BY RUSS SCOTT
APRIL 22, 2008
RETIRED TEXAS OIL MAN HANGS WITH POKER’S BEST
No one would have blamed Charles “Woody” Moore of Dallas if he felt intimidated when he took his seat recently at the TV final table of the L.A. Poker Classic.
After all, the 59-year-old retired Texas oil and gas exec was up against three of the game’s biggest names — Phil Hellmuth, winner of a record 11 World Series bracelets; Phil Ivey, holder of five bracelets among 16 major-event victories, and Nam Le, who had cashed an amazing 42 times in World Poker Tour events. The trio represented roughly $22 million in official tournament success.
“They’re all exceptionally fantastic players,” said a respectful but undaunted Moore as he recalled his biggest tournament poker payday ($625,630 for third place) at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, host site of the World Poker Tour event in late February.
“I just tried to play my best at all times. I thought I could hang with them,” Moore said.
Moore wasted no time showing he could, indeed, hang. On the first hand, after chip-leader Ivey made a standard pre-flop raise to about 240,000 from the small blind, Moore moved all-in from the big blind for 1.5 million!
He wasn’t thinking about getting camera time. “I was trying to win the tournament,” he said.
“I decided right away that he didn’t have a big hand so I moved all in with ace-king. I wanted to establish a good table image right there. If he called, I knew I was pretty close to even money at worst,” Moore said.
Then something happened that would unnerve most recreational players. Ivey, known for his intimidating stare, didn’t act on his hand for what seemed like an eternity. Barely settled into their seats, the big crowd watched in stone-cold silence.
“He took almost 10 minutes,” said Moore. “It was amazing. He just sat there, contemplating. I was standing up most of the time, looking down at him, trying not to show any doubt about my hand. He was taking so long, I wanted him to call. I figured he had ace-something rather than a pair. I thought I had him.”
Eventually, Ivey quietly said, “I call,” and Moore was right! His A-K had Ivey’s A-9 dominated. No help came from the board cards for Ivey. The huge pot jumped Moore into the chip lead and cost Ivey more than one-third of his 4.1-million stack.
Ivey overcame the setback to win the tournament’s $1.6 million top prize, his first WPT title and record eighth WPT final-table appearance. He told Card Player magazine he “got a little stubborn” with the hand. “I didn’t have to call him, but he moved all in on me 30 times” the day before, the magazine reported.
That number is a bit high, but Ivey’s quote no doubt brought a smile to Moore, by far the senior citizen at the table and a player well-known by many long-time foes at the felt.
“I liked my position at the table (immediately behind Hellmuth and Ivey),” Moore said. “I was able to take advantage of that and play aggressively. When it comes on TV July 14, you'’ll see that a couple times I came over the top with hardly anything because I had a lot of momentum going. I got up to about 5.9 million chips. I could have sat back and just oozed into second at the worst. I kept on playing, of course. I wanted to try to win every chip at the table.”
He built part of that momentum by knocking out Hellmuth, who had been crippled a few hands earlier in a confrontation with Le. Although Le heard a sample of the infamous Hellmuth rant, Moore said Hellmuth was a “perfect gentleman” when his A-Q sent Hellmuth, all in with A-9, to the rail in sixth place. The two actually are friends, golfing buddies and former business partners, Moore said.
Laughing, he added, “I would have got the speech if the hands had been reversed and my A-9 beat his A-Q.”
Although not a regular on the tournament circuit, Moore’s L.A. showing was his second WPT final table (fourth place at Aruba in 2002). He also won a national title in Costa Rica and finished third in a World Series limit hold’em event in 1995.
“I consider myself a recreational player, but I do play a lot of cash games and I do make money at it,” he said. “I have a place over in Bossier City, La., and play a lot there at the Horseshoe and the Eldorado.” He and his wife Rebecca, who last month scored a 27th-place money finish at the WPT’s event in Reno, plan to compete in several additional WPT events the rest of the year.
Moore also sometimes plays in home games in the Dallas area, but police raids on games at private clubs there are his “pet peeve,” he said. “You can play Texas hold’em all over the world, but you can’t play it in Texas. It’s just crazy.”
E-mail your poker questions and comments to email@example.com 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
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