Poker star's golden run
WITH a cool hand and a steely eye, a poker player knows when to hold, when to fold and when to bluff.
Armed with all those skills, Terranora resident and Australian Poker League (APL) player Renay Murray can now add giant killer to the list.
Playing in the Star Poker Festival at Star City Casino, Sydney, Ms Murray exceeded all her expectations in a competition she wasn't initially expecting to play in.
"I won the ticket (entry) in a teams event with my partner in October at South Tweed Sports Club,” Ms Murray said.
"We were going to sell it, but I decided that I wanted to go down and play, so I did.”
We all love it when a plan comes together, but when the result isn't even on the radar, it makes it all the more sweet.
Arriving on Friday, March 10, Ms Murray had pre-booked her flight out of Sydney before finals as she didn't expect to progress through the first day.
"I was booked to fly home on the Monday morning at 7am to go back to work,” Ms Murray said.
"My brother lives down there and I actually told him that I'd probably be out on Friday, so I exceeded all my expectations.
"I hadn't cancelled my flight, even on the Saturday and the Sunday as I wasn't expecting to make it through.”
But make it through she did, with Ms Murray's golden run extending into Monday's final, where she was the last woman standing in the tournament.
Facing off against two other amateurs and four professionals for the chance at a $265,000 winning prize, Ms Murray finished a remarkable fourth, pocketing $91,000 in the process. It was an amazing result for the mother of two, who only took the game up for fun.
"I got into it socially through friends. I worked full-time and on a day-off, we'd go and play in the social scene for a bit of fun,” Ms Murray said.
Finding that she had a knack for it, Ms Murray continued to build her abilities, recording two top 50 results in major tournaments in Melbourne (2012) and Sydney (2015), where she won over $6000.
After her efforts this month - and her pockets bulging - Ms Murray is targeting Sydney Championships in the first week of August, as the platform for continuing her golden run.
"It'll either knock me on my butt or I'll do alright. I'll go down and try and we'll see,” she said.
"You never know, it might mean another $90,000.”