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Greeley-Evans, CO Lodge 909
Has 1-2 Finish At Texas Hold 'Em:
Donovan Tops Hergenreder For Title


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Before they sat down to compete for the top prizes at this year's Moose International Texas Hold Em tournament, the members who comprised the final table sat for a "team picture." Back row, from left, are Rod Harris, Jerry Kingsbury, Doug Gross, Tony Kemper and Carl Hergenreder. Front row, from left, are Wayne Bohrn, Paul Honea, Tim Donovan, Chris Cowan and Walter Harris.

Just seconds after the winning hand finished, 2011 Moose International Texas Hold Em champion Tim Donovan (right) receives a congratulatory handshake from runner-up Carl Hergenreder. Both finalists are members of Greeley-Evans, CO Lodge 909.

This year, the winner of the Moose International Texas Hold Em tournament received a bracelet as part of his victory package. Director of Membership also had a bracelet manufactured for 2010 champion Anthony Mills. Baile (right) presented Mills with his bracelet just before the final table began play at the 2011 tournament.

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 12 -- As they sat next to each other as the last two players competing at this year's Moose International Texas Hold Em tournament, Tim Donovan and Carl Hergenreder talked like they knew each other very well.

Turns out, they did.

Donovan and Hergenreder both hail from Greeley-Evans, CO Lodge 909, providing a very interesting finish to the 2011 tournament after an initial field of 752 was eventually whittled to a 10-person final table and lastly this championship-deciding final pairing.

In the end, Donovan got the cards he needed at the right time, and claimed the title in the second annual tournament, which took place for the second consecutive year at the Golden Nugget Casino.

"Mainly I think I just got lucky catching the cards," Donovan said. "Even the pros say it. You can play the best game you know how and if you don't get the right cards every once in awhile, you end up busting out."

That Donovan would win was by no means assured as the final table took shape. In fact, with his chip count ebbing with a half-dozen players left, he went "all-in," a move that could have seen him exit the tournament. But he won that hand--and built from there.

"I was the shortest stack for quite a while," Donovan said. "It's a game of patience. You've got to wait for the right cards. If you're lucky to get the right ones to come through and catch the breaks, this is what happens. Every time I went all-in, you never know how the cards are going to fall. I just happened to prevail each time."

Donovan's external reaction was subdued when he won the final hand. He smiled, shook Hergenreder's hand and accepted congratulations from those who stayed to watch the final table's play. Inside, however, Donovan was dealing with a whole different range of emotions.

"You get all shaky," he said. "I was kind of in a daze until a little bit after. Then it started to settle in, and (now) I'm pretty excited about it."

Hergenreder said there was a bit of a frustration in playing someone against whom you have completed frequently.

"You're basically trying to fool one another because you know each other so well," he said.

As the final table progressed, Hergenreder was in a superior position -- but cards are the variable in the game, and at key times, he was unable to get the cards he needed.

"I went card-dead," he said. "He was sneaking up on me so, eventually, I had to make a move and hope. But I couldn't draw a decent card for two hours."

Donovan earned the $15,000 first prize and entry into next year's tournament. He also claimed the first bracelet on-offer for tournament champions. Director of Membership Shawn Baile had two bracelets made. He handed the first to 2010 champion Anthony Mills, who stayed through the final table to watch this year's winner crowned.

A total of 10 members of Greeley-Evans Lodge attended this year's tournament. In addition to Donovan and Hergenreder, Dean Derr of Greeley-Evans finished 16th.

"The tournament was wonderful," Hergenreder said. "I've played in small tournaments where somebody gets knocked out and throws a fit. Here, you shake hands and people are very sociable and good sports about it."

The final table was comprised of 10 men, and they came from seven different states and nine different Lodges. There was one returnee from the 2010 final table in Twin Falls, ID Lodge 612 member Wayne Bohrn, who was runner-up in the inaugural tournament. Bohrn placed fourth this year.

"I thought it was kind of neat to see a person who made the final table last year make it again this year," Baile said. "Equally as exciting was to see nine fresh faces there. Then you looked and saw two people from the same Lodge were going to be there at the end and you thought 'what were the chances of that?'"

Third place went to Walter Harris from Mattoon, IL Lodge 803, who mentioned that he had goose bumps on making the final table and reported that they were still there two hours later when he was finally eliminated.

"I think (Harris) represents those a number of people in the tournament," Baile said. "There are certainly people who enter and they want to win. But you have some who sit there and think 'wouldn't it be nice,' but they don't expect it. Then they play and their chips grow and they experience the hopefulness of going further and further. And at some point, their thoughts change to 'why not me?'"

The statistics of this year's tournament show not only the growth but the geographic spread of the fastest-growing tournament that Moose International hosts. In the starting field of 752, there were 508 men and 144 women. Those players came from 38 states, two Canadian provinces and Bermuda. Florida sent the most players of any state (71), and Greeneville, TN Lodge 692 sent the most from any one Lodge -- some 15 representatives. Centreville, VA Chapter 1674 sent five players, and had the most women in the starting field.

For the second consecutive year, all these players found a very fraternal atmosphere in which to play Texas Hold 'Em.

"One of the comments we see on so many of the survey cards that are turned in is that atmosphere of the tournament," Baile said. "You see it so much that it sticks out in your head. They use words like 'friendly' and 'fellowship.' We certainly don't want that atmosphere to change in any degree."

The top finishing woman was Linda Zumpetta from New Martinsville, WV Chapter 2165, who finished 23rd. Texas Hold 'Em is the only Moose International Tournament in which men and women compete head-to-head for first prize.

In total, fully 80 players were paid prize money, a figure Baile said compares favorably with most professional tournaments.

"According to the poker staff at the Golden Nugget, 10 percent of the field getting paid tends to be the norm, and we exceeded that," Baile said. "We also felt our prize structure was productive for the people who had a chance to participate."

This year's tournament showed an explosive 50% growth, up from 504 in the inaugural event. Baile said there are no plans to cap the number of entries.

"When you have a situation where the number of people that want to participate in the event is exceeding what the venue can efficiently handle, while that can be frustrating, it would be the sort of problem you want to have," Baile said. "That has not happened yet and the Golden Nugget has said they are able to continue to handle further increases in the number of players. We think they will do everything to host the tournament and that the manner in which they do it will not be a detriment to the tournament itself."

After hosting the tournament for two years, Golden Nugget Director of Poker Operations has said he would love to see the tournament remain at his casino. Baile said the tournament has been contracted on a yearly basis, that the contract will again be renegotiated this year, and he would not say where the 2012 tournament will be held.

"This is only fair to all parties involved," Baile said. "We need to have time to come back and meet internally and to review the survey cards that were turned and to address concerns our players had as we approach the Golden Nugget about next year. I am sure they will take time to do the same thing. We have no qualms with the Golden Nugget. Our people like going there. They like the atmosphere and we want to cultivate that. But we also want to take time to discuss any concerns we might have."

Top 10
1. Tim Donovan, Greeley-Evans, CO Lodge 909 2. Carl Hergenreder, Greeley-Evans, CO Lodge 909 3. Walter Harris, Mattoon, IL Lodge 803 4. Wayne Bohrn, Twin Falls, ID Lodge 612 5. Tony Kemper, Edwardsville, IL Lodge 1561 6. Chris Cowan, Monroe, NC Lodge 1554 7. Paul Honea, Greeneville, TN Lodge 692 8. Rod Harris, Torrington, WY Lodge 664 9. Doug Gross, Madison, IN Lodge 765 10. Jerry Kingsbury, River Park, IL Lodge 2578





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