Birt captures record-setting event in Minn.

November 01, 2017, John Somsky, Josh Jetton, Ken Warren, Chad Holloway, Brian Bly, Joe Giertuga  

The Mid-States Poker Tour broke its record for the largest event at Running Aces Casino in Columbus, Minn., with 383 runners entering the $1,100 tourney, besting the 367in 2013. Jeff Birt, a 50-year-old businessman from Bloomington, claimed the $81,402 first-place prize.

“I thought I played pretty well,” he said. “I was short-stacked; I just had to pick the right spots, be patient and let the cards come to me. It’s been a long time coming. It was a good time, enjoyable.”

Birt had about $50K in career cashes before this, with his largest being $7,626.

CANTERBURY PARK: Peixin Liu of Blaine, Minn., won the inaugural $450 Poker Is Fun Tour event in Shakopee, Minn. Liu took home $8,501, beating 80-plus entries. Several other notables were on hand, including WSOP bracelet-winner John Reading and local powerhouse Rajee Wazwaz.

This event had a twist: To be awarded the pot, the winner’s hole cards had to be shown, making the event fun and keeping players engaged with each other more than their electronics. Cody Torke of Shakopee took down the $180 event for $2,427.

Four-handed Torke, Michelle Day, Tom Marsland and Luke Strawalker agreed to take $1,800 each and leave the remaining $1,227 for first. Heads-up players then agreed to chop another $400 for Torke and $600 for Day, playing for the remaining $227.

Alvaro Gordillo of Saint Paul outlasted a field of 704 entries to earn $18K from the$175 Ultimate $100K event. Eric Anderson took home $11,500 for second.

NEW TOUR: Next Level Poker, a tour started by Minnesota poker pros Chris “Fox” Wallace and Brian Soja, is gearing up for its first event Nov. 5-26 at Diamond Jo Casino in Iowa.

The $760 Blue Shark Optics Championship features three Day 1 flights. The series has several “Step Up” tournaments, which are hybrid satellites that also pay some cash in addition to a seat to the next step offering a new approach to earning your way into the tournament at a discount. For more, check outnextlevel.poker and read more in the Iowa report below.

Iowa

DIAMOND JO WORTH CASINO: On a quiet Friday afternoon at the end of September in Northwood, the ballooning $278,813 bad-beat jackpot fell when connected diamonds hit the board and suited connectors book-ended them.

The winner got $111K and the loser earned $55K. The rest of the room got $13,940 each. It’s also worth mentioning there’s still a chance to win big as the next jackpot was $138K at press time.

This month, Diamond Jo runs Next Level Poker tournaments. Each Sunday there will be lower buy-ins culminating in the $750 Blue Shark Optics Championship running Nov. 24-26.

MESKWAKI CASINO: The Mid-States Poker Tour runs until Nov. 5 with a $300K guarantee main event. The last stop here nearly paid $500K.

Wisconsin

MSPT BURGER: Nov. 13-20, Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon’s Players Bar in Madison will offer a “MSPT Burger.” The burger will include Mayo, Sweet potato fries (on the burger), Pepper jack cheese and Topped with Avocado. A dollar from each burger will go to charity and each burger earns customers a ticket into a drawing for a $250 satellite seat into the MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship.

OVER-THE-BORDER SUCCESS: In late September, Lacrosse’s Tony Lacey finished runner-up out of 383 entries in Minnesota’s MSPT Running Aces main event for $50,325. Janesville’s David Nelson was 12th in for $5,920.

POTAWATOMI HOTEL & CASINO: The Wisconsin State Championship, which has a $200K guarantee, runs Nov. 17-19 in Milwaukee and costs $1,100. In early September, the $354,224 bad-beat jackpot hit. The loser of the hand received $106,267, the winner $70,845, and six table shares $17,712 each.

Ohio

Jack Cincinnati Casino’s Fall Open ran Aug. 27-Sept. 3. The $1K main event saw 549 entries and a $500K guarantee. There were two Day 1s and several players took multiple shots at qualifying for Day 2. Eight players qualified twice, allowing them to sell back their shorter stacks for $4K. When the dust cleared, it was Kurt Jewell of Frankfort, Ky., ($88K) taking home the most money, followed by Frank Dellaria of Burgettstown, Pa. ($71,082) and Patricia Till of Avon, Ind. ($44,460). Overall, 63 players finished in the money.

Event 1 was a $350 re-entry event that drew an impressive 1,059 entries from 606 players, including two who bought in 12 times each. The field had players from 18 states and one from Canada to generate a $286K prize pool. The event ended in a four-way deal with Doug Holland of Lawrenceburg, Ind., taking $29,267 and the title.

