Planning the Raven Poker Invitational is a bit like planning a wedding.
Both involve invitations, guests, RSVPs and if not cake, then at least plenty of booze. Everyone should have a great time no matter how long they stay or what their seat number is.
Raven does it because we like to get to know our customers, our partners and new faces in this industry. We don’t have a sales staff — the Ravens who played at the tables or mingled with you are the ones who write our code, dream up cool ways to make Raven better, market our tools and help you when you need it.
We like smart, friendly, entertaining people, and we like to surround ourselves with them.
Our CEO, Patrick Keeble, is extraordinarily generous about all things, including every detail of the tournament like buy-ins, drinks and prizes. Cheers to him for thinking of a poker invitational in the first place, and for handing over a cashier’s check to pay for it.
And cheers to all three of Raven’s founders — Patrick, Jon Henshaw and Scott Holdren — for building this company with their own time, work, stress and money… while still finding time to play poker.
OK, but who won?
Grand prize: Steve Boymel, center, of Farlex in Huntingdon Valley, Penn., took home the grand prize of $1,000, plus two bounties worth $100 together. (Yes, there were two Ravens at the final table. In fact, a Raven played the final hand with Steve, losing fair and square).
Second place: Marcel Heinkens, left, of InstantMarketeer in the Netherlands gambled there would be a no-show or two and enough room for him to play. Well played. He won $250 to boot.
Third place: Dave Vogelpohl, right, of Marketing Clique in Austin, TX won $100. Mostly, he told me, by sitting there and blinding in. (Hey, whether you play high-risk or low-risk, we don’t judge.)
Also at the final table of nine players:
- Scott Holdren of Raven
- Jonathan Moreland of Raven, otherwise known as @RavenTrialGuy
- Dawn Wentzell of SpeakFeel, for the second year running!
- Liz Grimes of Overit, who learned to play with a cheap handheld game on the airplane ride to Pubcon
- Robert Brady of Trafficado
- Ciprian Oltean of Scoompy
Thanks to Michael Dorausch, our hired gun, for shooting photos this nice and offering impromptu chiropractic adjustments at our booth. For a complete set of his photos — nearly 200 — check out Raven’s album on Facebook.
One last thing
As the final few guests walked out of the Wynn Poker Room last week, the tournament manager stopped me.
“I want you to know that in all the time I’ve been doing this, this was the best group I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Yeah, you guys were loud, but you were having a great time. Smiles on every face. That’s nice to see here.”
Thank you for that.