Big August Rec.Gambling Excursion

"There are no strangers here, just friends you haven't met yet"
- Peter "Foldem" Secor

BARGE History

BARGE History

This page provides a brief history and time line of the BARGE event, held annually in Las Vegas, NV. There are some omissions, especially in data regarding the early years. Any efforts to fill in these gaps would be greatly appreciated.

The SIGGRAPH conference (on high-end computer graphics) was held in Las Vegas at about the first weekend in August, 1991. Several regular participants of the rec.gambling USENET newsgroup decided to meet up at this conference, and thus BARGE was born. It was during this time frame that the "presto" story occurred, as well as the Frank Irwin green chip fishing expedition. Despite the lack of planned activities and despite the fact that the "BARGE" label wasn't applied until next year [I think], we count this as the first BARGE.

In early August of 1992 ten intrepid rec.gamblers got together in a hotel room at the Mirage and held a private poker tournament. The participants were Edmond Hack, Steve Jacobs, Alan Mintz, John Tais, Martin Veneroso, Tyler Wong, and Mike Zimmers. Believed to be in attendance were Blair Houghton, Mike McClain, and Jonathan Rosenberg. In the tournament, Steve Jacobs won, Edmund Hack came in second, and John Tais finished third. Also at the second BARGE, an impromptu blackjack tournament was held. Note, that at this BARGE was Mike Zimmers, eventual BARGE organizer and current BARGE organizer emeritus. Also hanging around and perhaps participating in the blackjack tournament were Abdul Jalib M'Hall, Jeff Jennings, and Doug Shy.

A second meet-up was planned at the Rio, and 18 people played in a two-table poker tournament at that venue. Roy Hashimoto was the eventual winner. He flew into town the day of the tournament, and flew out after winning. It isn't known who finished second, but Steve "Bozo" Blackstock finished 3rd. Also at the event was BARGE organizer and current BARGE organizer emeritus, Chuck Weinstock. Frank Irwin organized the tournament at the Rio.

Chuck and Mike organized BARGE 1994 which was held at the Luxor. Sixty players entered the poker tournament which was won by Dave Hughes. In second place was Cliff "Deadhead" Matthews. It is unknown who finished third. For the first time, a second "official" event was added, a blackjack tournament. We have no record of who won this event. As this was the first almost organized BARGE, attendance really took off here. Much of what BARGE has become can be traced to this event.

In 1995 Tom Sims beat out 112 other people to win the NL hold'em tournament. Michael Buck took second, Doug Gifford finished 3rd. Gillian Groves won the blackjack tournament, Rudy Tatay finished second. This was BARGE's first year at Binion's Horseshoe (as it was called at the time.) A majority of BARGEs from this point on would be held at the same venue. At the Symposium, poker author Mason Malmuth spoke. This was the first invited speaker at any BARGE event. This was the first BARGE for eventual organizer Nick Christenson. This was also the first truly "organized" BARGE, by Mike Zimmers and Chuck Weinstock.

BARGE 1996 was held at the Horseshoe. The NL tournament was won by organizer Mike "KidZee" Zimmers. Steve Jacobs won the blackjack tournament, Andy Latto finished second, and Frank Irwin finished third. This is the first year in which a video poker tournament was held, although we have no record of who won the event. The banquet was held at Yollie's, a Brazilian steakhouse on Paradise Blvd.. The speaker was poker author Mike Caro. Because he couldn't be heard in the dining room, the restaurant kindly allowed us to hold our seminar on the roof of the restaurant. Caro gave his talk while quite literally pacing back and forth along the ledge of the roof. This was the first BARGE banquet. This was the first BARGE for eventual organizer Peter Secor.

The 1997 BARGE was also held at the Horseshoe. Steve Brecher won the NL tournament, which had 166 entries. John Reeves finished second, and Steve Russel finished third. 18 places were paid. Barry Tanenbaum won the blackjack event. Arnold "The Bishop" Snyder was the speaker at the banquet, held for the first time at the Golden Nugget. This year was also the first year that Chowaha was played in a licensed casino. 1997 was also the year of the David Sklansky BARGE Charity Freeze Out where Barry Tanenbaum, uh, "came in second".

Once again, at Binion's Horseshoe, 184 players competed in the NL hold'em tournament. Lee "I do *so* have a sense of humor" Jones won. Steve "Crunch" Daniel finished second, and Peter "Taki" Caldes finished third. Andy Latto won the blackjack tournament and Steve Jacobs finished second. This reversed their positions from the same event in 1996. Mike Caro was, again, the banquet speaker, this time at the Golden Nugget. Caro holds the distinction of being the only repeat banquet speaker in the history of BARGE. The first BARGE wedding (Kfish and Ratly) was held at BARGE 1997. It was officiated by Arnold "The Bishop" Snyder, reverend of the First Church of Blackjack and the previous year's banquet speaker. A second Sklansky Charity Freeze Out was held in which Russ Rosenblum beat David Skalansky in just a few hands.

BARGE was held at the Orleans this year for the first and only time (to date.) The NL hold'em tournament saw 177 people enter. John Harkness won, Russ Rosenblum finished second, and Doug Langdon finished third. Rick Mombourquette won the blackjack tournament. 1999 marked the first year in which the "virgin" class was specifically called out, led by "virgin queen" Beth Evan. Mike Sexton spoke at the banquet.

The year 2000 marked BARGE's return to the Horseshoe. Jeff Bartoszewicz won the NL hold'em tournament, John "JRX" Reed finished second, and Steve "Bozo" Blackstock finished 3rd. Chris "Jesus" Ferguson was the banquet speaker and winner of the chip castle building contest. No video poker or blackjack tournament was held this year, this was the first year for the Tournament of Champions-style event, in honor of BARGEr and ToC winner, Spencer "Zorak" Sun. The winner of this event was Tony "Karma" Goldstein. Peter "Fold'em" Secor finished second, and Jeff Siegel finished third. I believe the History of Poker event was first played at this BARGE, featuring alternating rounds of 5-card stud, 5-card draw high, and 5-card draw lowball. After the early rounds, 5-card stud was removed and the other games were played no-limit. In the final rounds, only lowball was played. Michael Hunter, Stephen Landrum, and Bill Chen chopped the prize pool when it got to 3-handed. Complete results for BARGE 2000.

In 2001, BARGE was again at Binion's Horseshoe. Events included the NL tournament, ToC-style tournament, and History of Poker tournament. The History of Poker tournament was won by Andy Bloch. Sean McGuinnis finished second, and Spencer Sun was third. At the ToC-style event, Frank Jerome emerged victorious over David Croson and Connie Kellers. The banquet was held at the Golden Nugget, the speaker was Phil Hellmuth. The NL winner was Russ Fox who outlasted John Fleming and Don "ADB Bingo" Rieck. The BARGE Chip Committee was formed and created this year's set. Eventual organizer Michael Patterson's first BARGE. Complete results for BARGE 2001.

As usual, BARGE was hosted at the Horseshoe again this year. The banquet took place at the Golden Nugget. At the banquet, Linda Johnson and Steve Lipscomb gave us a sneak preview of a television show with which they were involved that would hit the airwaves a year later, the World Poker Tour. Andy Hughes won the History of Poker tournament with Rich Strauss and Bob Herlien finishing second and third. In the ToC-style tournament Chris Straghalis was victorious over Steve Jacobs and Mike M. (Maurer?). ADV Vanguard won the Team CHORSE event. This was the first year for the 7-card stud shootout. The winner of this event was Don "trythat" Perry. John Miller came in second and Lenny Augustine finished third. Mike McBride won the NL hold'em tournament outlasting Andrew Prock and Gavin Smith. This was Peter Secor's first BARGE as an organizer. Complete results for BARGE 2002.

After 2003, BARGE would still have a home at Binion's, but this is the last year the building would bear the "Horseshoe" name (and be run by a Binion.) Keith Fichtemaier won the limit hold'em event. Tiger came in second and Mike "ADB Howler" McBride finished third. Team Chinese Poker won the Team CHORSE event. This was the last year for the History of Poker event. It was won by Michael Maurer with Perry "The Baiter" Friedman and Jerrod Ankenman finishing second and third. In the ToC-style event, Gavin Smith was victorious over Gillian Groves followed by David Huberman. Howard Lederer spoke at the banquet which was held upstairs at Binion's. The NL hold'em tournament winner was Paul Person. Patti Beadles finished second and John Davis came in third. Mike Zimmers helped organize this year's BARGE event, but he chose not to attend, marking the end of his illustrious career as BARGE organizer. Complete results for BARGE 2003.

Binion's again played host to BARGE in 2004. Newly crowned WSOP main event champion Greg "Fossilman" Raymer spoke at the banquet, which was held at the Four Queens. The winner of the NL hold'em tournament was Gavin Smith. Frank "ADB Nut-Z" was second, and Dan Nussbaum was third. Dave Orr won the charity triple draw deuce-to-seven tournament. Greg "Fossilman" Raymer finished second, and Sabyl Cohen finished third. Barry Tanenbaum won the blackjack tournament and Dave McVay won the video poker tournament. The "Math Is Hard 5" won the Team CHORSE event. Dave Fruchter won the ToC-style event. Jim "Bullbert" Bullard finished second, Chris "ADB Ploink" Straghalis finished third. Peter "Taki" Caldes won the stud shootout. In second place was Sabyl Cohen. Perry "The Baiter" Friedman finished in third. Complete results for BARGE 2004.

In 2005, downtown Las Vegas was, again, host to BARGE. This time, though, the host casino was the Plaza. The banquet was held at sister property, the Las Vegas Club, and Wil Wheaton was the speaker. The NL tournament winner was Don "Trythat" Perry. Nick Christenson finished second, and Dave McVay came in third. Guy "Grizz" Berentsen won the charity pot-limit Omaha high tournament. Sarah Boston came in second and Matthew Kursar finished third. Steven Markowitz won the blackjack tournament, and Connie Kellers won the video poker tournament. Alex Ziselman won the Lowball event. Mark Trombley finished second, and Barry Tanenbaum came in third. "Luck Factor Zero" won the Team CHORSE event. Sabyl Cohen won the stud shootout. Ross Poppel came in second, followed by Don "ADB Bingo" Rieck in third. Mike "Oz" Osborne won the ToC-style event. David Kusnick finished second, and Sabyl Cohen was third. Complete results for BARGE 2005.

BARGE had some last minute problems finding a home in 2006, ostensibly due to licensing issues surrounding some online poker sponsors for the event. Originally, the event was going to be held at the Plaza again, but they pulled out at the 11th hour. Caesars and The Palms were discussed as possible hosts, but in the end the Venetian stepped up and did a fabulous job hosting BARGE. The banquet was held at the Venetian and Phil Gordon was the speaker. The NL tournament winner was Mordecai Schwartz. David "Heldar" Heller finished second, and Don "ADB Bingo" Rieck came in third. The Tuesday tournament in 2006 was Lazy Pineapple, and that was won by Keith Troell, followed by Warren Sander in second and Claude Carlson in third. In the newly christened "Mike Zimmers Memorial" lowball event Kenny Shei won with Bob Jones and Randy "Schmengie" Collack coming in second and third. The "Icicles" won the Team CHORSE event. Jeff Landgraf won the stud shootout with Daniel Lykins in second and Nolan "ADB Darkside" Dalla in third. Don Condit won the ToC-style event with Steve "Lunchbox" Forcash and Bill Campion close behind. In an upset, or so Perry insists, Barry Goren beat tiltboy Perry "The Baiter" Friedman in the World Roshambo Championship. Rick "Zbigniew" Bevan was awarded the prize for best chip castle. Complete results for BARGE 2006.

In 2007, BARGE was hosted again by its usual home, Binion's. The banquet was back at the Golden Nugget where Gavin Smith gave the keynote. John Pickels won the NL hold'em tournament. Don "ADB Bingo" Rieck came in second, followed by Dave "ADB Iceman" Trinidad in third. The Tuesday event was 7-card stud 8-or-better, won by Andy Bloch, Tim "ts4z" Showalter placed, and Chris "ADB Ploink" Straghalis showed. Nolan Hee won the blackjack event, Michael "Mickdog" Patterson won the video poker event. Patti Beadles won the Zimmers Memorial lowball tournament, with Warren Sander in second and Nolan "ADB Darkside" Dalla in third. Team Chinese Pocker [sic] won the Team CHORSE event. Chic Natkins won the stud shootout with John Harkness coming in second and Chieu "Choo Choo" Tran in third. The ToC-style event was won by Kenny Shei. Second place went to Stevan "Goldiefish" Goldman, and coming in third was Dave "BronzeDodger" O'Grady. This was Michael Patterson's first BARGE as an organizer. Complete results for BARGE 2007.

Once gain, BARGE enjoyed the hospitality of our good friends at Binion's. And, again, the banquet was held at the Golden Nugget where Tom Schneider spoke. While the team CHORSE even took place at the Nugget, the other tournament events took place at Binion's. The NL hold'em tournament was won by Dan Chevrie. Mark "Dagon" Rafn came in second, and Steve "Lunchbox" Forcash finished third. The Tuesday event was the sadistic no-limit hold'em shootout transitioning to limit HORSE. This event was won by Guy "Grizz" Berentsen. In second was Chris "Jepstonian" Jepsen. Bob Ogus finished in third place. Matt "Grapes" Grapenthein won the blackjack event and Chic Natkins won the video poker tournament. In the Zimmers Memorial Lowball event, Richard "Quiet Lion" Brodie took first place. He was followed by Chris "Tom Bayes" Mecklin in second and Ken "ADB QB" Kubey in third. Through means nobody quite understands, Team Moosecock won the Team CHORSE event (even though there where, what, only two real Canadians on the team?) Steve "BIA" Nissman won the stud shootout followed by Stephen "Marlin" Cohen and Greg Pappas. Barry Tanenbaum emerged victorious in the ToC-style event. Marc "The Occupant" Gilutin came in second and Chuck Weinstock was third. This was Chuck Weinstock's last BARGE as organizer, although he continues as honored organizer emeritus. This was also Nick Christenson's first BARGE as an organizer. Complete results for BARGE 2008.

BARGErs enjoyed the hospitality of Binion's for the third straight year. This year's banquet was held at the Golden Nugget where Doyle Brunson spoke. The Tuesday event was pot-limit Courchevel, played for high-only with five cards. The winner was Rick Mombourquette, followed by Rodney Chen and Guy "Grizz" Berenstein. On Wednesday the traditional blackjack and video poker tournaments were held for the second year in a row, first and second place in blackjack were taken down by Matt "Grapes" Grapenthien and "Chic" Natkins, respectively. Rich "Omahalic" Bremer won the video poker event, with last year's winner "Chic" Natkins finishing second. Gillian Groves won the Wednesday night California lowball event with Rick "Zbigniew" Bevan and Steve Bortnyck finishing second and third. On Thursday the team CHORSE event was won by "The Math Is Hard 5 Sans That Talentless Commie Bastard". David Kluchman won the stud shootout with Cliff "Deadhead" Matthews and Michael "pygmyhipo" Maurer finishing second and third. This was the last year for that event. Michael Maurer also won the Tournament of Champions-style event followed in the standings by Doug Grismore and Stephanie Wasserman. The no-limit hold'em event was won by David "Heldar" Heller with Brenda Mowrey coming in second and Bruce "ADB Bigboy" Kramer finishing third. Complete results for BARGE 2009.

Not only were the gambling events at BARGE 2010 held at Binion's, but they hosted the banquet and symposium as well. At the banquet long time BARGEr Barry Tanenbaum was the speaker. The Tuesday event was badugi, and it was won by Andrew Prock with Chris Mecklin and Rich Bremer coming in second and third. On Wednesday, Gillian Groves won the blackjack tournament, and Peter Secor won the video poker event. Rich "Omahalic" Bremer won the lowball event with Mark Trombley and Rick "Zbigniew" Bevan finishing second and third. On Thursday the Inglorious Donkeys won the Team CHORSE event, and then that evening Mark Trombley cashed again, winning the inaugural 6-game event. In second place was Chris "ADB Ploink" Straghalis, and in third was Sabyl Landrum. David Kluchman won the Tournament of Champions-style event with David Aronson finishing second and Randy Collack coming in third. The no-limit hold'em event ended with Chuck Humphrey victorious, followed by Stephen Winter and Len Greenberg. Complete results for BARGE 2010.

