At noon on Saturday, January 17, 2015, 35 card players checked in to challenge the reigning champion, Richard (Dick) Gonyea, at the Sports Club card rooms. As has been the case in the previous two tournaments, all players brought their “A” game to attempt to un-seat the champion as the card playing was excellent. At the first hour break almost everyone remained to keep grinding away trying to amass chips and gain the advantage.
As the second hour wore on, players were starting to bust out at a slow but steady pace. When the blinds were beginning to increase it was tough for the “short stacks” to hold on, and the elimination process took its toll quickly reducing the player count.
In the third hour the reigning champ was finally eliminated. Appropriately the player knocking out Dick Gonyea was the first tournament champion, Don Wilson. Although Don was awarded extra chips for the “bounty” prize by knocking out last year’s champ, it was not much help as Don would be eliminated not long after.
As the fourth hour progressed, the bust-out rate increased along with the blind amounts. Once into the last hour the final table would be determined with only eight players remaining. After 28 players were eliminated, including last year’s champ, the final eight players were ready to challenge each other for the title of the Robson Ranch Arizona Hold-em All-in Poker Tournament.
The first player of the final table to be eliminated was season 1 champ and as mentioned previously “bounty” recipient Don Wilson. Finishing seventh was Andy Gayer. Andy has made the final table for all three years of the tournament. In sixth place was assistant tournament director Dave Wong. This was Dave’s second time making the final eight.
The last six players were all new faces to the final table. Of those six players, five of them were first-time entrants to the tournament. Finishing fifth was one of the first-time entrants, John Mertz. The fourthh place finisher was no stranger to the Ranch poker tables being regular Wednesday night player Don Pixley. Don has participated in all three of the annual tournaments making the final four this year.
The last three players left battled back and forth giving up the chip lead to each other many times before lady luck allowed one or the other an advantage. Unfortunately for Ron Herzog, luck would not allow him to continue to the final heads up round as he would finish in third place.
With Ron’s elimination, heads up play began between Bob Buck and Joe Paulsen. Chips were passed back and forth for another 15 to 20 minutes until one player gained the advantage. The “all-in” shove was bound to come to end the tournament. Bob Buck paired his ace-six off to eliminate Joe Paulsen to be the last man standing and champion of the 2015 annual Robson Ranch Arizona Hold-em “All-in” tournament. A great ending to a fun time by all.