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Newbie Wins $1.5 Million At The WPT

Joe Pelton, a former Waterloo resident, has been plucked out of obscurity as he won almost $1.6 million in the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker tournament no-limit Texas Hold-em main event final table.

The 1995 West High Valedictorian had on his side the brains, skill and luck that is needed to win against some of the poker world's legends. The event was held at the bicycle casino in Bell Gardens, Calif. It is one of the 17 major tournaments on the WPT, which includes the world series of poker.

Pelton went up against some of the biggest names in poker like Scotty Nguyen, Hoyt Corkins, Kevin O'Donnell, Frankie O'Dell and Randy Holland, all of whom were in the final table.

"I wasn't intimidated playing with them," Pelton said. "I felt I had the advantage because I know how they played watching them on television. But they didn't know me.

"If I made a big raise, they didn't know if I was a big maniac or for real," he continued. "Now, I'll be the one on TV."

Pelton is a 29-year-old business systems analyst, and is a relative newcomer in the professional poker circuit. His second biggest winning is the $11,000 he won in the 2005 WSOP.

"It feels pretty good. It took a half-hour to get it deposited," Pelton said of his prize money. "They put a two-week hold on the check. I guess they didn't trust a guy with $1,300 in his account."

Pelton sdays he is planning to buy a house. "In California, you almost need to win a million dollars to do (that)," Pelton said.


07/28/2008, Monday
Matthew Dorst

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