Hard to believe how far Chicago poker has come

April 25, 2013, Chris  

When Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event a decade ago, limit hold’em was Chicagoland’s most popular game and the Midwest’s busiest poker room was Harrah’s East Chicago.

“When Moneymaker won the WSOP event, poker started to explode. Being a floor guy at Harrah’s I monitored the long lists and always encouraged top management to add tables,” said Dom Niro, who now is poker room manager at Daytona Beach (Fla.) Kennel Club.

Now, typically 60-plus no-limit hold’em games (from $1-$2 to $5-$10 blinds) are played on weekends, and 100 big blinds has become the standard. But this is slowly changing with managers listening to players.

After requests for deepstacked games, Horseshoe manager Michael Soto started a $5-$5 NLHE game with a max buy-in of $1K, and this game has been running on weekends.

At Harrah’s, player suggestions have been important to manager Doug Walters, too. Deepstacked $1-$3 NLHE started running on Tuesdays and Thursdays in 2011, creating lots of action; it’s now run daily. This $300-max game allows players to buy up to the largest stack as the game progresses.

TURBO TIME: One of the more interesting stories from this year’s Chicago Poker Classic was 73-year-old Pete Falco, who decided to start playing turbo tournaments. After 16 of them, he had 10 final tables with four wins, making him the Turbo Series Champ and winning $25K.

HORSESHOE: The Horseshoe has changed its tournament schedule; for information check the Where to Play section in the back of our May issue.

— “Chicago” Joe Giertuga is Ante Up’s Chicagoland Ambassador. Email him at chicago.joe@comcast.net.