The Arena Poker Room at Talking Stick Resort gave women throughout the southwest an opportunity to prove their skills to be considered the top women poker players in the state of Arizona.
The 11th Annual Ladies State Poker Championship covered two full days – Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18.
Day 1 brought out 191 women, who competed until there were just 30 players remaining.
On Sunday, those 30 women began playing in the toughest tournament they had ever entered. With this competitive group, luck only went so far; true poker skills were required to make it to the final table.
The first three hours were fast and furious as player after player went all-in trying to double their stacks in order to compete. By about 1 pm, the field was already down to the final table. Places 11 through 20 did cash, with each of those 10 players taking home $986.
The first player to drop from the final table was Nancy Hellmer from Scottsdale, who received $1,289.
Next, 2010 California State champion and 2013 Arizona State Champion Kathy Chang from Valencia, California, was eliminated ninth and took home $1,573. There were four players at the final table from California, and when anyone in that group was knocked out of contention, they stayed closeby to cheer on the remaining Californians.
The eighth place finisher was Jeannie Johnson-Bourdos of Scottsdale – she left with $1,934 in cash.
Seventh place and $2,321 was not the lucky finish Sandra O’Donnel – from Sedro-Woolley, Washington, a tiny town in northwest Washington – was looking for. She went all-in with Ace/Queen suited vs. pocket 3’s for the chip leader Margery Edwards. The flop was 3, Ace, 8 rainbow, putting Margery ahead with trip 3’s. The turn card was a 4, and the river was another Ace, giving Sandra trip Aces, but also giving Margery a full house to take out Sandra.
At 2:15 pm, Ruth Hall from Texas, a former Nevada State Women’s Champion, went all-in with an A/K against the second biggest stack, Terrice Jackson from Surprise with a J/8. The flop helped no one, so Ruth was ahead with her Ace, but an 8 hit on the turn for Terrice and with nothing on the river, Ruth was out sixth with $2,733.
Twenty minutes later, Linh Nguyen went all-in with A/Q vs. Terrice Jackson’s A/6 suited. The flop was K-10-8 rainbow, putting Linh ahead till the turn card was a 6, thus giving all of Linh’s chips to add to her already huge stack and send Nguyen home with a fifth place finish worth $3,172.
During the next 30 minutes, Lucy Hargett went all-in with a smaller stack and won twice. Then, at about 4pm, Lucy went all-in 9/10 suited vs. the big stack Margery with a 9/K. The flop, turn and river helped neither player, so Margery won with a King high to knock Lucy out of the tournament in fourth place, winning $$3,997.
The Showdown at 4:15pm: Big stack Terrice Jackson went all-in with an A/10 against the biggest stack, Margery from Malibu who called with a K/Q. Margery caught a King on the flop, and it held up to send Terrice to the sidelines in third place with a nice payday of $6,317.
THE BIG HAND TURNAROUND: Time 4:25pm – Margery was all-in with a Queen of Clubs and 9 of Hearts. Maria Tibuni called with a slightly smaller stack and the Queen and Jack of Hearts. The flop was Ace, Jack and 5 of Clubs; the turn card as the 2 of Diamonds. Maria was ahead and about to be the overwhelming chip leader when WHAM! The 8 of Clubs hit the board to give Margery a CLUB Flush, and the win as the 2016 Arizona State Women’s Championship. She took a stunning trophy plus $11,990 back to Malibu. Maria Tibuni of Avondale was also rewarded with a trophy and a second place finish of $9,283 in cool cash for her great play.
The tournament came off without a hitch thanks to the professional poker room staff that worked the event, including Matt and Molly Brentlinger along with Jessica Swenson, plus management and the marketing teams at Talking Stick Resort.
Final Table of 10 and pay-outs:
1st Place – Margery Edwards (Malibu CA) $11,990 – 2nd, Maria Tibuni (Avondale AZ) $9,283
3rd Terrice Jackson (Surprise AZ) $6,317 – 4th Lucy Hargett (Carlsbad, CA) $3,997
5th Linh Nguyen (Scottsdale AZ) $3,172 – 6th Ruth Hall (Texas) $2,733
7th Sandra O’Donnell (Washington) $2,321 – 8th Jeannie Johnson-Bourdos (Scottsdale) $1,934
9th Kathy Chang (Valencia, CA) $1,573 and 10th Nancy Hellmer (Scottsdale) $1,289
Places 11th thru 20th each earned $986 for their skillful play in this tournament
Captions: 3 to 4 photos
Champion Margery Edwards holding trophy and Tom Schneider Poker Room Director
Champion Margery with winning hand and chips on table
The final 2 players – Margery and Maria
The Final table (if room)