Other winners were Daniel Statman ($200 turbo, $7,413), Jared Trout ($300 bounty, $4,569), Donny Phan ($300 NLHE, $8,400) and Jared Palmer ($200 turbo, $5K). The $200 seniors event saw John Yengo and Daniel Wood chop for $6,500 each. The only non-hold’em event ($300 PLO) was another chop as Perry Klein and Franklin Caldwell made $10,515 apiece.

JACK CASINO CLEVELAND: The $100K Pigskin & Poker promotion runs through Dec. 31. Cash-game and tournament players earn drawing tickets by making big hands (aces full or better) from noon until midnight. Each Sunday during the promotion, one ticket will be drawn every hour from noon until 8 p.m., with each winner receiving $500 in chips. On the final Sunday, prizes will range from $500 to $10K in chips.

Chicagoland

HORSESHOE SOUTHERN INDIANA: Mark Smith claimed his sixth WSOPC ring after winning Event 5 for $10K-plus. The 65-year-old from Georgetown Key., eliminated 127 entries in less than 24 hours, in a scheduled two-day event.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve won one, but… obviously the old boy›s still got it,” Smith said with a smile. “The lastone I won was in 2011.”

Danny Lawson, down to one 5K chip, make an incredible comeback to win the $365 double-stack turbo opener.
“Feels good, came from an ante to win it,” said Lawson, who survived 154 entries for $12K.
Ross Ward won his first ring in the $365 re-entry event for $39K. The Georgia native outlasted 640 entries, with a prize pool of $191K.

“Your heart starts to go a little bit. You get a little buzz, especially when you’re about three handed,”Ward said. “The focus kind of comes. The adrenaline was definitely kicking in.”

Josh Richard notched his eighth ring, this time in the $365 Monster Stack. The 26-year-old from Jamesville Wis., won $21K after taking care of 292 entries.

BELTERRA CASINO RESORT: The HPT will be in town Nov. 3-11. The $300 Monster Stack opener has three Day 1s and a $75K guarantee. The $250K guarantee main event has a $1,100 buy-in and starts Nov. 9 with two Day 1s.

HARRAH’S JOLIET: The Mega Bad Beat was $373K at press time.

MAJESTIC STAR: America’s Poker Tour returns Nov. 22-Dec. 3.

WINDY CITY POKER CHAMPIONSHIP: John Castillo won the $1K opening-weekend main event held at the new Windy City Poker Room in Oak Forest, winning $7K. Notables in the field were Richard Roeper, Paul Fisher and runner-up Ron Magers.

ELSEWHERE: Recently, Chicagoland players have been successful in major tournaments across the country. Nick Pupillo won the inaugural WSOPC main event at Thunder Valley. Kyle Adams won the $365 Freezout at Hard RockHollywood (Fla.) and Ben Castle won the HPT’s six-max in St. Louis.

Michigan

FIREKEEPERS CASINO: The Fourth Quarter Tournament of Champions series is runs until Dec. 30. The $5K freeroll will be Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. The TOC is a point-system competition where three tournament buy-in levels can qualify. See the poker room for qualifying details.

In addition to the quarterly events, the $55K finale will be Jan. 27. To qualify, you must be at the top of the leaderboard for 2017. his freeroll has a $55K guarantee with a guarantee of $20K for first.

On Nov. 18, Firekeepers hosts a $100 women's event at 2 p.m.

MGM DETROIT: The poker room hosts three bounty tournaments each week: a $120 event on Fridays at 11 a.m., a $220 event on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and a $120 event on Sundays at 11. Also, the bad-beat was $118K at press time.

MOTOR CITY: The bad-beat jackpot (quads) was a whopping $888K at press time.

Meet Tyrone Walker

Raised alongside two sisters in the Twin Cities by his mother and uncle, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells dealer Tyrone Walker moved to Wisconsin and started his family in the mid ’90s.That’s also when the lifelong Green Bay Packers fan began his table-games career.

How did you come to work in poker? Growing up, I always had an interest in working in the casino-entertainment industry. I mainly wanted to deal cards. I started dealing right out of high school and 20-something years later, here I am.

What do you like most about working in poker? I always loved playing cards. The idea that I get paid to come to work and “play” cards every day, well how can you not love that?

What’s your favorite memory when it comes to your work? My favorite memory actually involved a mistake I made. Two people were left in the hand and in my mind, they were both all-in so I ended up dealing the turn and the river prematurely. I followed the procedure and did the turn and river over again.I amazed myself when both cards, after being reshuffled back in, came out the exact same way.
— Chad Holloway