Illinois charity poker faces changes

December 30, 2013, Joe Giertuga  

New regulations are in effect for charity poker events in Illinois. Volunteer dealers are allowed to work 12 events per year, an increase from four per year. The cash winnings limit has been increased to $500 ($250 last year). The max-$10 bet in poker games has been eliminated. Venues can run 12 events per year, making it easier for charities to operate.

“Charity poker events are a tax on the willing, Charities are now faced with difficult economic conditions raising money,” said Jim Kasputis of Rockford Charitable Games.

In other charity news, the producers of the popular Windy City Poker Championship television show will be helping local charities organize charitable poker tournaments every weekend starting Jan. 25. The events culminate in two televised tournaments in April and mid May.

“We want to bring to our players in the area high value, low cost tournaments that they love to participate in,” WCPC executive director Kirk Fallah said. “All of the tournaments have deep structures, low rake and multiple promotions. Each weekend we’re going to give everyone multiple opportunities to win seats at the TV table for our championship event in May.”

The events start Jan. 25-26 in the Tinley Park area. Check out WindyCityPokerChampionship.com or call 708-935-2861 for dates and information.

MAJESTIC STAR: The Heartland Poker Tour concluded its 2013 season at Majestic Star with a dream heads-up match as one of Chicagoland’s best cash players, Ed Ochana, took on one of Chicagoland’s best tournament players, Aaron Massey. It took just 10 hands for Ochana to come out on top, winning $152K.

“One of the most completive final tables that I have seen,” HPT co-host Fred Bevill said. Players at the final table totaled 148 career cashes and included past HPT champ Nick Schwarmann and Imari “Doc” Love, who had four HPT-Majestic Star cashes and made his second final table, finishing fourth.

Jeremy Smith, a familiar towering figure, was back at Majestic Star as HPT’s tournament director. The HPT concluded a record year for the televised tour as this event pushed the HPT past $50 million in prize money awarded.

Mid-States Poker Tour will make its Chicagoland debut as Majestic Star will host two events this year (May 3-11 and Aug. 16-24). Both main events will have a $200K guarantee.

HORSESHOE: Mike Mustafa won Hammond Horseshoe’s $100K guarantee, earning $34K. Mustafa outlasted 343 entrants, which generated a $150K prize pool. In 2010, he was runner-up to Carlos Mortensen at the Hollywood Poker Open in Lawrenceburg.

Pros Nick Jivkov and Patrick Heneghan made the Hammond final table and Yorell Groves was runner-up. Charles Sizemore, who won his seat through a daily tournament promotion, finished third for $14K.

— Email “Chicago” Joe Giertuga at chicago.joe@comcast.net.