The Caribbean stop of the World Poker Tour
was at the beautiful Island of Providenciales (Provo) in the British West Indies. One hundred thirty-seven poker hopefuls paid $7,500 to buy into the inaugural WPT Turks and Caicos Poker Classic
held at the Player’s Club in Club Med from September 26, 2007 – September 30, 2007. The tournament lasted 5 days and there were 10 payouts from the total pool prize of $996,675.
At the final table, the Honorable Premiere, Michael Misick, intonated the words “Suffle & Deal” and final game play began with 6 players in the following seating arrangement and chip count:
- Seat 1 - Nam Le with 232,000 chips
- Seat 2 - Erik Cajelais with 1,086,000 chips
- Seat 3 - Rhynie ‘Kojak’ Campbell with 275,000 chips
- Seat 4 - Chris Smith with 301,000 chips
- Seat 5 - Trevor Hebert with 00,000 chips
- Seat 6 - Alan “The Usher” Sass with 466,000 chips
At the start of the final table, blinds were 4k/8k with 1k antes. The nine hour final table was cheered by a partisan crowd who were clearly rooting for Campbell. Le was the first poker pro to exit with $30,000. Hebert, from Vancouver and a newcomer to the game, hit the rails next with $50,000 cash. Online player, Sass, followed Hebert to the door with $70,000 in winnings. And in third place was Roveto, a native of Montreal, Canada, who collected $125,000 in prize money.
Blinds were 10k/20k with 3k antes at heads up action, which pitted Cajelais against Campbell. Chip count was largely in Campbell’s favor, who had 2,041,000 chips to Cajelais’ 719,000 chips. Campbell’s winning hand of 10 hearts 10 diamonds and 10 spades on the river was no match for Cajelais’ Q hearts and 9 clubs. Campbell won the inaugural championship with prize money of $436,675 while runner-up, Cajelais, took home $225,000.
Rhynie Campbell, whose birthday falls on April 2, served in the local Police Department from 1991 to 2001. He got his nickname, Kojak, when a bad haircut by the police barber made him shave bald. A native of Providenciales Island on the Turks and Caicos Islands, Campbell left the police force to invest in the Player’s Club. He was instrumental in legalizing poker on the Turks and Caicos and brought WPT to the Caribbean for the first time. Known as the father of poker on the Islands, Campbell has cashed in 3 main WPT events and has amassed over half a million in winnings.
-- Reinu C.