Johnnie Moreno backs friend into event, turns into $41,000 score

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: January 17, 2023 10:02 am EST

Johnnie “Vibes” Moreno helped a friend get his 2023 off to an unexpected and fantastic start after backing him into this past weekend’s Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) main event at California’s Sycuan Casino, and the friend, Corey Peeples, made the best of it, running all the way to a fourth-place finish. Peeples’ deep run was worth $41,000, making the San Diego-area bartender a winner in one of the best poker feel-good tales in recent memory.

Moreno, a popular pro player and vlogger, posted about how he decided, on the spur of the moment, to put up Peeples’ entry fee into the Sycuan main. Years ago, Moreno used to live above the bar where Peeples worked, and this old friendship received a new twist:

Peeples did have significant experience at poker, having played cash games for up to 30 hours a week before moving on to more stable employment, but he had little or no tourney experience. He still stayed in touch with the game, though, via his friendship with Moreno, and he’s been an avid follower of Johnny Vibes’ vlogs about his life in the poker world.

Peeples also had to juggle his personal life around just to be able to play, including free time from both his jobs and his parenting and family duties. Yet he was able to pull it all together and take a seat at the tables. From there, he reached the final table in the middle of the remaining pack before busting in fourth for the $41,518 payday.

It wasn’t the $124,000 winner’s prize, but it was an amazing run nonetheless, and for Peeples, it meant more than $20,000 in unexpected winnings. Moreno’s share as the backer came to more than $16,000 (minus the $1,100 buy-in), while the unnamed second bartender garnered $4.000 and change for helping cover Peeples’ work shifts.

“Corey did the heavy lifting here. He made this a newsworthy story!” Moreno stated after Peeples’ deep run concluded. Moreno also posted his “post-game interview” with Peeples, where they recapped the amazing run:

Featured image source: Haley Hintze