Dunn Bluffs His Way to $2,500

Andrew Dunn was the first-place winner of $2,500 at the third annual Rotary Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament on May 21 in Janes Hall at the Presbyterian Church.

The initial buy-in was $200, which included dinner and two drinks. Then 58 residents got down to bluffing and calling on Lady Luck to help them make it to the final table.

Merv Dunn, Andrew’s dad and last year’s winner, was one of those seven, but soon went out, leaving six. One by one they exited.

Fifth-place and $300 went to Joni Lindblom, a certified public accountant, who confessed she sometimes plays Texas Hold ‘Em at Hollywood Park. Fourth and $500 went to stage producer Janice Goldfinger. “I’ve been playing for years, not Vegas, but just home games.”

Layth Carlson, a business manager and accountant, took third ($700) and said he plays mostly at a friend’s house.

And then there were two. Keith Stoler, a Highlands resident, took second ($1,000) and said he was there because “I play in a biweekly poker game with some Rotary members and they roped me in.”

But Stoler had nothing but praise for the evening, which raises money for the Palisades-Malibu YMCA and the Rotary Club.

“Anybody can play, there are no pros. It’s just a friendly game,” said the father of two kids ages 5 and 10. Asked if he had taught them the game, Stoler answered, “Not yet; they’re not ready to learn to bluff.”

The evenings happiest player was Santa Monica College student Andrew Dunn, who plans to use his $2,500 for school.

His dad taught him how to play poker. “I think I was five,” said Dunn, a Santa Monica resident who admits that he makes the trek to Vegas about twice a year to play, but that since his parents live in Pacific Palisades, “I was invited to play.”

At the beginning of the tournament, players could also pay to be part of the “highest hand” pool. Winner Chase Ahders split the pool. He took home $170 with three aces and a pair of eights. The other $170 went to the YMCA and Rotary.

Organizer Peter Crosby said, “We grossed more than last year, so we’ll give more to charity.”

Event sponsors included Dr. Damon Raskin, Concierge Doctor of Pacific Palisades; Frank B. Glassner, Veritas Executive Compensation Consultants; BOCA Man; W.I. Simonson Mercedes-Benz; Marie Tran, Marie’s MAC and PC Computer Services; Brett A. Bjornson, Esq. of Gorman and Miller, Estate Planning Attorney; Palisades/Malibu YMCA Board Members Layth Carlson and Pete Crosby; L.A. Golf Academy, PGA Teaching Professional Carlos Rodriguez; and a $2,500 anonymous donor.

The Rotary Club meets weekly on Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. at Aldersgate Retreat Center. Visitors are welcome.


(Left to right) Andrew Dunn (first place), a Dealer Dolly, Keith Stoler (second place), a Dealer Dolly, Layth Carlson (third place) and Peter Crosby (Rotary) celebrated after a successful Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament.

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