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June 14, 2009



Richard Lambert, 4th

Jamie Grenon, 2nd Kostas Tsonis, 1st Jennifer Lewkowicz, 3rd  


Mark Marvelli, 6th         Jewel Davies, 5th

  Carol Fox, 9th Fabian Ramos, 7th

Ross Ward, 8th



On June 14, 2009, 90 of Chicago's top-ranked poker players competed in a double-elimination format for the 3rd Annual Chicago No-Limit Texas Holdem Championship. The final table was a mixture of ages, styles, and experience. As a measure of how challenging this event was, the Final Table featured no less than four players who had previously qualified for the 2010 Chicago Player of the Decade Tournament.

  KOSTAS TSONIS, Champion. One of two players to make back-to-back final tables in this series, Kostas Tsonis is proof that luck is where hard work meets opportunity.

 "Nobody out there works any harder at the game than Kostas does", says Bishop "He's always reading something or watching tapes that can help him improve.... I think his greatest asset is attitudinal, win or lose he loves the action and players like that will eventually find a way to win."

Tournament Director Bishop says of Tsonis "It's just a matter of when he goes pro. This is a guy who learns fast, loves competition, and is always looking to improve."

Kostas Tsonis will have the opportunity to compete with the region's very best players at the Chicago Player of the Decade Tournament set for 2010.

  JAMIE GRENON, 1st Runner Up. This year's 2nd place finisher has been playing poker for nearly 10 years. He's a cash game veteran who's been playing more tournaments since the tournament phenom took off in 2003 with Chris Moneymaker's victory at the WSOP.

Jamie's favorite game is No-Limit Holdem and it shows. "This is the first tournament I've seen Grenon play", said Tournament Director Bishop. "He's very even-tempered and difficult to read. His solid play is tough to beat... it really came down to one hand where he walked into the hidden straight Kostas was holding. Otherwise he very well could have won it all this year."

Grenon describes his style of play as "... patient. I watch and observe the table and look for opportunities. I don't worry too much about any given hand..."

Look for this great player at the 2010 Chicago Player of the Decade Tournament.

  JENNIFER LEWKOWICZ, 3rd Place. Jennifer Lewkowicz has been playing high-level poker for many years. In her own words "...I'm selectively aggressive... I like to mix it up and test my opponents..." Jennifer stayed true to her style in this tournament saying "... My strategy was to use the element of surprise. I wanted to identify the weaker players and pressure them..."

Tournament Director "Chicago Mike" Bishop is very familiar with Lewkowicz and gives her highest honors "Jennifer has a complete skill set. She plays good hands, has a great feel for where she's at, and keeps the opposition off balance. I don't think you can teach all that, some of it's a natural gift."

Omaha is Jennifer's favorite game because it offers the widest range of possibilities. "It's just more challenging", she says, "... Omaha forces you to read your hand right." One of Chicago's most respected veteran players, Jennifer has a trail of championship finishes that proves she's been reading her hands right. No player is more deserving of a seat at the 2010 Chicago Player of the Decade Tournament.

  RICHARD LAMBERT, 4th Place. Veteran Chicago player Richard Lambert plays every kind of poker game he can find. "My favorite games are No Limit Holdem, Omaha Hi-Low, and HORSE... I love Razz too", says Lambert.

Richard accurately describes his game as "conservative... I'm a patient player and wait for the right opportunities. Today I saw that people were fairly loose with their calls so I decided to build a stack early and take it to the Final Table."

Tournament Director "Chicago Mike" Bishop notes, "...Richard Lambert has won and placed at numerous championships over the past 4 years and he'll be one of the favorites at the 2010 Player of the Decade Championship. He's as calm a player as you'll see in a tournament" said Bishop. "Perhaps that's because he avoids situations he shouldn't be in in the first place. He has a pro-level game, if he's in the hand with you, watch out."

  JEWEL DAVIES, 5th Place. Jewel has been playing the Chicago tournament circuit for several years and says No Limit Texas Holdem is her favorite game. She describes herself as a conservative player who can adjust to the style of the others at the table. "During the course of the tournament my strategy varied... I started out conservative then as we approached the Final Table I tightened up tremendously. I was short stacked and had to make the best of it. Once I made the Final Table I was looking to push all-in with the best hands. Fortunately I hit a few, built a stack and was able to make it deeper than I thought my be possible."

Tournament Manager "Chicago Mike" Bishop noted that Davies has a talent shared by so many great players. "Jewel proved she can come back from scraping the felt... stay focused and figure out what she needs to do next... A lesser player goes on tilt, I was real impressed by her composure."  Next stop for Jewel Davies is the 2010 Chicago Player of the Decade Tournament

  MARK MARVELLI, 6th Place. No Limit Texas Holdem and Hi-Low Omaha are the favorite games of 6th place finisher Mark Marvelli. Mark likes to play conservatively until the right situation presents itself. "My style of play entirely depends on what I know about the other players. Since I didn't know many of the players my default mode was a waiting game. I felt the field was pretty loose so I wanted to be ready when I hit something." 

Given his outstanding efforts in this year's championship, Marvelli will be a force to be reckoned with at the 2010 Chicago Player of the Decade Tournament.

  FABIAN RAMOS, 7th Place. With today's showing, Chicago veteran Fabian Ramos reached the Chicago No-Limit Poker Grand Championship final table a record 3 seasons in a row. Ramos described this year's competition as decidedly different than prior years... "This was a different array of players. Many of them I didn't know but I saw how solid they were. I was surprised to see so many correct laydowns especially pairs that are difficult to get away from."

Given the quality of players at the table, Ramos said his strategy was "to play solid poker... I wanted to see alot of flops and wait for someone to overplay their hand."

  ROSS WARD, 8th Place.  
  CAROL FOX, 9th Place.  

For the Full Chicago Poker Tournaments Scoreboard Index, click here.