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Local man wins poker match

Dennis Simon of south county won one more chip than another finalist to win the 2003 "Best Poker Player in St. Louis" title during the recent Budweiser/Muscular Dystrophy Association Poker Classic at the Holiday Inn Southwest in Sunset Hills.

Simon, 55, is employed by St. Anthony of Padua Church in south St. Louis City. He won the championship game last week in the closest finish in the event's 22-year history, according to a news release.

He won by a single 25-point chip over Elijah Helmers of Ferguson and five other finalists. Simon wins the "braggin' rights" as the "Best Poker Player in St. Louis" for 2003 and his name is engraved on a permanent trophy that he keeps until next year's tournament.

Last year's winner, Richmond Heights veterinarian Larry Millis, advanced to the championship game but could not defend his title. Other finalists were Michael De-Filippo of Richmond Heights, Michael Loynd of Chesterfield, Julie Neisz of south county and Bob Baker of Chesterfield.

Simon played in the tournament because family members entered a table in the event's first preliminary round Aug. 20 in Maryland Heights. He is married, has four children and the family lives in south St. Louis County.

A record 803 players raised a record $23,751 for the MDA.

The Poker Classic is sponsored by Grey Eagle Distributors. Grey Eagle President and Chairman Jerry Clinton said the tournament has raised more than $371,000 for the MDA since 1982.

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