Stammen pockets $87K, HPT title in Indiana

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

Kevin Stammen, a pro from Coldwater, Ohio, with more than $5M in career earnings, won the recent Heartland Poker Tour Main Event for $87K at Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, Ind.

“Everything went pretty well,” he said after the tournament. “I’m going to try to hang on to (the money). Maybe put it in some other tournaments.”

Early on at the nine-handed final table, Stammen faced an all-in bet on the river for his tournament life with three of a kind. His opponent, runner-up Bill Horsman, had the nut flush. After tanking for several minutes, Stammen made the disciplined fold and left himself with less than six big blinds. From there, he doubled up several times and took a commanding lead and never lost it.

Chicago native Gary Herstein’s seventh-place finish helped him take over the HPT Player of the Year top spot with one tournament left. The main event had 399 entries for a prize pool of $383K-plus.

Stammen also outlasted 484 entries to win $27K in the $300 Monster Stack opener. With those two HPT wins, he moved ahead of Greg Raymer, becoming Belterra’s all-time money-winner.

INDIANA NEWS: Caesars Entertainment will pay $1.7B for Anderson and Shelbyville racing and casinos along with three off-track parlors. Both casinos opened with electronic PokerPro tables, but only Shelbyville is still operating poker. 

BLUE CHIP: The poker room is paying high hands Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. You need quads or better to win and payouts start at $300. Every 1.5 hours $150 is added to the prize pool. Both cards must play. Call the poker room for details.

HARRAH’S JOLIET: Look for a Cover All Board promotion soon, pending approval. It starts with players winning $50 for having a straight flush or quads, then the hand is removed from the list and prize is increased $50. Both cards in hand must play and the promotion is reset every two weeks. Call the room for details.

HOLLYWOOD AURORA:  Justin Turner won a $10K package that included an Ante Up Poker Cruise package for two. The $25K freeroll awarded cash and 10 Ante Up Poker Cruise packages.

TROPICANA EVANSVILLE: The Mid-States Poker Tour regional visits Jan. 13-21. The $100K guarantee buy-in is $350.

WINDY CITY POKER CHAMPIONSHIP: Ed Blazer won the league points title and David Schultz won the championship tournament for a second time.

Minnesota

RUNNING ACES CASINO: Leo Fussy of St. Cloud, Minn., took home $22,340 after winning the $500 Big Turkey Tourney in Columbus. This is a repeat victory for Fussy, having won this event in 2015. He faced some tough competition at this final table, including Robert O’Connell, Erick Wright and Saad Ghanem.

This was Fussy’s third largest career cash, behind his win here in 2015 and a fifth-place finish in an MSPT event at Canterbury Park in 2014. It brings his career earnings to $215,511. The Big Turkey Tourney drew 202 players (169 last year) and generated a $88,173 prize pool.

HOF: The Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame committee plans to induct Bryan Mileski of Lakeville, Minn., as its newest member. In 2009, Mileski founded and subsequently grew the Minnesota State Poker Tour and Minnesota Poker Magazine.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to be inducted into the Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame,” he said.

The FireKeepers Casino poker room in Battle Creek, Mich., hosts its Tournament of Champions Grand Finale event on Jan. 27 for qualified players who were at the top of the leaderboard for 2017.

This freeroll has a $55K guarantee and pays $20K for first. The TOC is a point-system competition where three tournament buy-in levels can qualify. See the poker room for details.

FireKeepers alternates between a $120 tournament the first and third Sundays of the month, a $240 deepstack the second and fourth Sunday, and a $400 deepstack every fifth Sunday of the month.

MGM DETROIT: The poker room has introduced $50 Splash Pots every 15 minutes. The promotion runs Monday-Thursday 5 a.m.-4:45 p.m.  The poker room also hosts two bounty tournaments each week: a $220 event on Saturdays at 2 and a $120 event on Sundays at 2. The bad-beat jackpot was $128K at press time.

MOTOR CITY: The bad-beat jackpot (quads) was a whopping $983K at press time.

Ohio/Western Pennsylvania

JACK CASINO CINCINNATI: A new schedule for regular weekly and monthly hold’em tournaments begins Jan. 1. The first Saturday of each month (11:15 a.m.) will be a $400 event with a $50K guarantee.

The remaining Saturdays will feature an $80 deepstack turbo. The same event will run Friday evening at 6:15.
In addition, $80 turbos will be at 11:15 a.m. Monday-Friday and 6:15 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays.

