Minnesota’s Fall Poker Classic runs in October

August 23, 2016, John Somsky, Ken Warren, Chad Holloway, Brian Bly, Joe Giertuga  

Minnesota’s premiere poker series, the Fall Poker Classic, returns to Canterbury Park in Shakopee on Oct. 1-16. The Ultimate $100K event, which precedes the series, should have a big turnout judging by last year’s 1,114 entrants. The series boasts 19 daytime events as well as 10 bonus evening events. Buy-ins range from $125 to $2,500 and cover a variety of formats, so there’s sure to be something for every player.

If you are a fan of Omaha, you can play two Omaha/8 events and a Big O event. The $340 two-day HORSE event returns, as does the popular Tag Team evening event. Other events include a seniors tourney, a women’s event and a six-max tournament. For serious NLHE players, there’s a $550 event, a $2,500 high roller and, of course, the $1,100 main event. Last year’s series had more than $1.4M in combined prize pools and more than 5,700 entries, so this year promises to be another can’t-miss series. See the ad in the September issue for the tournament schedule and more details.

RUNNING ACES: Jereme Lindorff of Maplewood, Minn., and Jeromie Songetay of Hinckley, Minn., chopped the Anniversary Tournament in July. Each player took home $23,502, but Lindorff got the official win. This was the largest career cash for both players, according to Hendon Mob. The $280 event had drew 825 entries (667 in 2015). The prize pool was $173,260.

Iowa

The second annual Iowa State Championship at Meskwaki Casino, in conjunction with the Mid-States Poker Tour, broke the state attendance record for a $1K-plus buy-in event with 451 entrants, generating a $451K prize pool July 22-24.

Hao “John” Sun topped the field, taking home $104,627 after defeating the last of his rivals, Cory McCarthy. Sun ran down McCarthy’s 5-to-1 chip lead in heads-up play and took the win when his pair of nines held off McCarthy’s open-ended straight draw. McCarthy settled for $62,216.

“It feels great,” Sun said after the win, which shot him to the top of the MSPT Player of the Year race with 3,200 points (800 ahead of T.J. Thondup). “I guess I’ll follow the MSPT for Season 7 now.”

HORSESHOE COUNCIL BLUFFS: In the final weekend of July, Richard Arndt won the iNinja Poker Tournament Main Event for $29,257. Runner-up Scott Zajicek pocketed $18,330 when Arndt’s straight beat his pocket pair on the final hand. This event also had a great turnout for a mid-level event drawing 803 entries, topping the state record of 743.

The Horseshoe continues with another tournament series this month, hosting the Poker Players Championship on Sept 21-25. The main event has a $100K guarantee and the top-four players receive a $5K trip to Aruba to play in the PPC Championship. The buy-in is $500 and look for great cash games.

RIVERSIDE CASINO & GOLF RESORT: The property hosts the WPT DeepStacks series Sept. 23-Oct 3. Tournaments in the series range from $130 to the $1,100 main event.

DIAMOND JO CASINO: The Worth property will hold its ninth annual Poker Bash on Sept. 2-3 with a $250 event. The bad-beat jackpot was $205K-plus at press time, giving you another great reason to play there.

Chicagoland

At the World Series of Poker Main Event, there were 202 players from Illinois and 64 from Indiana as John Cynn from Indianapolis came close to making the final table, finishing 11th ($650K). Lance Keating from Algonquin was tops in Illinois (32nd, $216K). Several locals went deep, including former Sun-Times writer Frank Rusnak (123rd, $49K) and 2012 Ante Up Chicago Charity Classic winner Fadi “Freddy” Hamad (105th, $49K).

Richard Roeper, who was in town for the WSOP, won the super-mega deepstack turbo at the Golden Nugget ($6,500).

BLUE CHIP CASINO: The poker room is running a $2-$5 no-limit hold’em game on Fridays at 5 p.m. The buy-in is $200-$1K min-$1K max. Once the game is running, all buy-ins or rebuys will be $200 to the max chip count on the table. Also, the main bad-beat jackpot at press time was $19K for quad sevens.

WINDY CITY POKER CHAMPIONSHIP: Amateur Enrico Mirabelli came out on top of a tough field that included defending champ David Gutfreund and previous champ Michael Sabbia, along with Chicago-area players Ron Roeper, Ron Magers and HPT legend Craig Casino.

MAJESTIC STAR CASINO: The maiden series of America’s Poker Tour runs here Sept. 22-Oct. 2, including a $1,100 main event, which as two flights Sept. 29-30.

WSOPC: The circuit returns to Horseshoe Southern Indiana (Sept. 29-Oct. 10) and Horseshoe Hammond (Oct. 13-24) with back-to-back stops. The schedules weren’t ready by press time.

Ohio

JACK CLEVELAND CASINO: At press time, the bad-beat jackpots for hold’em were $26K (primary), $17,500 (secondary) and $15,700 (tertiary); Omaha was $17K.

JACK CINCINNATI CASINO: At press time, the bad-beat jackpot for hold’em was $25K.

Wisconsin

HO-CHUNK GAMING WISCONSIN DELLS: The PPC Midwest Poker Classic returned in late July for a week of tournaments. Among those to walk away with titles were Ryan Friese, who won Event 1 ($120 NLHE) for $1,577 and a $1,360 PPC Aruba Package; Michael Hanson, who not only won $1,650 in Event 2 ($120 pot-limit Omaha), but then took down Event 4 ($175 double green-chip bounty) for $1,836 and a $1,700 Aruba package; and PPC ambassador Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon, who won Event 3 ($120 seniors) for $1,663 and a $1,500 Aruba package.
As for the Midwest Poker Classic’s $350 main event, a tournament that attracted 258 entries, Kroon also took down that title, which came a year after he finished ninth in the same event. Kroon struck a three-handed deal with Larry Beilfuss and Pete Schmall that saw each man lock up $10K plus an Aruba package.

POTAWATOMI HOTEL & CASINO: In late July, the $350 Mid-States Poker Tour regional event drew 1,169 entrants, the largest tournament field in Wisconsin history. In the end, 34-year-old Vinh Tran of Aurora, Ill., emerged victorious after a heads-up deal with Ryan Gatrel that saw both players take home $49,944.

Milwaukee’s John Sun finished seventh, but after that he won the Iowa State Championship. Please read the Iowa entry in this report for details of his historic victory.

Meet Brandon Fish

Brandon Fish had an impressive 2015 on the World Series of Poker Circuit, winning his second WSOPC ring in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and scoring two second-place finishes at the WSOPC in Hammond, Ind. This Kearney, Neb., pro has amassed $235K-plus in WSOP tournaments.

How did you get your start in poker? I got my start in poker like most players; I started messing around on Party Poker. I had some success and eventually dived into PokerStars pretty hard during college. A weekly home game with friends helped get me even more hooked. I had a small landscaping and mowing company, which I enjoyed for the most part, being outside and getting good exercise. I never was afraid of the hard work, however, I was making a lot less money at it than I was online and working harder, so I adopted the philosophy I practice now, work smarter rather than harder.

How long have you been a full-time pro and how did you decide to make that leap? I’m a full-time pro because it’s what makes me the most happy and I’m having great success at it and have for years. I have a college degree and experimented with insurance and as a sales manager. Even though I am a people person, I was miserable and knew that wasn’t the life for me. I see too many people hating their jobs day-in day-out and have decided this will never be me.

What goals have you set for yourself? My poker goals would be cashing a lot in upcoming events, getting another ring or two. Either way, I will consider it winning if I can continue to make a good living, doing what I love the most.
— Ken Warren