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Best of Rudi Schiffer

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Karnes Cops $60 Grand At Bally's

30 April 2003

Calm and confident Robert Karnes, enjoying the experience of playing on a final table in a big stakes blackjack tournament for the fourth time, withstood a late charge by an opponent to win first place money of $60,000 in Bally's Ultimate Blackjack tournament.

Karnes, from Cherry Valley Arkansas, had previously collected $7,500, $12,500 and $17,000 in prior events at Bally's but never finished higher than second place. He cited this experience as being a key component in his first victory in the $125,000 tournament. With a record 233 entries and all player's money returned to the prize pot, the first place reward was pushed up to $60,000 from the guarranteed $50,000 with the total pool moving up to $141,500.

Karnes, who is employed as a millwork installer in hospitals, likes to hunt for sport and he was certainly the hunter as played aggressively with his $1,000 throughout the 25 hands in the 17th Ultimate Blackjack Tournament sponsored by Bally's in Tunica, Ms. this past weekend (April 25-27). Six other final table qualifiers took the conservative road, seemingly playing for position rather than first place most of the time.

In the first hand dealt by veteran dealer Glenda Hawkins, who has handled the championship round card duties for 12 events, Karnes pushed out all his small denominations using only $100 black chips for the rest of the trip while other players refrained from black wagers for the most part until they realized they had to close the gap between them and the leader late in the finale.

For the 11th last hand, Karnes pushed out $200.00 and hit a blackjack as he made his first major move. He followed by clicking on a double down for a $400 win and then split three eights that won another $600 in the 8th round. His luck held up as he hit a 12, got a 9 and won another $200 in the 7th hand. After a busted hand by him, and another by the dealer, challenges came in black chips in the 4th hand left by two players still in range... Michael Shaw of Water Valley, MS., and Lowell Strate of San Diego, CA.

After winning a $500 hand in the 4th round, Shaw put out $500 and drew a 9-2 for an 11 in the 3rd while Karnes drew 6-5 with $100 out. The dealer made 21, beating Shaw and Karnes, who hit a 10, pushed and escaped. In the next hand Shaw lost a $600 double down while Karnes won another $100 to widen the gap and was seeminly unbeatable with only the Californian, Strate, having a chance to catch him.

And he had a good chance. On the final hand he had to bet first and put out $1,000 the max wager permitted. Karnes cooly pondered the situation and put out $500. If Strate made his hand and Karnes lost his, Strate would have won. It didn't happen as Strate stayed on a 12 and was beaten by the dealer.

Accepting his first championship win after three previous appearances on the final table, Karnes was unemotional, reflecting his cool demeanor throughout the 25 hands.

After the awards ceremony handled by Tournament Director Tim Rogge, Karnes revealed the strategy that has been so successful for him in Bally's tournaments.

"I only bet black chips after getting rid of the smaller ones right away, "he said."I like to show that I will be aggressive right away, it makes them think, and when I have moved up about $300 or $400, I like to play with the cushion and do some goffy things, like splitting 3's, doubling down on a blackjack hand, splitting face cards, and so on."

He said this allows him to get more money on the table so other players have to chase him. "I play to win, not place, it's the only way," he concluded.

Other finalists and their wins were: 2nd-Strate, $21,000; 3rd-Harry Carrol, Kingwood
TX., $16,000; 4th-Frank Tinker, Atlanta, $12,500; 5th-Robert Martello, Natchez,MS., $7,000; 6th- Michael Shaw, $4,500 and 7th - Roger Woods, Dowagiac,MI.

Tinker was lucky, getting into the finale on a wild card draw after the semifinals when James Smallwood failed to answer the call. It was an expensive appointment missed.

The Ultimate Blackjack Tournament continues to grow in popularity with players from throughout the country because it is superb, unmitigated quality with an experienced staff planning and implementing it under Director of Table Games, Adolph Lepre and tournament director Rogge.

On a perfect weekend of sunny, warm weather, players paid $500 to enter the 17th event in this series and for that received rooms, food, a reception party, dinner party, a themed "All American" golf shirt, a commemorative chip and five tickets for a drawing. Four lucky players had their names called out for an automatic bye in the next tournament which will be held on Sept. 19-21.

Rudi Schiffer

Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at audiovegas.com. A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com
Rudi Schiffer
Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at audiovegas.com. A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com