It was a long night for the players in Beta Gamma Psi’s 10th annual poker tournament Saturday: the competition continued well past midnight, until Colton Shipp raked in the win about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
“I’m not sure that we’ve ever gone over midnight,” said co-organizer Brandy Henry. Proceeds benefiting Kilgore Fire Department are still being counted: “If I had to throw anything out there, I’d say this is probably one of our best years, which really shocked me because of the weather.”
Henry and her sorority sisters expected the wet skies would keep players away, but the Landing Event Center at Joshua Farms was bustling as 74 players stacked up their chips, grabbed their cards and got to it about 7 p.m. Feb. 24.
By the end of the night – after re-buys, add-ons, raffles and other fundraising pushes – Shipp went home with a $1000 prize, runner-up Will Hale left with $500 and $100 remained for Mark Williams in third place.
“We had tons of door prizes donated by multiple businesses and people. We also had just donations” in addition to spectators buying tickets in support of the tournament, Henry said. “We actually still have money coming in from donors.”
Offering surprise re-buys and add-ons helped keep players in the game and raised more revenues, she noted. In the weeks leading up to the event, online registration for the competition found a warm reception and helped boost participation.
“I think that’s probably one of the reasons why it went a little bit longer and that’s one of the reasons our money is a little better this year,” Henry said. “This year I don’t think we took our first table down until during the second hour. Nobody went out. Everybody was really good.
Notably, “We had a lot of our regulars who were not there this year – a lot of people had stuff going on. But we had more participation from new people that had never participated before.”
Follow the Kilgore News Herald for more on the event’s results.