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Players ante up for Soroptimists

Posted: May 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Left to right, winners of the tournament, Karen Ilich, Cindi Diaz, dealer Steve Schifter, Debbie Bricker and Wendy Smith.

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The third annual Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita Valley Fiesta Poker Texas Hold ’em Tournament attracted more than 50 players who anted up to benefit the Domestic Violence Center of SCV.

As the evening progressed — and the number of players shrank — employees of West L.A. Poker, the company that provided the equipment and the dealers, broke down the now-vacant poker tables and ferried them to a waiting van.

Soon, only nine players remained at the single remaining table. The mood changed from a festive party atmosphere to one of intense concentration as spectators converged around the championship table.

One-by-one, the players fell until only Ramon Fabregas, of Valencia, remained to win the first place prize of a seat at the World Series of Poker, and a two-night stay at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas — a $2,100 prize package.

Fabregas said he has previously won poker tournaments, but never has competed in the World Series of Poker Tournament.
“I’m excited. I play a lot of poker, but I’ve never competed at the World Series,” Fabregas said. “I came to donate to the charity.”

In second place, winning a $1,000 NASCAR Raceway Experience package, was Tim Bricker, of Valencia.

“It was great fun, and for a good cause,” Bricker said. “I’m glad I came out, and I’ll be back next year.”

Other finishers at the final table were: Jeremy Wheatley, third place; B.J. Saidi, fourth; Lance Gordon, fifth; Ken Bricker, sixth;   Tara Rice, tournament co-chairwoman, in seventh place (and knocked out of the tournament by her husband, Wheatley); Zach Swerdzewski in eighth; and Brett Robinson in ninth.

In addition to prizes, all nine players at the final table were also awarded medallions for making the final cut.

“We’ve had fewer players this year than we were hoping for, but this a great group and they’ve been extremely generous,” said Donna Kruetz, president of Soroptimist International of SCV. “Everyone seems to be having a great time, too.”

A companion blackjack tournament was also held.

Karen Ilich finished first, followed by Debbie Bricker, Cindi Diaz, co-chairwoman of the tournament and Wendy Smith.

The band Hard Water, of Castaic, provided a steady stream of entertainment and rock tunes to keep the poker players motivated during the evening.

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