Nguyen Challenge brings Blaze, Payne, and Moore

Scotty Nguyen

With two events per day playing out at the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge in Oklahoma, poker players are feeling the heat (mainly from a player named Blaze), the Payne of defeat and a whole lot Moore leading up to the main event this weekend.

Since's last update, results have been released for six more events, starting with May 19's No-Limit Hold'em event at 11 a.m. which was won by Johnnie Blaze Short.

Short, from Joplin, Mo., conquered a field of 229 entries to take home his $35,172.

After his win, he said, "This is an especially exciting win because it's a major tournament and the Cherokee Casino is known for having the top poker program in this part of the country."

The other winners in the following days probably agree.

Charles Moore was a little more than the other players could handle in the May 20 Tulsa Sports Charities Heisman Bounty tournament that brought former college and pro football players to the felt.

Each of the sports celebrities present, including NFL Hall of Famer Billy Sims, had a $50 bounty on their heads during the tournament.

Sims may have the moves on the football field, but it was Moore who took home the $8,468 top prize.

"It's a real thrill not only to win this event, but to do it with so many well-known athletes in it," Moore said. "It was something I'll treasure forever."

That same day, poker players were also feeling the pain of defeat in the hands of Jim Payne, from Ponca, Okla. He topped the 120 players in the Limit Hold'em event to take home $13,680.

"The tournament has grown so large we draw players from throughout the heartland of America," said Rick O'Connell, Cherokee Casino director of poker and table games. "So, were always pleased to see a Sooner take home a trophy."

Douglas Dykes was the next up to collect a first place finish in the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge when he took down the Pot-Limit Omaha re-buy event May 21.

His $300+$30 buy-in was well worth the $20,505 Dykes walked away with after wading through the 62-player field.

"What a win!" Dykes said. "This is exciting!"

Jason Hardebeck shared in that exuberance later that day when he came out on the top of a heap of 396 plaers in the No-Limit Hold'em event.

His first place finish earned him $11,044 after more than 10 hours of card combat.

"The Cherokee Casino puts on a heck of a tournament," Hardebeck said. "A player feels like he's won an important event if you score here. I know I sure do."

That sentiment could be what's helping the tournament grow each year at the Cherokee Casino. Attendance so far has set new records for the casino.

"Just about every event is up over last year," said Tony Armstrong, Cherokee Casino senior manager of poker. "The tournament is already a big success."

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