There will be a $160 tournament with a $10K guarantee twice a week: Sunday mornings at 11:15 and Wednesday evenings at 6:15. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6:15 p.m. will be a $120 tournament with a $4K guarantee.

JACK CASINO CLEVELAND: On Jan. 25-28, the Cleveland Open will have a $1,100 event with a $200K guarantee. Look for $260 satellites and $65 super-satellites through Jan. 24.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO TOLEDO: The $6-$12 fixed-limit Omaha-Omaha/8 cash game is going strong. Every time a player scoops a pot of $60 or more, a kill goes into effect, increasing the stakes to $10-$20 for the next hand. Comps are $2 per hour. This featured game runs Mondays at 4 p.m., and Thursdays at 5.

MEADOWS CASINO: The Heartland Poker Tour visited the Washington, Pa., property Oct. 26-Nov. 5. The main event was a $1,100 tournament with a $200K guarantee, which was shattered when 462 entrants turned out, bloating the prize pool to $448,140. On the final hand, Austin Wentling of Monroeville, Pa., held a pair of deuces and John Yocca of Venetia, Pa., was all-in with A-Q. Yocca was pleased when the turn brought an ace. But, like a true Monroeville zombie, Wentling “came back from the dead” with a deuce on the river to complete his set and claim the $102,248 top prize. Yocca won $62,502 and third place went to Josh McFall of Pittsburgh ($41,431).

Iowa

MESKWAKI CASINO: In the first week of November, the MSPT made its third stop of the year here and Max Havlish from Coon Rapids, Minn., took home the top prize of $90,152. In the runner-up spot was Victor Hoffman of Onslow, Iowa. Hoffman received $55,730 for second. This event drew another large crowd with 424 entrants. The prize pool blew by the $300K by nearly 50 percent. The MSPT will return with another $300K guarantee in March.

RIVERSIDE CASINO: The annual Cold Turkey Poker Showdown drew 144 entries for the main event and Chad Willett claimed the top spot and the $7,102 prize. Jim Martin won the Omaha/8 tourney and Bryan Bresler won the bounty event.

DIAMOND JO CASINO: The main bad-beat jackpot at the Worth property was $150K at press time.

PRAIRIE MEADOWS: The bad-beat jackpot was $127K-plus at press time.

HORSESHOE COUNCIL BLUFFS: The Holiday Poker Classic’s $350 main event runs until Jan. 7 with a $50K guarantee. Call the poker room for satellite and schedule details.

Q CASINO: The Dubuque property is hosting a $330 tournament Jan. 27.

Wisconsin

POTAWATOMI HOTEL & CASINO: In early November, Illinois’ Rich Bai topped a field of 701 entries to win $139,086 at the MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship in Milwaukee. It marked the largest major tournament ($1K-plus buy-in) in state history.

HOLD’EM FOR LITERACY: The latest charity event at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells attracted 105 entries, which meant 10 spots were paid. The top three players chopped with Joe Scarpelli and Mary Ryan each getting $867, while Darrell Peterson got $866. Through the buy-ins, $10,500 was raised for charity, but with the silent auction items, $12,500 was raised for the Madison Reading Project. Troy Taylor busted celebrity guest and former Green Bay Packers receiver Antonio Freeman and received an autographed football. 

EXPANSION CONTINUES: A federal judge dismissed the Ho-Chunk Nation from a lawsuit filed by rival tribe Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans, owners of North Star Casino Resort. The latter tribe was seeking to stop expansion of Ho-Chunk’s casino in Wittenberg by citing gaming compact violations.
OBIT: Ex-Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells poker room floorman Shawn Poellinger died Oct. 31.

Meet Heidi Roggenkamp

Originally from Minnesota but now living in Fargo, N.D., Heidi Roggenkamp is one of the most competitive recreational players in the North Star State. She’s a mother of two adult children and owns a mom-and-pop-style diner, but at the table she’ll keep you smiling while taking your chips. She was voted the best female player at the Minnesota Poker Awards in 2014 and 2015 and won MN Poker Magazine’s Female Player of the Year in 2011.

How did you start playing poker? I learned card games as a kid from my grandpa. I guess I got into hold’em during the “boom” when it was on TV and the bar leagues started.

What do you like most about poker? I love the diversity and social aspect at the table. You get players from every demographic, social circle, income bracket and age group. People who would never interact with each other all come together for a common interest and end up becoming friends. It’s great.

What is your biggest poker achievement? My HPT final table on TV. I ended up placing second but I had a blast.
– John Somsky