2021 World Series of Poker Europe 888poker WPTDS London Online
Event #81: $1,500 50th Annual Bracelet Winners Only No-Limit Hold'em

The Toughest Home Game in the Midwest

Hayleyocho • Level 7: 500-1,000, 1,000 ante
James Mackey, Grant Hinkle, Blair Hinkle, Jeff Tebben

The 50th Annual Bracelet Winners Only No-Limit Hold’em Event may seem like an exclusive and elite field, but to four players it feels just like a home game. Kansas City locals Jeff Tebben, Grant Hinkle, Blair Hinkle, and James Mackey are all amongst the entrants, but what some may not know is that these four play in what is proclaimed “The toughest home game in the midwest.”

Monday Night Poker ("MNP") is a $40 tournament that was born in 2003 following the booming Moneymaker effect. What was once a group of friends that wanted to watch Monday Night Football rapidly turned into some of the most decorated poker players in the greater Kansas City area. Jeff Tebben was part of this original gathering and recalls the early days. “We really had no idea what we were doing. The structure was terrible, the payouts were ridiculous, and it was pretty much just an excuse to hang out together, watch football, and maybe get lucky and win a few bucks.”

Eventually the group saw the addition of Grant Hinkle, a quiet leader who, at the time, had a little bit of online success. That success soon turned into WSOP history-making. Hinkle went to Las Vegas for the 2008 WSOP and ended up winning an event later broadcast on ESPN that was one of the largest poker fields ever, a $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Event, taking home $831,462. Just 11 days later, Hinkle's brother, Blair, won his first gold bracelet in the WSOP $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em event for $507,613, making the Hinkle brothers the first siblings in the history of the WSOP to win gold bracelets within a single year.

Two years later, Jeff Tebben also ended up with a WSOP bracelet of his own, taking down a $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event for $503,389. Soon James “Corwin” Mackey, Blair Hinkle’s former roommate at the University of Missouri before they both dropped out of college to chase their poker dreams, joined the Monday Night Poker group. Known as "migcom" in the online poker world, Mackey had won a bracelet at the age of 21 the year prior to the Hinkle Brothers, scoring $ 730,740 in a $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em event.

Over time the MNP league saw their circle grow, as well as their winnings, gradually amassing over $11.5 million in combined earnings and collecting—in addition to the 4 WSOP Bracelets: 4 Heartland Poker Tour titles, 3 Rungood Poker Series titles, 8 WSOP Circuit Rings; five being Main Events, a 5 Diamond title, a Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Title, and a WPT title.

"People constantly assume that MNP is some sort of high-roller league, but it couldn’t be further. It has remained at the original $40 buy-in since it’s inception," Jeff Tebben told PokerNews.

Today the Hinkle brothers can be seen at the same table, eleven years after winning their bracelets, fighting for another chance at one of poker's most prestigious trophies.

When asked about playing at the same table as his brother, Grant Hinkle says, "I enjoy playing poker at the same table as Blair at MNP. He is historically one of the worst in our fun turbo home game. I hate playing at the same table in real events. It has happened probably 6 or 7 times and is always awkward and particularly painful for me, as he constantly puts me in tough spots."

Will this group make history at WSOP 2019? So far the four bracelet winners of the MNP group have a combined 13 cashes, with one being today, and are playing for bragging rights at the next Monday Night Poker game as well as a coveted 5th gold bracelet.

Tags: Blair HinkleGrant HinkleJames MackeyJeff Tebben