Saved By a Seven
Paddlers’ Poker highlights skills and thrills.
By Brandon Roberts
Lee Derouin was all in, hoping to stay afloat on the river competitive card playing. Looking across the table, Kahealani Maliu had the strong hand and was statistically favored to push Derouin out of the running. But there is unpredictability in the cards, an essence of luck – defying stats and probability.
Derouin did just that, he rebelled against the numbers and picked up a full-house on the final flop, the river, to split the pot and keep him in championship contention at Paddlers’ second poker tournament last Saturday. At play were 50,000 in chips, divided by point percentage amongst the top eight.
Entering the final table, Derouin was fourth on the point’s board, and capped his victory in a head-to-head duel with Maliu, who entered eighth with a 2,350 chip deficit from the season leader Bernice Kalilikane. Yet Maliu worked her magic, playing catch-up to vie for the grand-prize round trip to Las Vegas, a two-night stay, and a one-thousand dollar buy-in to the World Series of Poker satellite table.
Eventually Derouin out-played his competition catching a diamond flush to clinch the Vegas vacation. “I caught a break, that is what poker is all about,” he said, adding how grateful he was to the late Kamuela Kamakana, Paddlers’ Inn, and the dedicated staff.
“If it wasn’t for Kamuela, the poker community wouldn’t have been brought together in this friendly environment. I also want to fire some compliments to Loke Kamakana, Alicia Montemayor, and the entire Paddlers’ staff, who are always here for us, they don’t miss a beat and keep it fun yet professional.”
The top eight competitors fought it out for the last three months against the Molokai masses, who know their cards. The standings going into the final table were points leader Kalilikane, followed by Reyford Stone, Paki Kamakana, Derouin, Elizabeth Poepoe-Lawerence, Tranq Pasual, Larry Sagario and Maliu.