Breaking Down the Action:
  • The Tip of a Lifetime
  • Taking on the Tournament
  • The Morale of the Story

4 Minute Read

Corey Peeples was coached by Johnnie Moreno and won over $41,000 at the MSPT Main Event thanks to a chance meeting at a Japanese restaurant in San Diego.

Feelgood stories are always popular around ‘Oscar Season’, but when the story is a poker tournament in San Diego, you have to wonder who is writing the script. Cue Johnnie ‘Vibes’ Moreno, a bartender at a Japanese restaurant and $41,000 in cold hard cash. This weekend’s MSPT Sycuan Resort Main Event saw thousands of entries, but only one man was the story when the final hand had been played out – Corey Peeples.

The Tip of a Lifetime

Parents will know the feeling of grabbing every opportunity they can to do their own thing and last weekend, bartender and bar manager Corey Peeples did exactly that. The stay-at-home Dad who works two evening jobs to help raise his young family was tending the bar at a San Diego restaurant, when in walked Johnnie ‘Vibes’ Moreno, legendary poker YouTuber.

As it happened, Moreno attending the restaurant for a little ramen wasn’t so uncommon. He and his wife do so a lot, so much so in fact that Moreno, along with his tournament crusher brother, the poker professional Andrew Moreno, call it a second home. This time, however, it was different. Moreno got chatting more with Peeples than usual, and at the end of the meal, instead of leaving a tip alone, he decided to do something spontaneous. A random act of kindness, if you will.

Moreno offered to buy Peeples into the $1,100-entry MSPT Main Event. It was happening in downtown San Diego and that sort of event didn’t take place every week, or even every six or eight weeks. When would it roll through again? Moreno didn’t care. He wanted to stake Peeples, giving the bartender 50% of the action, with Moreno taking 40% and the barstaff at the restaurant being up for 10% if they’d let Peeples take a couple of days off.

Taking on the Tournament

Peeples was excited about the event, a stark contrast to the usual kind of poker he plays. Regularly a cash game player at stakes of $2/$3 or occasionally $5/$5, the most he’d ever bought into a tournament for was $80. That was at Ocean’s Eleven casino, but Peeples admitted to Moreno after the MSPT Sycuan Resort Main Event that he was used to entering the Seven Mile $50 rebuy tournament as a baseline.

Entering the two-day event, Peeples had the support of Moreno, who railed him like he might have done his brother Andrew. Buzzing from the big brother ‘vibes’, Moreno didn’t report a thing about the event to his fans during Day 1. But Peeples made Day 2 and soon started making a run. Into the money, reaching the business end of the event, there was a chance Peeples might actually win the thing when he reached the final table.

That’s when Moreno shared the story with his fans on Instagram. With the world and his wife joining Peeples’ rail, Corey was cheered to fourth place. After surviving with ace-jack beating ace-king, he failed to get a double-up with ace-eight chopping it up with ace-four. Thereafter, he busted just outside the podium places for a little over $41,000 – easily his biggest-ever win in poker.

Afterwards, he was only going to give a ‘winners interview’ with one guy – Johnnie ‘VIBES’ Moreno himself!

The Morale of the Story

With Johnny Moreno claiming almost $16,400, the morale of the story could easily be interpreted as believing in others and helping them whenever possible if you believe in them. But afterwards, Moreno said that he felt it was important than when he made his investment, it was actually one of kindness and generosity, without any expectation for a financial return attached to it.

Peeples, of course, won over $20,000 and took over $4,000 back to the bar to be shared between the staff that allowed him to play the event. When he arrived at work for his first shift after going very, they gave him a standing ovation applauding him as a workforce. He said it was ‘a little too much’, but for such a heroic effort, how could it be?

Johnnie Moreno will win more money than Peeples did, probably very soon. Maybe so too will Peeples, who could be tempted from his Dad and diner duties to play in a World Series of Poker event this summer if circumstances permit. What we’d do to see the popular father-turned-tournament-crusher ultimately become a winner again. When it means so much to a regular person, it means all the more to us.





Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson writes for about the gambling industry. His experience ranges from crypto and technology to sports, casinos, and poker. He went to Douglas College and started his journalism career at the Merritt Herald as a general beat reporter covering news, sports and community. Arthur lives in Hawaii and is passionate about writing, editing, and photography.

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