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Know when to hold ’em

January 10, 2014
Tim Chapman - Tribune Editor , Pierce County Tribune

Patience, smarts and luck are all crucial components in Texas Hold 'Em poker, and Cody Kessler is proving he can manage it all.

The 28-year-old Rugby resident took fourth place in the North Dakota Texas Hold 'Em Championship in Minot at the end of December. Kessler won $8,000 - well short of his $20,000 in one sitting when online poker was legal - but was pleased with the way he recovered throughout the four-day tournament at the Vegas Motel.

"It was pretty exciting. ... I lost half of my stack on my first day, so I kind of battled my way back," Kessler said, "and then on the final day, I only started the day with 13 big blinds, which isn't very much chips, but I had to battle my way back."?Kessler has been playing poker since high school and credits professional player Cody Slaubaugh, a Rugby native who plays in Las Vegas, for teaching him how to play.

Article Photos

Rugby’s Cody Kessler takes a peek at his cards during a Texas Hold ’Em poker tournament Wednesday at I.C. Dubbles.

Tim Chapman/PCT

Kessler said he wasn't comfortable with his stack of chips until the crowd of hundreds dwindled to about 30 players. With about 20 players remaining, he was third in chips and eyeing the $50,000 grand prize.

"I started the final four with the chip lead," he said, "but then how poker goes, cards come and go and I lost some of my money and my chips and then I tried to make a move. ... I wasn't trying to play for second or third place. I was trying to win it all."

Kessler was bounced when he went all in with a pair of 6s. (In Hold 'Em, each player is dealt two cards and another five cards are put face down for any player to use toward his or her hand. Before each card is put down, players can raise the bets.) Kessler lost to a player with a pair of 8s.

"I thought he was just doing his same old, same old, try to raise and steal my blind and so I tried to make a move," he said.

Kessler said he may spend some of his winnings on a trip to Oregon in the spring. He's eager to play in a Rugby tournament in late February and has no plans to make the jump to professional play in Vegas.

"I just kind of like playing here and there," he said. "I see the stress that those guys go through."



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