Legends Bar and Grill in Lincoln, NE, was brimming with 76 poker players from around the state who were hoping to stake their claim to the Desination Las Vegas Nebraska State Championship Title this past Saturday, May 15th. The action got underway at 12 pm sharp, with 24 players starting with a double chip stack advantage. Like elsewhere around the country, the weather in Lincoln was a dream, which mirrored many of the players hopes to make the final table. However, one person's dream was cut short early. Within the first hour of tournament play we had lost our first player--Randy Keldsen from the Sand Bar in Pleasanton. Randy didn't go home empty handed though. We sent him off with hopes to make the next state championship and some sweet FPN gear.Our early chip leader, Andy Wilkins, was using his home bar advantage throughout the day and managed to stay in the game and keep his lead. But, with seven past champions still left in the field after dinner break, it was looking like we'd potentially end up with a two-time state champ, However, as the game progressed more and more of those former winners were eliminated and as we neared the end, all of our previous champs had gone out, leaving the final 10 to battle it out.
Here's a list of those lucky 10 players and their starting chip at the final table:
- Jay Dabney - MVP Lounge, Omaha - 151k
- Kim Trumball - Touchdown Club, North Platte - 125k
- Andrew McCarthy - Stu's Bar and Grill, Hoskins - 106k
- Nick Reynolds - Touchdown Club, North Platte - 80k
- Crystal Edwards - Touchdown Club, North Platte - 64k
- Randy Wolf Jr. - Everybody's Restraurant and Bar, Guide Rock - 61k
- Josh Perkins - Double T, Columbus - 60k
- Larry Hansen - TJ's Sports Bar, Norfolk - 60k
- Glen Nichols - TJ's Sports Bar and Melodee Lanes, Norfolk - 52k
- Sarah Zeluf - MVP Lounge, Omaha - 30k
Once the cards hit the air though, the action ground to a near halt. Impressivley there were three females amidst the 10 players--Kim Trumball, Crystal Edwards and Sarah Zeluf--each hoping to become the first female to win a Nebraska State Championship title. However, this was not their day, and after nearly three hours of slow and deliberate play, we were finally down to our last two players, Andrew McCarthy from Stu's Bar and Grill in Hoskins and Glen Nichols from Melodee Lanes and TJ's in Norfolk, who came from behind to make the final two.
Interestingly enough, this heads-up match seems to be a family tradition for Andrew McCarthy. It all started when Andrew's grandfather and Party at the Palms winner Charlie Woods ended up heads-up at a final table when he took the lead to become the state champ. Within the next year, Charlie's daughter and Andrew's mom Deb Harris went heads-up at a final table, only to lose and become the runner-up. Now it was up to Andrew if he would follow in his grandfather's footsteps to become the next state champ, or follow his mother's lead and become the next runner up.
As Andrew and Glen ground out their play, each hoping to capture the championship title, it looked like chip leader Andrew would be following in his grandfather's footsteps. But a couple of big wins from Glen Nichols were in the cards, and before we knew it we had our next Nebraska State champ! Congratulations to Glen! Not only did he come from behind, but with only his second appearence at a championship event he managed to run the deepest to win the final hand! Glen, we wish you the best in Las Vegas this July at the WSOP!