Without Gullo, poker might not be in Chicago

July 24, 2013  

Not many people know the history of Chicagoland poker, and even fewer know Nick Gullo’s passion for poker was what transformed Chicagoland into one of the largest markets in the country.

As vice president of gaming at the Showboat in East Chicago, Gullo had a poker room in the plans during construction. In a meeting with the state’s gaming board, the question came up whether poker was regulated. Gullo, being knowledgeable of state regulations, loaded a poker table with supplies on a truck, brought it to the state capital and demonstrated how poker would be played.

The Showboat’s five-table poker room opened in April 1997, the busy room doubled in size by August and was the state’s busiest until 2008. In 2006, Gullo wrote the Guide to Operating a Professional Poker Room. Now at 71, he’s still active running tournaments in Las Vegas.

MAJESTIC STAR: Jerry Schweitzer, a 63-year-old pro from Indiana, topped 76 players to win the Summer Daze Deep Stack Main Event and $7K.

HARRAH’S: The poker room reduced its rake to $5 max on all games. “This was welcome news,” regular Dick Carlson said. “With the lowest rake in this part of the state, players will keep coming back.”

HORSESHOE: Aug. 8 will mark five years since the poker room opened, and in honor of that it will host a $350K guarantee five-year anniversary tournament Aug. 15-18. It will have three Day 1s with a $555 buy-in. Ten WSOPC main-event seats will be added to the final table, also 55 seats will be given away through different poker room promotions. … Steven Nicholson won the Saturday of the month event and $21K.

— “Chicago” Joe Giertuga is Ante Up’s Chicagoland Ambassador. Email him at chicago.joe@comcast.net.