Texas Hold ‘Em tourney a mind game | SummitDaily.com

Texas Hold ‘Em tourney a mind game

Brady McCombs
weld county correspondent

Her thin, manicured fingers conceal her two red playing cards.

The wedding ring shines in the glare of the lights as she gently lifts her cards to peak at what she’s been dealt. Her red hair outlines an expressionless face as she glances around the table.

Finally, she grabs a heaping stack of green and black chips and places her bet. One-by-one, the others at the table throw their cards at the pile, wilting under the pressure of her high stakes bet. A smile fills her face, and she gathers the pot.

Another win for Cheryl Hackstadt, a 54-year-old Greeley mother who loves Texas Hold ‘Em.

“It’s the competition,” Hacksadt said. “It’s the possibility that you might get a Royal Flush, that you might win.”

Hackstadt arrived Saturday to the Best Western Regency in Greeley along with 288 other poker enthusiasts to compete in the 2005 Northern Colorado Poker regional tournament with a $10,000 buy-in to the 2005 World Series of Poker on the line.

Hackstadt didn’t win, but performed well, coming in among the final 30.

The group began at 10 a.m., filling 40 tables in two large rooms. By 2 p.m., the group had wittled down to 80. By 3 p.m., 50 players remained at seven tables. By 5 p.m., only eight players remained playing at one table. Finally, at 6:30 p.m., a champion emerged, Kent D. Willmann of Longmont.

Willman has until Monday to choose between $7,500 cash or a seat at the World Series of Poker July 7-15 in Las Vegas.

The room had enough sights and sounds to keep a people-watcher busy all day.

Hats ” worn backwards, forwards and sideways ” sat on top of the men’s and women’s heads. Sunglasses ” dark ones covering their eyes, light ones resting on their hats or head, and sparkly ones dangling from sweaters ” accessorized the players’ clothes. Cell phones ” used to pysche out opponents or tell baby-sitters they’d be home late ” became part of the play at each table.

Hackstadt stayed clear of those popular accessories. She wore jeans with a yellow sweatshirt over a white blouse. At one point, she put eye-drops in her eyes, but other than that they were uncovered the rest of the time. She lightly chewed gum and drank iced-tea in a white styrofoam cup stained by red lipstick on the outer edges.

Hackstadt said she used to play “kitchen table” poker before she and her husband, Daryl Hackstadt, had two children. But recently, with her two children grown and on their own, she’s rediscovered her passion for Texas Hold ‘Em. She said she plays three times a week and at home on the Internet.

She said her two children just laugh about their mother’s pastime.

“This is a mom thing,” she said. “An, ‘Oh, Mom,’ thing.”

1st place – Kent D. Willman, Longmont, $7,500 or a seat at the World Series

2nd place – Bruce Sparrow, Keenesburg, $300

3rd place -Mike Seaworth, Fort Collins, $100

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