Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lumberjack Wins 5 Million

I found this on AOL.


You gotta love this guy.

Thanks,

Preston
___________________________

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 10) -- What is Darvin Moon going to do with his new fortune? "Put it in the bank," said the lumberjack who came in second place at the World Series of Poker.

It was a characteristically plain-spoken response from the 46-year-old from rural Maryland who had never flown in a jet plane before coming to Las Vegas in July to play -- and eventually beat -- many of the world's greatest poker players. Tuesday, he walked away with the $5.1 million purse after Joe Cada, a 21-year-old from Detroit, pushed him out.

Normally, potential champions are Type A glory-seekers, people who dream of being on TV and splurging on luxuries and soaking up all the media attention they can. Throughout the tournament, Moon has baffled onlookers as a plain-spoken guy who doesn't use the Internet, doesn't own a credit card and flat-out refused to sign any of the online poker Web site endorsement deals that are de rigueur for final table players.

"I'm not interested," he said, sporting the only swag he's received: a New Orleans Saints cap the team sent him after he told reporters he was a fan. "Why sign something that's gonna change me so that I'm gonna have to be sitting in a corner in front of a computer? That is like watching paint dry on the wall. I like being outside, moving, doing outside things."

When it was all over early Tuesday morning, following four hours head-to-head and about 90 hands on the stage where illusionists Penn & Teller perform, Moon was beaten by someone very different: a gregarious, eagerly famous 21-year-old from Detroit. Moon wouldn't acknowledge that he was relieved to be able to return to anonymity, but he did tell a Washington Post reporter who was blogging and tweeting his every move, "Why is everybody so upset? It's all good. This is fun."

The break between July and the November finale was designed to give the nine finalists a chance to promote themselves and the tournament while leaving the ultimate result unknown as ESPN aired weekly shows of the summer's action. Moon, the chip leader, largely went back to work, talking to journalists if they caught him on his phone but declining to fly to Europe and elsewhere to play in poker events as other players frequently do.

"I'm not going to that stuff," he said. "I'm not interested in that. I may go to some other games, but I'm going to the ones I want to go to when I want to go."

None of this computed in the balloon-boy era and, in fact, was met with some hostility in a poker community that talks constantly about the importance of good "poker ambassadors." Even his new poker-pro pals seem to believe that Cada's victory may be better for the game.

"Darvin's a great guy and he's turning into a good friend of mine, but he is not a person who wants to go out there in front of the media and anything like that," said Dennis Phillips, who finished third in the 2008 World Series. "Joe will be more that way. So in that aspect, yes, there's a difference. But believe me, Darvin's a heckuva good guy."

Moon lives in Oakland, Md., where even his great-grandfather grew up and which boasts fewer residents than the number of contestants he outlasted in the tournament. He owns a logging business and drives to Yellowstone for hunting trips once a year. Also, he likes to play poker, earning entry to the World Series by winning a tournament at a casino in Morgantown, W.Va., that cost him $130 to enter.

His rough-edged demeanor served him well at the poker table where he sat with a steady, inscrutable frown as his head rested on the palm of one of his thick hands. Even when he won big hands or busted someone out, his expression changed little. He said later he felt it was rude to appear to celebrate someone else's ouster.

Moon received his minimum payout of $1.26 million for finishing in the top nine before departing Las Vegas in July. Most of it's in the bank, but he did buy new logging equipment and a new pickup. He and his wife, who have no children, also accelerated previously laid plans to replace the 14-by-70-foot trailer they've occupied for 17 years, but the new house, also a modular, will be no bigger or fancier than they previously had planned for, despite the money.

"He almost has roots in the old pioneer West or something of people who went into the woods," said Nolan Dalla, the announcer at the event. "Living a rural lifestyle with his family and parents, he has no use for the perks of the modern society. That's pretty unique in the poker world because it's all about money and fame and glory. He's the antithesis of that."

Indeed, asked how he liked Las Vegas, Moon replied, "It sucks. Too many people, too fast-paced for me."

Had he seen any shows or had any great meals?

"I had a good shot of whiskey in the casino at 5 a.m. this morning."

Of the media circus that engulfed him?

"I'm as uncomfortable as hell."

And what about all the money he just won?

"No, Uncle Sam won a crapload. And what'd he do?"

And he had exactly the response one might expect for his plans when he gets back home.

"I'm gonna change my phone number."

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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

World Series of Poker

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.