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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Local Poker Player Wins Gold in His First Try

26 August 2009

The final table for the World Championship No-Limit Texas Hold'em Tournament at the 2009 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas was set on Wednesday (July 15), but we'll have to wait until Nov. 7 – 10 for the nine finalists to battle for the gold bracelet and millions of dollars in prize money on ESPN.

One Chicago-area player who won't have to wait for his gold bracelet is Tony Veckey from Lake in the Hills, Illinois. He earned the coveted hardware along with $673,276 in cash for winning the first WSOP event he ever entered earlier this month.

He was only the ninth winner at this year's competition to be officially classified as an amateur.

The 30-year-old Devry University grad and software engineer for Motorola has been playing poker seriously for only two years, but the skills he has learned were enough to outlast 2,817 opponents and earn him the championship.

The tournament he won was Event #54, the seventh and final $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em tournament on the schedule. It was the second largest event in number of entries of the 2009 WSOP.

"I like seeing the pictures of all the money," Veckey said when asked what inspired him to fly out for the tournament. "I said to myself, 'Oh, I have to go and enter that'."

His goal was to make it past the first day of competition to be eligible to share in the $3,846,570 total prize pool. But as the tournament unfolded and he saw he had a chance for the bracelet, he quickly set his sights higher.

Veckey actually had made plans to play in an earlier event, but he was forced to shift gears when he discovered that it was already sold out.

Perhaps his most memorable hand at the final table was when he folded the pocket kings he had been dealt before the flop.

"My opponent was playing very tight," Veckey explained. "He re-raised my re-raise, so I thought he had aces. That was the first time I have ever folded kings pre-flop."

Veckey tabled his hand face up, which gave his opponents and the audience a look at his unorthodox strategy. The other player's cards were not shown.

He played his other hands strong enough to defeat his eight opponents at the final table, many of whom were also inexperienced. In fact, five of the nine players had never previously cashed in a WSOP event.

His rousing success was not enough to give him thoughts of entering the World Championship, at least this time around.

"I am going to go back to work," he said. "But if I win the Main Event next year, that will be a tougher decision."

Perhaps one tournament that Veckey should set his sights on is the World Series of Poker circuit event which will be held at Horseshoe Casino Hammond Oct. 16-25. The schedule was announced last week.

Last year Horseshoe hosted one of the most popular tournaments among all of the circuit events held at casinos across the nation. Once again, in addition to a week-long slate of exciting events, at stake will be a seat in the Main Event at the 2010 WSOP.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp