Danny Farquhar wins Players Trust poker tournament


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As ballplayers often do, Danny Farquhar credited a teammate after outlasting the competition in a four-plus-hour marathon to win the third annual MGM Grand Poker Tournament to benefit the Players Trust at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

It turned out the young right-hander, a newcomer to the fund-raising event, got pre-tournament tips from Dana Eveland, who was the second-place finisher in last year’s poker tournament.

“My boy Dana gave me all the advice I needed,” he said after closing it out with a pair of queens in the final hand at about 1 am Thursday. “He told me to play fast to lose or play fast to win because it’s going to be a long night, so I played fast early, got good cards and got on a roll.

“But, seriously, I was just happy to be able to be here to help out the Players Trust and join the activities for the first time. Dana was the guy who got me involved and suggested I come out for the Trust meeting. I was able to listen to a lot of veteran players talking about charity work and getting players involved. I’ll definitely be back next year.”

The poker field included event co-hosts Bryce Harper and Dexter Fowler along with former and active players including Marlon Anderson, Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Brad Boxberger, Chris Capuano, J.T. Chargois, Royce Clayton, Eric Davis, Chris Heisey, Brandon Kinsler, Mike Lincoln, Kenny Lofton, James Loney, Chris Narveson, Ryan O’Rourke, Reggie Sanders, Hector Santiago and Steve Trachsel. The tournament was sponsored by Tia’s Hope, which provides support to children with serious illnesses and their families.

Harper, a Las Vegas area resident who volunteered to co-host the event for the second straight year, and Capuano, a longtime Players Association leader, also lasted long enough to get to the last table before running out of luck. Each ballplayer wore his playing jersey and signed it for the poker competitor who knocked him out of the tournament.

“Getting to the final table was awesome, the comradery was great,” Capuano said. “Baseball players whenever you get them in the same room are fiercely competitive at whatever we do.

“More importantly, with all the buy-ins, all of that money goes to the Players Trust, so we’re able to raise a lot of money for the Players Trust, which is why we’re here in the first place. So it was a lot of fun and a lot of good things happened.”

The long tournament was a test of endurance, especially for the dozens of players who participated in the Players Trust’s annual advisory board meeting – itself an hours-long session – in the afternoon.

During the meeting players determined the direction the players’ collective charity for 2017, including financial decisions and budgeting for the wide array of programs, events and activities they believe will best serve the communities in the United States and abroad where players live and work.

Eveland, who played fast and got out earlier, was grateful for the shout-out from Farquhar, but wasn’t certain he deserved too much of the credit for his teammate’s poker victory.

“We played cards all the time in the clubhouse, but we never played poker,” he said.