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Pala hosts Texas Hold’em tourney

PALA — Greg “Grumpy” Heslip’s 10-8 topped Shawn Delargy’s 6-4 in the final hand and the San Diego quality engineer pocketed the $8,000 first prize in the $25,000 Annie Duke Free Roll Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament on Jan. 30 at Pala Casino Spa & Resort.
Heslip beat 66 players, including Duke, for his first tournament victory. Duke, a top poker professional and a star of “Celebrity Apprentice,” hosted Pala’s first major tournament in its new 15-table poker room that was part of the casino’s $100 million renovation.
“It was competitive,” Heslip said. “There were a lot of good players here today. Annie was terrific as the host and it really feels good to finish first against this field. I play here two or three times a week and will definitely be back.”
Delargy, a control operator for a major utility in Rancho Cucamonga, took home $5,900. He won $4,900 for second place but also earned a $1,000 bonus for knocking Duke out of the tournament in the fifth round with pocket jacks over her ace-10 of diamonds.
“I played against Annie in Las Vegas several times,” Delargy said. “It always helps your game to play top people like her.”
All 10 final-table players earned cash prizes. Kyle Perez from Pala finished third and earned $3,500; fourth was Robert Butler of Escondido, $2,000; fifth was Robert Muehlberg of Wildomar, $1,700; sixth was Glen Connolly of Temecula, $1,500; seventh was Chris Ciremele of Valley Center, $1,200; eighth was Joseph Simms of Fallbrook, $1,000; ninth was Gary Benton of Fallbrook, $700; and 10th was Peggy Diaz of Vista, $500.
Southern California poker players can qualify until midnight March 3 to win a $10,000 entry into the 2010 World Series of Poker in Pala’s WSOP Free Roll Poker Tournament that will be played March 6.
The first 120 players who accumulate a minimum 40 hours of live play will qualify for a seat and will have the opportunity to win a $10,000 entry into the 2010 World Series of Poker that starts July 5 at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Those who qualify with 40 to 59.99 hours of live play will receive $3,000 in chips to start the WSOP Free Roll Tournament. Those who play 60 to 79.99 hours will receive $5,000 in starting chips and those who play 80 or more hours will start with $7,000 in chips. During the qualification period, players can accumulate double hours if they play between 3 a.m. and 11 a.m. daily.
The WSOP Free Roll qualifying tournament will start at 10:30 a.m. March 6. In addition to their starting chips, players also will be able to take advantage of a $10 optional staff fee for $1,000 in additional chips; a $25 optional re-buy for $2,500 in chips and a $50 single add-on for $5,000 in additional chips.
Qualification and registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If more than 120 players enter, the tournament could expand to three days. The tournament would start at 10:30 a.m. on March 6 and March 7 and play would end when five players remain in each event. play would start at 2:30 p.m. March 8 and would host the final table.