Heartwarming tale from WSOPC Event 8

Mike Canon
Mike Canon, WSOPC Tunica Event 8 winner

There are lots of reasons people come out to play in poker tournaments. Some enjoy the competition, some do it for a living and some are just looking for that big cash.

Mike Canon plays poker occasionally, but he signed up for Event 8 of the WSOP circuit at the Grand Casino Tunica because he wanted to replace a friend's WSOPC ring.

For many years Canon and Doug Saab and another top player named Steve Brasher were best buddies in their hometown of Birmingham, Ala. Brasher died in September 2006, and Saab paid tribute to his friend by placing a Circuit ring he'd won in Brasher's casket.

This was only Cannon's second tournament when he signed up to play, and he got some advice from Saab and Barbara Enright before taking on the 211-person playing field for the $500 No-Limit Texas Hold'em event.

"They told me I needed to be more aggressive, and I was," he said. That advice and perhaps a little luck helped take Canon from his position in the middle of the pack when the final table started all the way to his eventual win.

The chip counts at the start of the final table were:

Seat 1 Don Godsey 14,200

Seat 2 Henry Jensen 10,700

Seat 3 Brian McKain 38,500

Seat 4 Ross Rehrig 40,900

Seat 5 Mike Budde 47,000

Seat 6 Jeff Helton. 30,400

Seat 7 Jack Sweesy 133,700

Seat 8 Mike Canon 44,800

Seat 9 Warren Wiggins 67,200

It took only two hands at the start of the final table to bust out a player. Jeff Helton moved all-in with pocket eights, and Canon called from the small blind with pocket queens. There were no miracles on the board to save Helton and he hit the road to collect his ninth-place winnings.

Next out was Don Godsey, who'd started play at the final table second-lowest in chips. Jack Sweesy raised with A-2, and Godsey re-raised all-in for his last 11,000 with Ac-4c.

The flop dropped 9c-6c-2d, giving Godsey the flush draw, but the deuce gave Sweesy a pair, and it held up through the turn and river.

Five hands after that, another player bit the dust. Mike Budde raised with pocket aces, and Warren Higgins threw down the gauntlet with 9h-2h. The 51-year-old facilities manager from Missouri tried to make his move at the wrong time, though, and he never caught up to Budde's aces.

Budde didn't fare as well a little later when he went all-in with 9s-8s and got a call from Brian McKain in the big blind with pocket fours. The board couldn't have been any worse for Budde as the flop brought McKain another four, and then the turn paired up fives on the board to give him a full house.

With the table down to five, the players started talking about a deal. They agreed to $13,000 each and they would continue to play for the ring and the remaining $6,000 in the prize pool.

It turned out to be a good deal for Sweesy. He was second in chips when the deal was made, but he was the next to go out, losing with pocket sixes to Canon's aces.

McKain fell to Ross Rehrig to out next, and he was followed by Henry Jensen. That left Canon against Rehrig for what turned out to be a hard-fought heads-up match. The two traded the lead back and forth for 30 hands before Canon finally woke up with pocket jacks after Rehrig moved all-in with A-6.

The flop brought another jack and Canon's win was sealed.

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