2007-2008 World Series of Poker Circuit
Grand Casino Tunica -- Tunica, MS
September 9, 2007
Event #13
Ladies Championship
$200 No-Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $200 + $20

Dirt Track Enthusiast Sandi Anderson Hits Paydirt in Ladies Championship

Click here to view the official results.

Tunica, MS—”I was just playing for the experience. I never dreamed I’d win it,” a dazed Sandi Anderson said after taking first place in the Ladies Championship Event of the Grand Casino Tunica Circuit. Along with the title, she won an official $13,674 and the tradional trophy pendant. It wasn’t easy, because by the second level Anderson had dropped down to 400 chips before climbing back.

The prize money was actually chopped evenly with Sherry Hollis when the two were about even in chips, and they then played for the pendant and title.

Anderson, from Jacksonville, Arkansas, is a billing/purchasing specialist for a construction/equipment company who also works at a dirt track weekends. Anderson, nicknamed “Red,” has two children and learned the game 20 years ago at local bar poker places. This was her first Circuit event, though she’s won a few other small local tournaments. Her hobby is dirt tack racing, both as a driver and spectator.

This championship ladies event, the 13th in the Circuit here, was renamed 13A because another event, $500 no-limit hold’em, was just added to the series. It is a two-day event that started the same day, and is labeled 13B.

When the final table started, with blinds of 1,000-2,000, Nani Dollison, a poker dealer and poker player, was the chip leader with 71,200, though the best she could do was finish eighth.

Here were the starting chip counts:

  • Seat 1 Debbi Hamlin Atlanta, GA 38,200
  • Seat 2 Rhonda Dowell Batesville, AR 20,200
  • Seat 3 Sherry Hollis Pomona, MO 54,800
  • Seat 4 Nani Dollison Hernando, MS 71,200
  • Seat 5 Katherine Neville Augusta, GA 24,100
  • Seat 6 Kristen Deardorff Manchester, TN 10,000
  • Seat 7 Donna Hickey Searey, MS 56,000
  • Seat 8 Donna Neville Memphis, TN 25,000
  • Seat 9 Sandi Anderson Jacksonville, FL 40,800
  • First out was Donna Neville, an executive administrative assistant from Memphis. She moved in for 9,100 with pocket jacks and was called by Donna Hickey with A-K. Close match-up, but a king flopped, and Neville got $855 for ninth. Neville, 66, whose nickname is “Dammit Donna,” has five children and nine grandkids, but wrote an emphatic “No!” to the question of whether she was married. She’s played 30 years, and this is her first major cash. She also enjoys bowling, has coordinated a European tour for Isaac Hayes, and, most important of all, was once kissed by Elvis!

    Dollison, having lost her lead, was next out when she moved in with pocket 8s. Anderson had A-J, hit a jack on the river, and Dollison checked out in eighth place.

    Dollison was born in Korea and now lives in Hernando, MS. She is a dealer at the Gold Strike and has numerous tournament cashes totaling $773,000. Most of that amount came when she won the opening event of the World Series of Poker in 2001, taking home $441,400. The year before that she also won the ladies championship at the WSOP. Tonight she took home $1,281 for eighth.

    Rhonda Dowell finished seventh. She was all in with Q-J against Debbi Hamlin’s 9-8 when Hamlin proceeded to hit a nine on the turn and, for good measure, an 8 on the river.

    Dowell, 40, is from Batesville, Arizona and is in law enforcement. She has two children, learned the game as a child from her parents, and this is her second Circuit event. Seventh paid $1,709.

    Kristen Deardorff wrote on her bio sheet that she was obviously the short stack with 10,000. Yes, but she still managed to outlast three other women before going out herself. She had all the best of it with A-7 to Anderson’s 5-3. until a 5 on the turn finished her as she cashed $1,709 for sixth. So far, all the ladies who were eliminated started with the better hand and were outdrawn.

    Deardorff, 25, is from Manchester, Tennessee. She enjoys volleyball, soccer and running and learned poker from her college friends three years ago. An electrical engineer, she tests rocket motors at work. “That’s pretty cool,” she said. This is her third Circuit event, and her highlight before making the final table was hitting a straight flush earlier tonight.

    There was another Neville at the table, Katherine, no relation to Donna. She had K-Q and Donna Hickey, with A-4, blew her away when a 4 flopped and another came on the turn.

    Neville, from Augusta, Georgia, is a criminal defense attorney whose nickname is Kate Bubble Girl. She got that moniker one year when she spent Christmas in Vegas, “hitting the bubble in 10 tournaments.” If I read her bio sheet correctly, that is surely a world’s record. Bubble Girl, who began playing 16 years ago in home games, broke the bubble tonight, cashing fifth for $2,563.

    At the break, Anderson led with $140,000 of the 340,000 chips in play, but was getting impatient because she had homework to do in her hotel room.

    Blinds now were 3,000-6,000 with 1,000 antes. Several hands later Debi Hamlin took the lead when she flopped a set of 5s to beat Anderson’s A-K.

    Hickey, later down to 19,000, survived when she went in with K-10 against Anderson’s A-Q and flopped two more kings. But a few hands later she went out when her Q-J couldn’t catch Sherry Hollis’ A-Q. Now Hollis had the lead.

    Hickey, 48, is from Killeen, Texas and self-employed. She is married with two children and a granddaughter. She learned poker 30 years ago in home games, and this is her sixth Circuit try. Fourth place was worth $2,991.

    With three left, Hollis was still in front with 122,000, while Hamlin had 122,000 and Anderson trailed with 78,000.

    With blinds at 4,000-8,000 and 1,000 antes, Anderson was all in with three-way action, surviving when her 6-5 turned into two pair. Then came the big turnaround hand. Hamlin moved in with pocket aces, Anderson called with 10h-8h, and made a flush on a flop of Kh-Qh-4h. She knocked out Hamlin and now closed the gap with 155,000 chips to 155,000 for Hollis.

    Hamlin, 43, is a housewife from Huntsville, Alabama. She’s married with three children, learned poker from her husband three years ago and her hobby is interior decorating. She cashed $3,844 for third, which is her poker high mark.

    After Anderson pulled even, the two finalists made their cash chop deal. Shortly after, Anderson, all in for 135,000 moved into a big lead when her A-Q prevailed against Hollis’ A-J. On the final hand, Anderson was way behind with 8-6 to Hollis’ A-8. But when the board came K-J-9-6-3, Anderson’s paired 6 was all she needed to don the crown of champion.

    Hollis, 39, from Pomona, Missouri, is director of nursing for Westwood Home Health. She is married with one child and learned poker three years ago by watching her husband. She enjoys shopping and traveling, and her poker highlight was playing in the WSOP at the Rio. Second place paid an official $7,518.