Minnesota State crown goes to Hanner

April 15, 2017, John Somsky, Joe Giertuga, Brian Bly, Chad Holloway, Christopher Cosenza, Ken Warren  

The Minnesota State Poker Championship returned to Canterbury Park in Shakopee with an expanded series of three events.

Jonathan Hanner of Minneapolis won the $1,100 main event for $45,511. The victory brings Hanner’s lifetime earnings to $300K-plus. Second-place finisher, Umut Oztruk of Apple Valley, earned his career-best cash ($24,506). The final table was packed with top Minnesota talent, including Vic Peppe, Blake Bohn, Rajaee Wazwaz and “D.Q.” Dan Hendrickson.

The main event drew 182 entries for a $175K prize pool. The buy-in was reduced from last year’s $1,650, which helped increase entries from 153.

Erick Wright of Shoreview came out on top in the $540 event for $30,060. Wright beat local pro Aaron Johnson heads-up for the victory. The event offered a $120,720 prize pool for the 252 entrants.

James Boone of Lakeville took down the $300 six-max for $9,887. The event had 126 entries for a $35,310 prize pool.

RUNNING ACES: The Pot o’ Gold tournament in Columbus offered players another chance to play one of the casino’s signature series. David Gonia of White Bear Lake garnered the top spot, cashing for $37,986. This cash propelled him past the $500K mark for lifetime tournament earnings. Gonia played Erick Wright heads-up for the win. The $280 tournament offered multiple entries across each of its Day 1 flights, resulting in 855 entries and a $170K prize pool.

Chicagoland

BELTERRA CASINO RESORT: Michael Scarborough, a sales manager from Lawrenceburg, Ind., topped a field of 436 entries, winning the Heartland Poker Tour Main Event for $95K. Starting fifth in chips, he survived early elimination and ramped up the aggression late.

“It’s one of the best tournaments for value and you couldn’t play against nicer people,” he said. “I just love it and everybody’s super nice.”

The $300 Monster Stack set a property record with 557 entries. Curtis Whisman of Kentucky won almost $15K.

BLUE CHIP: There are $1-$2 NLHE cash games with a $300 max buy-in, and $1-$2 PLO on weekends ($500 max).

HARRAH’S JOLIET: The largest bad-beat jackpot in Illinois history was $755K at press time (quad eights). There’s a $275 PLO tournament May 20 at noon.

HORSESHOE HAMMOND: Lance Howard of Detroit won the Chicago Poker Classic Main Event for $231K and a WSOP main-event seat.

Jake Hommen topped a field of 1,793 entries to win the $360 opener for $87K. See our Wisconsin report for more on Hommen. The low-stakes grinder from Madison, Wis., faced a tough table with HPT and MSPT main-event winners Mike Puccio and Ken Komberec.

HORSESHOE SOUTHERN INDIANA: The Horseshoe Poker Classic runs May 12-21. The 10-event series will feature a $560 main event May 20 at noon.

There’s a new $200 deepstack on the last Saturday of the month at noon. Players start with 15K chips and a $20 add-on gets 10K more. There will be unlimited re-entries until Level 6.

Iowa

MESKWAKI CASINO: Pro Jason Ramos, 35, from Carol Stream, Ill., won $108,120 for winning the 100th Mid-States Poker Tour main event. The event broke the MSPT entries record at Meskwaki with 466 players. Iowan Matt Rolling was second ($65,325). He moved all-in with A-2 and Ramos snap-called with pocket eights, which held.

The MSPT returns to Meskwaki in July for the Iowa State Poker Championship.

GRAND FALLS CASINO: The MSPT returns the first week of May for a regional $350 main event in Northwest Iowa near Sioux Falls, S.D. This event has a $50K guarantee.

HORSESHOE COUNCIL BLUFFS: Well-known pro Blair Hinkle won a WSOPC ring in the $1,125 event April 6. This increases his ring total to three. He also owns a WSOP bracelet.

DIAMOND JO: The bad-beat jackpot in Worth was approaching $250K at press time.

Ohio/Western Pennsylvania

RIVERS CASINO: The Pittsburgh Poker Open ran March 1-14. The $1,100 main event drew 141 entries for a $136,770 prize pool. Greg Brietich of Coraopolis, Pa., took first place for $38,296, besting Ricky Ali ($23,251) of Oakdale, Pa., and Vince Isoldi ($14,498) of Presto, Pa. In addition to his main-event win, Brietich also took down the six-max event for $2,150.

Two other players also won two events each: Ryan Slanicka of New Kensington, Pa., ($6,459 and $1,862) and Justin Daley of Aliquippa, Pa. ($2,679 and $2,276).

In other PPO action, James Patterson of Coraopolis won the $250 Pittsburgh Hammer, besting the massive 621-player field. He took home $35,417 from the $175,650 prize pool. Winners of the other events were Robert Quigley of Allison Park, Pa., ($1,509), Brad Pietropola of Pittsburgh ($2,510), Joseph Crisanti ($2,308) and Joseph Herman of Greensburg, Pa. ($2,703).

THE MEADOWS: From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month, $300 will be awarded every hour for the high hand. Make a royal flush and win a progressive jackpot.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO COLUMBIS: The Hollywood Open runs until May 7; call the poker room for details.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO TOLEDO: Look for high hands every 30 minutes Thursdays (4-midnight), Fridays (4 p.m.- 2 a.m.), Saturdays (noon-2 a.m.) and Sundays (noon-10 p.m.). The minimum qualifying hand is aces full of deuces.

Michigan

FIREKEEPERS CASINO HOTEL: The Battle Creek property hosts the Mid-States Poker Tour from May 18-21. The main event sports a $300K guarantee and continues to be the state’s biggest tournament. The event in October had an $800K prize pool. Qualifiers run until the start of the main. For more information, call 269-660-5631 and see the ad at the right.

Wisconsin

CPC: Madison’s Jake Hommen topped a field of 1,793 entrants to win the Chicago Poker Classic’s $360 Event 1 for $87,281.

“I would like to give a big thank you to everyone who has been there for, with or against me throughout the years,” the cash-game pro said after the win. “As much as this is an individual sport, I could not have done it without the help from some really great poker friends.”

SYVERUD HEATER: Season 8 of the MSPT kicked off in January and Wisconsin’s Rick Syverud has three cashes: 56th in the Potawatomi regional for $927, 15th in the MSPT Running Aces for $4,841 and 17th at Meskwaki for $4,370.

Meet Eric Anderson

If you’ve played a Mid-States Poker Tour event, then chances are you’ve crossed paths with Minnesota’s Eric Anderson, known as @MSPTEric on Twitter. His title is Event Manager, but he’s really a Jack of all trades. From ensuring everything is up on time to running the RFID live stream final table, there’s not much he doesn’t do.

How did you first learn to play poker? I started playing five-card draw with my neighborhood friends in around second grade. I used my birthday money to buy a carousel of plastic Hoyle chips. In high school, we went to a friend’s Sunday night poker game for nickels, dimes and quarters. In 2000, I started playing online and hosting $20 Texas Hold’em tournaments in my home.

When and how did you start working for the MSPT? I purchased an RFID table in 2012 and was uploading videos from my home games to YouTube. I had played in some MSPT tournaments and knew Bryan Mileski from there. He reached out through Facebook and asked if I would want to come to the next main event and help him with his broadcast. My first event was February 2013 when Dave Gonia won the MSPT Running Aces. — Chad Holloway