.- A South Carolina priest bested an NBA basketball star and two professional poker players, including former world champion Daniel Negreanu, to win $100,000 in a poker tournament and qualify for a competition with a $1 million grand prize.
Fr. Andrew Trapp, associate pastor of St. Michaelâs Church in Garden City, played in the PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge held in Los Angeles, California. Among his opponents were retired NBA star John Salley, Team PokerStars.Net pro Vanessa Rousso and Negreanu, a four-time World of Series of Poker bracelet winner.
The young priest, who Fox News says is known as âFather Ramboâ for his love of paintball, at one point held rosary beads while in a big hand against Salley. Fr. Trapp defeated Salley and Rousso before defeating Negreanu.Playing the final hand of a game of Texas Holdâem, the priest was dealt a Jack of clubs and an eight of diamonds while Negreanu took a six of spades and a five of diamonds.
The flop, the gameâs first three community cards, consisted of an eight of spades, a four of diamonds and a two of clubs. This gave the priest a pair of eights, while Negreanu could make a straight with any seven or three among the next two community cards.
Fr. Trapp lived up to his name when he went âall-in,â putting all his poker chips on the line.
âI wish you wouldnât have done that,â Negreanu told the priest.
âYou told me to be aggressive, so Iâm trying,â Fr. Trapp replied.
âYouâre bluffing right now, right, you donât have an eight?â the poker pro asked. âYou have a pair of eights? You donât have to answer thatâ¦â
âMy gut says Iâm going to hit it,â he continued. âI call.â
The priest again took out his rosary. The next card was a jack of hearts, giving him two pair.
The final card, a two of diamonds, secured Fr. Trappâs win.
âItâs one of those âThank you, Lord!â moments,â the priest explained to the show announcer after his victory. He also thanked Negreanu for teaching him how to play poker.
Fr. Trapp said all the money will be used for a new church building for his congregation, according to his audition video. His parish is $1.5 million short of its fundraising goal.
He also explained that he hopes to teach people that gambling in moderation is acceptable in Catholicism.
âThe Catholic Church teaches that thereâs nothing morally wrong making a bet or games of chance,â the priest remarked.
Commenting on his MySpace page, Negreanu said that the PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge is âa game show first and a poker show second.â In his view, its fast pace benefits the amateurs facing the professional players.
Fr. Trapp will play for the contestâs $1 million grand prize in December.