Johnson gets it done in Iowa for $21K

June 01, 2018, Ken Warren, John Somsky, Josh Jetton, Chad Holloway, Joe Giertuga, Brian Bly  

Aaron Johnson of Red Wing, Minn., won the Mid-States Poker Tour regional at Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood, Iowa. He topped the $350 main event, which drew 358 entrants, and he took home a $21,268 payday. Johnson has been having a great season with a fourth and a second in other events. This put him at the top of the player-of-the-year race and helps him extend his lead.

The runner-up spot fell to local player Matthew Breck and the $17,500 consolation prize when Breck pushed all his chips in preflop with Q-6 and ran into A-8. Breck failed to hit the board and Johnson won the title.

PRAIRIE MEADOWS CASINO: The property’s final WSOP main-event satellite will be June 10 at noon. The buy-in is $200 and the top prize is a $12K package that includes entry into the most coveted event in poker and $2K for expenses. Also noteworthy: The bad-beat jackpot nearly reached $150K at press time.

DIAMOND JO CASINO: The Worth poker room’s bad-beat jackpot was on track to break $190K as Ante Up went to press.

HORSESHOE COUNCIL BLUFFS: June 11 at 6:30 p.m. and June 30 at 10 a.m. will be $85 tourneys with $20 rebuys. The cheap rebuy is sure to create exciting action in the early part of these tournaments.

RIVERSIDE CASINO: The remodeled poker room should be open by the time you’re reading this issue.

Minnesota

CANTERBURY PARK: Robbie Wazwaz of Minneapolis won the record-breaking MSPT main event in Shakopee. It drew 526 entries, which was the largest in Minnesota history for an event with a $1K-plus buy-in. Wazwaz took home $109,375 of the $508,720 prize pool, bringing his Hendon Mob career earnings to $1.26M. He entered heads-up play against Minnesota Poker Hall of Famer Blake Bohn with almost an 8-to-1 lead. It didn’t take long for Wazwaz to emerge victorious and lock up his first MSPT win after nine final tables.

“My favorite tournament I’ve ever won is this one right now, best honor ever,” Wazwaz said. “Being 0-8 on the MSPT, knowing I didn’t play the ones right back then, that I wasn’t as good back then, I should’ve done better.”

He continued: “The cards I picked up were amazing, obviously I ran really hot, but I really tried hard to win this one because I couldn’t stand that I’d never won an MSPT; I just couldn’t stand it. I had to add it to my résumé. I felt it was incomplete, all the MSPT I had played without winning.”

RUNNING ACES: Wazwaz also earned $32,268 for winning the Spring Classic main event, which had a $500 buy-in, drew 264 players and generated a $115,236 prize pool. Wazwaz started Day 2 with 96,100 chips giving him the largest stack of the 75 returning players. This win combined with the MSPT win means Wazwaz swept both major events for the month of April in Minnesota.

Michigan

FIREKEEPERS CASINO: The poker room hosted the MSPT in May but still was running at press time. The results will be available in a future issue. The MSPT returns to Battle Creek in October for the Michigan State Poker Championship. On July 29 at 10 a.m., the poker room hosts its special Fifth Sunday $500 tournament. See the poker room for details.

MGM DETROIT: The poker room hosts two bounty events each week. A $220 tourney on Saturdays at 2 and a $120 event on Sundays at 2. Until June 29th, the poker room has $50 splash pots every half-hour, Monday-Friday 5 a.m.-4:30 a.m.

GREEKTOWN: The poker room is giving away $75 through drawings every half-hour on Tuesdays and Fridays. Earn an entry for every live hour played throughout the week. You must be present to win; if the prize is unclaimed, it rolls over to the next half-hour.

MOTOR CITY:  The poker room has removed the small bad-beat jackpot and has replaced it with smaller promotions. A royal flush pays a progressive jackpot and high hands run throughout the week. See the poker room for details.
At 7 p.m. on Thursdays, there’s a $100 tournament; Sundays at 1 is a $150 tournament. Both tournaments have a $5K guarantee, 20-minute levels and are limited to the first 100 players. Registration begins 90 minutes before the tournament. Motor City’s bad-beat jackpot (quads) was $750K at press time.

Chicagoland

BLUE CHIP: The bad-beat jackpot recently hit for $104K. Qualifier is (quad deuces). Food is allowed at the tables. Call the poker room for details. 

GRAND VICTORIA: The bad-beat jackpot (aces over queens) was $64K at press time and when it reaches $70K, the casino adds another $20K.

HOLLYWOOD AURORA: The $100K guarantee HCA Classic will be July 29. Players can buy-in for $700, play cash games for 15 hours or play in a Sunday qualifying tournament where the top five advance. The bad-beat jackpot was $155K (quad fives) at press time.

Ohio-Western Pennsylvania

HOLLYWOOD CASINO COLUMBUS: The Hollywood Poker Open series ran until May 6 and featured $500K in guarantees. The $550 main event has a $250K guarantee. When the dust settled, it was Curtis King of Charleston, W.Va., who took it down for $51,228.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO TOLEDO: The Great Lakes Poker Open tournament series ran May 17-28, just after press time, so look for a recap in next month’s issue.

PRESQUE ISLE DOWNS AND CASINO: The Erie, Pa., room has been making a bit of a comeback in recent weeks, drawing more poker players. A recent Friday night visit found five tables running, thanks in part to the tournament schedule. If you’re in the area and have not been to the poker room lately, it might be time to make a return visit. Tournament details and the full promotional schedule are available on the Bravo Poker app.

Wisconsin

MSPT WINNER: In early April, East Coast pro Greg Himmelbrand traveled to Milwaukee and topped a field of 635 entries to win the MSPT Potawatomi main event for $125,958 and his second title. He became the 10th player to win multiple MSPT titles.

“I heard Milwaukee was a cool city so I wanted to check it out,” he said. “The tour is run really well. I like how interactive everyone is, so I love to come out and play when I can. With the big prize pools, I’m always down.”

NEW ROOM: Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells shuttered its traditional poker room but has announced plans to open a new room with 10 electronic jackpot-blitz tables.

“We looked at a few poker systems that replicate online and actual live poker,” executive GM Casey Fitzpatrick said. “The benefits of electronic poker are less mistakes and increased play of hands. This means higher revenue without the added labor costs.”

MILWAUKEE TOURNAMENTS: Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Hotel & Casino has added new weekly tournaments. There will be an $80 re-entry every Tuesday at 6 p.m., $125 re-entry bounty every Thursday at 6 p.m. and $150 re-entry every Sunday at noon. The fourth Sunday of every month will see that buy-in increase to $300.

Meet Scott Sitron

Ninth on Wisconsin’s all-time money list with $974,690, Glendale’s Scott Sitron is a working man and married father of two who spent 2005-14 as a pro poker player.

In 2008, he nearly won a World Series of Poker bracelet when he finished runner-up in a $1,500 no-limit hold’em event for a career-high $385,974. The next year, he made a deep run in the WSOP main event, finishing 32nd for $253,941. It also was in 2009 that Sitron finished as the 19th ranked player on PokerStars.

In 2011, he was back at a WSOP final table when he finished fifth out of 2,857 players in a $1,500 event for $156,090. Other highlights include 42nd in a 2012 WSOP $3K event for $15,679, fifth in a 2008 WSOPC Tunica event for $14,929 and in February he won a $150 doublestack at Minnesota’s Running Aces for $3,698.

His most recent highlight was 13th place for $6,105 in April’s MSPT Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.

He plays poker when he can, but the University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate serves as a certified support planner near the Twin Cities as an independent contractor. You can follow him on Twitter @lcallseat3. — Chad Holloway