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Poker community remembers Middle River man killed in plane crash


MIDDLE RIVER — Described as one of the most recognizable faces on the Canadian poker circuit, Norman Overdijk is being remembered by players across the country.

Norman Overdijk graced the cover of Canadian Poker Player magazine after being named Canadian Poker Tour player of the year in 2011. The 54-year-old resident of Middle River died Saturday in an ultralight plane crash.

The 54-year-old Middle River resident died Saturday after the ultralight plane he was piloting crashed into a barn on West Side Middle River Road. A 26-year-old passenger was transported to hospital in Halifax by LifeFlight.

Anthony Charter, a contributor to PokerNews Canada's website, posted an article Sunday remembering Overdijk.

"If you've played poker in any main event in Canada, Overdijk may have been at your table," he wrote. "From Halifax, N.S., to Richmond, B.C., the 54-year-old Overdijk travelled coast to coast playing Canada's biggest tournaments."

When reached by phone in Halifax on Monday, Charter said Overdijk was well-known and well-liked by poker players across the country.

"He was always the most friendly person at the table. Even if you weren't sitting at his table, you knew he was in the room because if he wasn't in a hand, he'd be up walking around to chat. He knew everybody," he said. "He was generally the loudest person in the room, in a good way."

An accomplished player, Overdijk was named Canadian Poker Tour player of the year in 2011, which led to him being featured on the cover of Canadian Poker Player magazine that year.

"He was definitely successful and he played in a lot of tournaments," said Charter.

Charter said Canadian poker players will miss Overdijk's presence on the tour.

"He loved to gamble and I mean that in the sense that he liked to play a lot of hands. He wasn't one to sit around," he said. "If you were in a pot with him the chips were moving."

RCMP Const. Mark Skinner said Monday that Transportation Safety Board officials have notified the RCMP that they won't be pursuing an investigation into the crash.

"It's considered an ultralight, a homemade plane, and (the board) kinda said that's out of their mandate," he said.

The RCMP's preliminary investigation indicated the ultralight crashed into a barn shortly after takeoff from a neighbouring field. And Skinner said their efforts to determine exactly what happened are ongoing.

"Our investigation is continuing," he said.

Skinner said they have no updated information on the condition of the 26-year-old man involved in the accident.

ljgrant@cbpost.com

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