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Firefighter friend fills in for Kerry Smith at World Series of Poker

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    Wellington firefighter Mike Barlow serves as Kerry Smith's replacement at the $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em 8-handed event at the World Series of Poker the weekend of June 30 in Las Vegas.



LAS VEGAS — Kerry Smith loved games.

In fact, he was the emcee at the Wellington Fraternal Order of the Eagles Aerie 2051 game night.

Aside from “Family Feud” and the “Newlywed Game,” he loved poker.

And he was good at it.

So good that he was ready to fly out to Las Vegas the weekend of June 30 to play in the $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed event in the 2018 World Series of Poker.

But that never happened.

Thinking he just pulled a muscle, Smith wasn’t working (he was a self-employed concrete finisher) and knew he could not make the trip out west and miss additional days of work.

Enter his friend and poker buddy, Wellington Firefighter Mike Barlow.

Barlow runs a poker league in Wellington and the league sends five guys to the series every year to play in a $1,000 event. Smith actually won the spot, but asked Barlow to take his place.

“Kerry called me a couple of weeks ago and said that he pulled a muscle in his side and he was out of work a week and he didn’t think he should go out,” Barlow said.

Barlow last talked to Smith on June 28.

“He told me he was happy that I was going to play the tournament for him,” Barlow said.

An avid poker player, Smith already had a World Series of Poker tattoo on his forearm with the years he played. He had plans to add to the tattoo if Barlow did well in 2018.

“He told me that if I made the money, he was going to get the numbers added. Unfortunately he was never able to hear how we did and get the addition to his tattoo,” Barlow said, noting he returned to Ohio on the Fourth of July. “We finished 16th out of 8,598 players.”

As for getting a tattoo himself, Barlow said that was his friend’s style.

“He was a really good friend who will be unforgettable,” Barlow said. “I’m sure I will be reminded of him every time I sit down at the card table.”

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