of poker’s most colorful personalities for more than a decade.  The Brooklyn-born three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner now living in Houston was ‘all in’ a few times, then finally got blinded down to the felt.  He put his final chips in with J-9, hit a Jack on the flop, and ended up losing to Barry Shulman’s pair of Queens with A-Q.  Bonetti had to ‘fuggettabout’ a tournament victory.  He graciously accepted 8th place prize money of $9,300.  

7th Place – Daniel Elwell came in with the lowest stack size, but jumped up into 7th place.  Elwell, from Nashville was attending the JBWPO for the first time this year.  He flopped top pair with A-K on his final hand, but ended up losing to Terry Garner’s diamond flush.

Elwell collected $12,400.

6th Place – This was Frank Kassela’s second trip to the final table this year.  The Memphis area President of Mid-American Specialties survived a number of ‘all in’ situations and started with the best hand holding J-J in his final bout of the night, but lost to Cecilia Reyes’ A-J when four diamonds came on board.  Limit Hold’em is obviously Kassela’s favorite game, as he now has back-to-back final tables in Limit Hold’em events at this tournament.  His win amounted to $15,501.

5th Place – Cecilia Reyes won a Limit Hold’em event here in 2003.  In fact, she was with only player in the finale with a JBWPO win to her credit.  The wife of 2001 WSOP champion Carlos Mortensen, a great poker player in her own right, had a see-saw battle at the final table.  She went card dead in her last half hour of play, and busted out with a pair of 4s, losing to Minh Nguyen’s 7-7.  Reyes, from Madrid, Spain received $18,601 for 5th place.

4th Place – Doug Booth struggled all night as one of the shortest stacks.  He patiently waited for the right spots, and seemed to make the right decision about ‘all in’ hands several times.  However, his good fortunate finally ran our when he took A-4 of spades up against Terry Garner’s A-10.  Booth picked up a flush draw, but missed.  Booth, a salesman of fire equipment from Bowling Green, KY, was extinguished in 4th place – worth $24,801.

3rd Place – Card Player magazine publisher Barry Shulman came in as the chip leader.  He was on the verge of the chip lead most of the way, but took a few tough losses – mostly to Terry Garner, which reversed the momentum of the final table.  Shulman was edited out of the three-player script when he lost on his final hand to Garner’s full house – Kings full of Queens.  Shulman recently released his new poker book “52 Tips For Texas Hold’em Poker.”  Unfortunately, there are no tips for beating a player who keeps getting dealt the best hand.  Shulman, winner of a WSOP championship in 2002, collected $31,001 for 3rd place.

Although Terry Garner clearly had an enormous tailwind pushing him towards victory, Minh Nguyen was not about to make things easy for the Dixie dentist.  Nguyen was at a chip disadvantage during the entire heads-up period, but did manage to maintain enough chips most of the way that even the slightest rush might have been able to change the outcome of this event. 

But it wasn’t to be.  Nguyen was grinded down to his final chips and tossed his final bet into the pot with A-J.  Garner had 10-9.  The final board showed 10-8-8-6-5, giving Garner two pair, and his first tournament victory.

Runner-up Minh Nguyen, a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner, collected $56,422.

Terry Garner was ecstatic following his win.  To his credit, Garner admitted he received a favorable rush of cards at the final table.  However, it must also be pointed out that Garner has played in only three poker tournaments before – and he has three in-the-money finishes.  Not too many poker players can say that.

Special Note:  A Good Deed Shall Not Go Unnoticed

JBWPO poker dealer Bob Carter found a bag in the men’s restroom yesterday.  Incredibly, the bag contained a whopping $84,000 in cash.  Carter turned in the money, which was later claimed by the rightful owner.  Carter received a generous tip for his honesty.  The poker award for integrity for this tournament goes to Bob Carter, from Kansas City, MO.

2005 Jack Binion World Poker Open Event #16 Results

Horseshoe Casino Hotel and

Gold Strike Casino-Resort, Tunica, MS

Daily Report

January 22, 2005

Event #16

Limit Hold’em

Buy-In: $2,000

Number of Entries: 170 

Prize Money: $311,239


Official Results:


1.   Terry Garner                     Hattiesburg, MS                     $102,306

2.   Minh Nguyen                   Lake Elsinore, CA                 56,422

3.   Barry Shulman                 Las Vegas, NV                       31,001

4.   Doug Booth                     Bowling Green, KY               24,801      

5.   Cecilia Reyes                   Madrid, Spain                         18,601

6.   Frank Kassela                  Germantown, TN                   15,501

7.   Daniel Elwell                   Nashville, TN                         12,400

8.   John Bonetti                     Houston, TX                          9,300

9.   Amir Vahedi                    Sherman Oaks, CA                 6,392


* plus a seat in the $10,000 championship event


10. Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman    Laguna Niguel, CA                4,474

11. Craig DiSalvo                  Montpelier, VT                      4,474

12. Janie Trevino                   Corpus Christi, TX                4,474

13. Eddy Scharf                      Cologne, Germany                 3,835

14. Judy Rhodes                     Houma, LA                            3,835

15. Dennis Waterman            Myrtle Point, OR                   3,835

16. “Minneapolis Jim” Meehan  Minneapolis, MN             3,196

17. Doug Saab                       Birmingham, AL           3,196

18. Steve Crockett                 Costa Mesa, CA                     3,196        

Final Table Started at: 4:00 pm CST

Final Table Ended at: 10:15 pm CST


Report by Nolan Dalla – JBWPO Media Director


Tournament Director – David Eglseder

Co-Tournament Director (Horseshoe) – Ken Lambert, Jr.

Co-Tournament Director (Gold Strike) – Robert McGovern

Events 1- 5
Click for Results for Event #6, #7, #8, #9,#10
Click for Results for Events #11, #12, #13, #14
click for Schedule of Events

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