BY RUSS SCOTT
APRIL 8, 2008
PLAYER PUTS HIS TOURNAMENT VICTORY IN PERSPECTIVE
Battles on the poker tournament felt mingled for a while with the realities of war in the desert Saturday when 80 players competed for the right to become the 2008 U.S. Army Texas hold’em champion.
The qualifying event held at the Rock Island Arsenal, located on a Mississippi River island in the Quad-Cities Area of Iowa and Illinois, played out against a backdrop of soldiers in uniform, cannon fire during the late-afternoon lowering of Old Glory, and reminders of the efforts and sacrifices of loved ones serving in dangerous places.
“Winning this tournament is wonderful, but it’s nothing compared to the commitment our military personnel are making,” said Tom Roemer after the victory which advances him to the online worldwide finals May 31.
Tom & Amy Roemer
Roemer will face more than 40 other winners of similar qualifiers, being conducted for a second year by the Army’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command at bases across the nation and in the Pacific, Korean and European regions.
“Representing the Rock Island Arsenal in the next event is an honor, and winning the overall Army title would be phenomenal. My hat’s off to all of the service personnel,” said Roemer, a dentist in Walcott, Iowa, who was eligible to play in the event through an invitation by a friend who works at the military installation.
Winning the event was a plus, said Roemer, considering his main strategy starting the day was “to have fun. Whenever you have volunteer and celebrity dealers (from the Quad City Steamwheelers arena football team and its Deck Mates dance squad), you really cannot be too serious. Their efforts were greatly appreciated, especially Pam who dealt me some great hands to get me to the final table.”
His approach, combined with solid play, worked perfectly.
“I was just happy not to lose any really big pots before I lost that one during heads-up,” said Roemer, 47. On that hand he lost his chip lead against eventual runner-up Douglas Davis of Davenport who struck pay dirt with 9-2 suited. With blinds at 5,000-10,000, Roemer raised to 55,000 pre-flop with A-J, but Davis called and took command of the hand when two deuces hit on the flop.
Roemer stayed aggressive during the lengthy heads-up battle, however, and regained a 3-to-1 chip lead before the final hand pitting his Q-10 against Davis’ Q-7. Davis called Roemer’s all-in pre-flop raise and took the lead in the hand when the flop came J-7-K, giving him a pair of sevens. A queen on the turn paired both players, but a ten on the river sealed Roemer’s victory with a bigger two pair.
Like millions of others, Roemer and his wife Amy started playing poker about four years ago after watching Chris Moneymaker win the 2003 World Series of Poker main event on television. “We got the bug,” said Roemer, who earned his undergraduate and dental degrees at the University of Iowa. The couple’s four children range in age from 10 to 1.
With a modest smile, Roemer said his “only other poker accomplishment is teaching my wife all she knows about poker. Remember, she is the better player.” Although Mrs. Roemer was eliminated shy of the final table Saturday, she previously has played well at tournaments in Las Vegas and Tunica, Miss.
When Roemer plays in the online finals, one particularly tough opponent to look for will be the first Army-wide champion crowned in 2007, Warrant Officer James Morris, who on Saturday repeated as the Fort Lee, Va., representative.
Just hours after going back-to-back at Fort Lee, Morris wrote, “So now I will compete in the Army finals again and try to defend my title, except I will be doing it from Korea this time.” He leaves this week for his new duty assignment there.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2008 RUSS SCOTT
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.