02:10 AM

Big Slick: Curtis Has an Ace Up His Sleeve

Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics favorite son in poker tourney again this year.

When the Big Slick Celebrity Poker Tournament convenes on Saturday, July 20 at Harrah's North Kansas City, Children's Mercy's own Curtis Weber will again pony up his $500 entry fee and take a seat among the 150 players.

Curtis, RN, BSN, CPN, Nursing Workforce Coordinator, has participated in all three previous Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournaments, and is looking forward to trying his luck again this year.

"I know just enough to get beat," he said, describing himself as "a pretty average poker player; maybe a little better than most, but I'm certainly not great...I bet I'm not even close to being the best poker player in the hospital!"

The top 10 finishers in the poker tournament, which like all other Big Slick activities benefits Children's Mercy, receive a share of an approximate $50,000 pot and the winner gets a seat at the World Series of Poker.

"I haven't won any money in the previous tournaments, but I've lasted pretty long…last year there were only 12 players ahead of me when I went out, so I was kinda getting close to the money."

His goal this year is to finish in the money…which he will donate back to the hospital if he wins.

"I'd love to keep it because won money is sweeter than earned money, but it would be bad karma!" he laughed.

Curtis' poker-playing days date back to his childhood when his father, a firefighter in Wooster, Ohio, occasionally would take him to various firehouses around town, all of which had a poker table set up, along with a pool table. "That was back before firefighters were paramedics, so they had a lot more time to kill."

While never a high-stakes player, Curtis enjoyed playing cards enough that his father paid to send him to Las Vegas for his twenty-first birthday. ("I had fun, but money was so tight that I barely gambled at all…Vegas loses a lot of its appeal when you have no coin," he said.)

These days, an occasional game with friends and the annual Big Slick poker tournament is enough to satisfy Curtis' craving for card-playing, and even though the atmosphere may be more relaxed than a cut-throat game in Vegas or the local gambling boats, a bit of the competitive spirit survives.

"I'd like to win…who doesn't want to win?" Curtis said. "If I could make to where I would just win some money, that would be awesome."

When asked if he thinks he will finish in the top 10 this year, Curtis refused to make a prediction.

"I'm not going to jinx myself!" he replied.

So if you see Curtis in the hallways of the hospital, be sure to wish him well…remember, his good luck will also be lucky for Children's Mercy!

Click www.bigslickkc.org to find out more about Big Slick.