Once again, the entirety of BARGE 2011 occurred at Binion's Casino in beautiful downtown Las Vegas. Our banquet speaker was Mori Eskandani. The Tuesday tournament this year was one of the rarer games spread in tournament form these days: limit hold'em. It was won by a late-arriving David Kluchman followed by Len Greenberg and Sharon Goldman. On Wednesday David Heller won the blackjack tournament with Michael Maurer emerging victorious in the video poker event. That evening in the draw lowball tournament the finishing order was Chris Mecklin, Scott Byron, and Joe Long. On Thursday "Team I Don't Give a Damn" won the team CHORSE event, and that evening it was Spencer Sun winning the 6-game event with David Low and Arthur Goltz winding up in second and third, respectively. On Friday it was Steve Lewin-Berlin winning the Tournament of Champions-style tournament, followed by John "JRX" Reed and "Timmer" Stine. The winner of the BARGE main event, the no-limit hold'em tournament, was Rich "Omahalic" Bremer ahead of second place Rodney Chen and third place Dave Tahajian. This was the last BARGE as organizer for Peter Secor. Complete results for BARGE 2011.

Again, BARGE returns to its natural home, Binion's Casino. The banquet speaker was Karina Jett. The lowball tournament moved to Tuesday this year and was won by Keith Fichtemaier with Ryan Troll in second and Rich Strauss in 3rd. The Tuesday tournament moved to Wednesday. This year it was pot-limit Binglaha. Caryl Aronson won. Keith Troell finished second. Bree Goldman was third. Rich "Omahalic" Bremer won the blackjack event and Michael Patterson was victorious in video poker. The Deadheads won the team CHORSE event. Thursday evening Andrew Prock won the 6-game tournament with Rich "Omahalic" Bremer finishing second and Arthur Reber coming in third. In the Tournament of Champions-style event it was Steve Lewin-Berlin winning it for a second year in a row, the first time that has happened in a BARGE event. John Pickels came in second, and Rick Mombourquette was third. Finally, the no-limit hold'em main event was won by Paul McMullin with Nick Christenson finishing second and Randall Hennemuth finished third. This was the first BARGE as organizer for Bree Goldman. Complete results for BARGE 2012.

This year's expanded BARGE was held at Binion's Caseino. This year's speaker was Stanford Wong, who gave his talk at the Symposium on Friday night. The lowball tournament moved again, this time to Monday night where it was won by Andy Hughes. Chris "Rev. Tom Bayz" Mecklin finished second, and Rich "Omaholic" Bremer finished third. The Tuesday tournament this year was Chinese poker. It was won by Caryl Aronson with Patti Beadles in second and Paul Gibbony in third. The blackjack and video poker events saw a resurgance this year due to their inclusion into the new triathlon of gambling. Barbara Garrett won the blackjack tournament and Derek Gomez finished first in video poker. The winner of the triathlon of gambling was Michael Patterson. The limit 6-game event moved to Wednesday this year. David Lawful won with David Aronson in second and Paul McMullin in third. Ten teams competed in the CHORSE event this year. The winning team was the Arrogant Bastards. Thursday saw a new event, pot-limit Omaha. The winner was Rich Strauss, followed by Tom White and Paul Fischman. Gillian Groves won this year's TOC style event. Derek Gomez and Don Rieck finished second and third. Maria Caldes won the significant others' hold'em tournament. In the no-limit hold'em championship, David Lawful was victorious, followed by Bob Lauria in second and Gerland Peterson in third. This year at BARGE we held a Binion's dealer appreciation tournament. George Kouselas won.    Complete results for BARGE 2013.

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