Her Deeds Give Her a Shot at State Monopoly Crown

Times Staff Writer

As tournaments go, the finals of the one held recently at Sherman Oaks Fashion Square attracted little attention.

Every now and then, a curious shopper stopped for a minute or two to watch the six players roll dice and move their game pieces around a board on a table in the middle of the shopping center. Otherwise, most people hurried on their way with only a glance toward the championship contest taking place.

But Monopoly isn’t exactly a spectator sport. And so intense were the players at buying property, making real estate trades and counting their money that they probably wouldn’t have noticed a cheering section had there been one.

Palm Springs Trip

In the end, Marla Boarini, 39, of Valencia, the only woman in the game, accumulated $12,242 in assets to win the tournament. She won a trip to Palm Springs and other prizes and a chance to compete for the state championship.

The players had been winners of semifinal games, said Michael R. Reilly, who stages the tournaments throughout the country for Parker Bros., Monopoly’s creator.


Winners of several local tournaments will be rated by the assets they amass. The person with the highest total becomes the state champion and will be flown to Washington in September to compete in the national tournament.

The winner of the United States title will compete in a world tournament in 1988.

Strategic Moves

Early on in the 90-minute game, Boarini acquired Boardwalk and Park Place, the most expensive properties on the board. That feat probably won the game for her. The runner-up, John Smith of Sherman Oaks, landed on Park Place at one point and had to pay much of his remaining money to Boarini for rent. That left Boarini with more assets in money and real estate.

Boarini, an electron microscope technician, said she hadn’t played Monopoly much in 15 years but that she remembered the game well from her teen-age years in Chicago.

“I used to play it day and night,” she said. “We used to have three games going at once. It was a lot of fun. Now, I have no one to play Monopoly with.”

Her husband and 7-year-old son, who stayed home, don’t play the game, Boarini said.

On a Lark

She said she entered the tournament “for the fun of it.”

Boarini and her opponents said they learned about the tournament in the newspaper.

Marty Rubins, 64, of Beverly Hills, the second runner-up, said if he had not made the finals, he would have gone on a nature walk, which he also read about in a newspaper.

None of the finalists professed to be experts at Monopoly.

“I used to play a lot when I was a kid, " said Carl Sanko, 32, of Mission Hills. “It was more luck than skill today. I was just unlucky.”

The other players were Mark Verahian, 15, of Studio City, and Snick Farkas, 34, of Sherman Oaks.

Verahian said he entered the tournament last year, but had little luck.

“I got farther this time, even though I went bankrupt,” he said.

Farkas was the first player to go broke.

“There was a whole bunch of trading going on because the property was all divided,” he said. “We were getting nowhere. And I made the worst of the deals.”

At the end of the 90 minutes, only Boarini, Rubins and Smith were left in the game.