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Hutchinson, KS 982 Member Anthony Mills
Wins Inaugural Moose Texas Hold 'Em Title

 

He wins $10,000 --
and he's won plenty of new friends through the fraternity since he joined in fall 2008

Click Photo To Enlarge

Anthony Mills (black shirt with arms upraised) reacts as he realizes he has just won the inaugural Texas Hold 'Em tournament sponsored by the Moose fraternity. A member of Hutchinson, KS Lodge 982, Mills finished first of 500 competing players in the Jan. 11-13 competition at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Anthony Mills (black shirt) and Wayne Bohrn (red shirt) were the final two players in the inaugural Texas Hold 'Em tournament held by the Moose. At one point, Bohrn, from Twin Falls, ID Lodge 612 seemed to have an edge at the final table, but Mills managed to rally and win the tournament.

Several of the players at the final table of the Texas Hold 'Em tournament sponsored by the Moose fraternity survey the scene, as does Golden Nugget Director of Poker Operations John Colville (standing, wearing gray suit.) Players seated at the table include, from left, Nathan Pipkin, Jerry Stafford, Elie Elias, Sam McLain and Anthony Mills.

The crowd of more than 500 Moose poker players and their guests enjoyed a pre-tournament banquet Sunday evening, Jan. 10 at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, before the first International Moose Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament.

Exactly 500 Moose poker players were in place, ready to draw, wager, raise and win, as play began Monday morning, Jan. 11 in the first International Moose Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. 

LAS VEGAS, Jan 13- Describing how Anthony Mills won the inaugural Texas Hold 'Em tournament organized by the Moose fraternity was easy - he finished tops among the 500 competing Moose players, earning himself a $10,000 championship prize.

But discussing how Mills got to that table in the first place is a story in itself -- one that gets to the core of the fraternity and the reason why its International Sports competitions take place.

From the competitors  who started play on Jan. 11 at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, NV, 50 were still standing on Jan. 13, the final day of competition. Those were whittled to 10 who comprised the final table. By the end of the day, only two were left: Mills, from Hutchinson, KS Lodge 982, and Wayne Bohrn from Twin Falls, ID Lodge 612. After some cat-and-mouse hands, Mills got the hand he wanted, took out Bohrn and won the tournament.

"There was a lot of luck involved," Mills said. "But other than the day I got married, this is the happiest day of my life."

Now as to the pathway that brought Mills from his home in Hutchinson, KS to Las Vegas - that is a great story as well.

"I moved to Kansas from Ohio in May of 2007 -- and I didn't know a soul in Hutchinson other than my wife," Mills said. "I joined the Moose Lodge in November of 2008 and it was the best experience of my life. I've developed friends and acquaintances that will last probably the rest of my life."
Three of those friends drove to Las Vegas with Mills.

"Ernie Stohr, Roger Chaffin and Paul Martin; the four of us came out here in a car together," Mills said. "These guys have made me feel like they have known me forever. It was the best car ride we had here. I tell you, Ernie Stohr and Roger Chaffin should have signed themselves up for a standup comedy show because it was the funniest 18-hour car ride I've ever had."

There were a myriad of methods for transporting the card players from their homes to the tournament, and they came from literally all corners of the country. A look at the final table showed players from nine different states. By the time they reached that elite spot, winning was clearly important, though it wasn't that way even for the eventual winner when he started his journey.

"When I started in the tournament, I said, 'I know I can win money in this tournament but just get to Tuesday,'" Mills said. "I had the best time in the world playing poker on Monday. My goal on Tuesday was just to get to the Top 50."

Somewhere on that second day, Mills said, he stopped playing in the Moose Texas Hold 'Em tournament -- and just started playing poker.

"I got into a zone and I felt like I was playing back at my Hutchinson, KS Lodge," Mills said. "I thought I'd have issues putting a half-million or a million in a pot. But I had not issues. It was just like I was playing with my Lodge mates."

Mills said his goal was to make the final table when play between the Top 50 began on Wednesday. He achieved that goal, but was on the lower end of those Top 10 players due to a rough hand just before the final table was set.

"The cards turned for me in the final table," Mills said.

And when the final card turned and Mills realized he had won, he pumped his fists in the air, shook Bohrn's hand, hugged his Lodge mates and took in the enormity of what had just happened.

"I was speechless," Mills said. "I've seen this happen on TV and I've always said 'I'd like to be in a situation like that.' But I didn't know how I'd react. It was an unbelievable moment."

John Colville, Director of Poker Operations for the Golden Nugget announced on the eve of competition that the Moose event was the largest private tournament held to-date by the casino. He said at the event's conclusion that the tournament had its unique character.

"It was probably the friendliest tournament I've ever had, for having this many people in a room." Colville said. "They were competitive but they were friendly-competitive. They apologized for knocking each other out. They shook hands. You can tell it's a good organization, the Moose, because it was a quality individual that was here this week."

That spirit mattered to the tournament's hosts, who are used to seeing groups of all sizes - and demeanors - come through their doors.

"We can always get large groups in here, that's just the business that we're in," Colville said. "But to get the quality of the people we had here is special. And I don't mean quality from a financial standpoint or a business standpoint. They were just nice people. That's the long and the short of it."

Original expectations for a 300-person tournament proved to be far short of the mark. A total of 504 registered and 500 competed. Indications are that the next tournament - to take place at a date and site which are still to be determined - will be larger than this inaugural event.

"I don't know what happened, but something really good happened," Colville said. "From the feedback I've been getting, I bet it doubles next time, to 1,000."

A listing of the Top 50 players can be found online at:
http://www.mooseintl.org/portal/Sports/results/2010-TexasHoldEmResults.pdf

Founded in 1888, the Moose organization has long offered its members an opportunity to do good for children and seniors in need and serve their communities while celebrating life, with family, social, and sporting activities.

"It was probably the friendliest tournament I've ever had, for having this many people in a room . . . They apologized for knocking each other out. They shook hands. You can tell it's a good organization, the Moose, because it was a quality individual that was here this week."
--John Colville, Golden Nugget Casino

Its most ambitious endeavor is Mooseheart Child City & School, founded in 1913 and supported completely through private donations - the great majority of which come from the 1.1 million men and women of the Moose fraternal organization, in more than 1,800 Lodges and 1,600 Chapters located throughout the U.S. , Canada , Great Britain and Bermuda . Moose International headquarters is located on the Mooseheart campus.

Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1.

Mooseheart students who complete their studies with a 3.0 GPA or better (4.0=A) are eligible for up to five years of annually renewable scholarship funding, covering tuition, room and board in an amount comparable to that required for an in-state student at an Illinois public university.

Mooseheart is currently home to nearly 230 students, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank.

In addition to Mooseheart, Moose International also supports Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville , FL founded in 1922; and conducts more than $90 million worth of community service programs annually.

For more information on the Moose organization, visit the websites at www.mooseintl.org, www.mooseheart.org, www.moosehaven.org, or call 630-966-2229.

 

 

 

 
   
 
 
   
     
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