December 15, 2005

Robinson Wins First Annual Timber Ridge Texas Hold’em Tournament of Champions

One doesn’t have to travel to Las Vegas or shell out the big bucks to make it to the “final table.” Local Texas Hold’em enthusiasts capped off a successful premier season for the Timber Ridge Golf Course charity poker events with the first annual Tournament of Champions held December 11 at the course clubhouse in Memphis.

Roger Robinson was the last player standing when the final cards fell. Shawn Douglas finished second and Alan Middleton was third in the finale.

Along with bragging rights, Robinson took home a hand-crafted poker table, with the insignia of the 2005 Timber Ridge Texas Hold’em Champion, that was donated to the club. Other prizes included poker computer games, soda, t-shirts and other donated merchandise.

A total of 24 players qualified for the main event. To be eligible for the championship, each player had to have at least one top-three finish in any of the monthly play-in tournaments.

All the proceeds from the monthly poker tournaments went to the golf course, a not-for-profit public organization, which has taken advantage of the game that has taken the world by storm.

Back in January, Timber Ridge began cashing in on the Texas Hold’em craze. The version of the seven-card poker game was made famous by the televised World Series of Poker, which in 2005 drew more than 5,600 players from around the world and paid winner, Australian Joseph Hachem, $7.5 million. The sport has grown by leaps and bounds since the inception of the WSOP back in 1970, thanks in large part to the growing amounts of televised coverage ranging from a regular spot on ESPN to the Bravo channel’s celebrity poker show.

The Timber Ridge tournament series is the brainchild of two golf course members Bob Courtright and Mike Johnson. The two organized the monthly gatherings in an effort to raise money for the country club, which has witnessed declining memberships and lower revenue in the past several years.

Locally, the monthly fund-raisers drew on average from 20 to 30 players. The events are open to the public and participants do not have to be a member of the golf course. It is a non-smoking environment and refreshments are available for sale at the pro shop.

Organizers are already making plans for a second season, with the opening qualifying tournament to be played Thursday, January 12 at the golf course clubhouse. Plans call for possibly expanding the series to twice monthly qualifiers with the tourney of champions to be held again in December 2006.

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