Muraoka’s Smurfs Come Up Aces at Poker Tourney

A year out of college, rookie is staring down pennant race
Gilroy – Gary Muraoka outlasted Chad Brownfield at the Final Table Saturday afternoon to lead the Smurfs to the Team Title of the 2005 End of Summer No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament at the Gilroy Community Center.

Muraoka’s effort propelled the Smurfs to the team title, slipping past Brownfield’s S33FOOD team. The Wednesday Nigh Poker Ladies nabbed third place, the Great Danes fifth as both teams finished in the top five for the second tournament put on by the Gilroy Community Services Department.

Both the Smurfs and the Gilroy Fire Department Hotheads were making their initial foray into the recreation poker play. The Hotheads, sparked by Brad Harmer’s finish in the fifth position out of 44 players, captured the fourth-place awards. Bernard Szilagli (16th), Robert Silvia (20) and Michael Pardini (28) earned the consistent play leading to the top four finish.

Women accounted for four of the nine players at the final table. Deanna Hoenck finished third overall and was the winner of the Top Female Finisher as a representative of the Wednesday Poker Ladies. Rose Crocco held off 30 foes in finishing 14th as a Poker Lady.

Roger Hanrahan, a midday fill-in for James Jimenez, finished fourth at the final table to help the Smurfs cause.

Liz Gutierrez played five hours of poker in placing fifth as a member of the Queen and Her court. Rookie Benny Sanchez of the Fantastic Four claimed seventh place. Sonya Dennis made the final table for the Big Slick, settling for eighth place. Shirley Abruzzini of Oakdale played more than four hours and nabbed a Final Table t-shirt with a ninth-place showing.

Just missing the final table was veteran S33FOOD player Dave Stewart.

Strong finishes among rookie players included the Smurfs’ Joel Casey (13) and Robert Basuino (23), Missey Bissey of the defending champion Crew, and Carol Wagner of the Great Danes.

Proceeds to the one-day event benefit youth, teen and senior programs within the Gilroy Community Services Department.

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