HPO kicks off in Columbus, Ohio on April 24

March 31, 2018, Brian Bly, Josh Jetton, John Somsky, Joe Giertuga, Chad Holloway  

The Hollywood Poker Open at the Hollywood Casino in Columbus, Ohio, kicks off April 24 and continues through May 6, featuring $500K in guarantees. The $550 main event has a $250K guarantee with Day 1 flights May 4-5, concluding May 6. Satellites will be available earlier in the week.

The $350 event sports a $150K guarantee with Day 1 flights on April 27-28 and satellites.

Other events include a $150 Big-Blind Ante (April 24); $100 Rebuy Madness (April 25); $200 seniors (April 29); $250 Double Green Chip Progressive Bounty (April 30); $200 PLO May 1), and $200 Big-Blind Ante (May 2).

SHARK TANK POKER CLUB: The Spring Tournament Series in Columbus runs the first week in April, with one event per day: April 2, Rebuy Mania ($110, $10 optional dealer add-on), $5K guarantee; April 3, PLO ($140, $10 add-on), $4K guarantee; April 4, HORSE ($230, $10 add-on), $4K guarantee; April 5, Team Tournament ($235, $15 add-on), $5K guarantee; April 6, $10K in a Day ($190, $10 add-on), $10K guarantee, and April 7, Black Chip Bounty ($230, $10 add-on), $6K guarantee.
Additional details are on sharktankpokerclub.com.

JACK CASINO CINCINNATI: The April Showers cash-game promotion begins April 2 and runs every four days through April 30. High-hand bonuses of $400 will be paid every 30 minutes during designated times.
For more, go to jackentertainment.com.

Michigan

FIREKEEPERS CASINO: The winner of the Tournament of Champions freeroll was Scott Davis, of Battle Creek, Mich., winning $20K. Jack Baumgartner, of Spring Lake, Mich., won the $350 Black Chip Bounty on Feb. 18. In beating out a field of 296 players, he earned $14K.

The poker room will host its Fifth Sunday $500 tournament at 10 a.m. April 29. Registration will open a week in advance of the event.

Beginning April 1, players with 30 hours of tracked live play will win FireKeepers ball caps while supplies last.

Also, ask about the $250 high hands that are paid every four hours.

Finally, see the ad on Page 35 for details on the Mid-States Poker Tour event, which returns in May.

MOTOR CITY: High hands are Tuesdays and Wednesdays and there is a progressive jackpot for all royals that use both hole cards. The bad-beat jackpot was $601K at press time.

MGM DETROIT: The poker room hosts two bounty tournaments each week. A $220 event on Saturdays at 2 and a $120 event on Sundays at 2.

Until June 29, the poker room has introduced $50 splash pots every half-hour, Monday-Friday. Call for details.

Minnesota

Mark Collins of Moro, Ill., outlasted a field of 491 runners to take home the trophy and $102,076 at the $1,100 Mid-States Poker Tour event at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.

“I play maybe once a month, $100 buy-in tournaments, that’s about it,” Collins said after the win. “I’ve played three or four of these MSPTs.” Collins faced some tough competition on the final table. WSOP bracelet- and ring-winner John Reading finished sixth ($19K) for his 11th MSPT cash and fourth final table. Aaron Johnson of Red Wing, Minn., finished fourth ($34K), making an impressive 19 MSPT cashes and four final tables in his career.

Canterbury Park poker dealer Sherry Hammers finished third ($45K), her largest career cash. Collins held a big lead when heads-up play began with Robert Van Syckle, a familiar face in the weekly tournaments at Minnesota poker rooms.

Collins won when his A-6 outflopped Van Syckle’s A-Q. Before this win, Collins had just $3K in career earnings. This was the second largest MSPT event at Canterbury Park and it generated a $474,770 prize pool.

RUNNING ACES CASINO: Steve Houle of White Bear Lake, Minn., took home $30,526 from the For the Love of Money Tournament at in Columbus. Michael Bourke took home $21,895 after chopping heads-up with Houle. This was the largest career cash for both. Local pro David Gonia and tournament regular Henry Mlekoday also made the final table. The $500 buy-in drew 430 entrants and generated a $125,130 prize pool.

Chicagoland

WINDY CITY POKER CHAMPIONSHIP: Michael Hahn won the $3K televised main event for $19K-plus. The Carmel, Ind., native has been successful in his trips to Chicagoland, winning his second $3K televised event and capturing an HPT main event in 2016. Runner-up Kevin Warner, who entered the main event through a freeroll, won $9K-plus.

“I’m happier than hell just to be here,” Warner said as he was being seated at the televised final table.
James Battaglia won his fourth league points championship.

Ed Blazer won the championship tournament.

GRAND VICTORIA: The bad-beat jackpot was nearly $120K (aces full of queens) at press time.

HORSESHOE SOUTHERN INDIANA: The Midwest Regional Poker Championship is April 5-15. High waters created from February’s rain and melting snow caused the poker room to be closed for a brief period, but it re-opened at press time.

The Tournament Player of the Year promotion keeps track of all weekly winners and creates a monthly leaderboard. Top five players in points will win cash from a $15K prize pool as first will be awarded $5K. A monthly $500 prize is awarded to the player with the most points. Call the poker room for more details.

HOLLYWOOD AURORA: The bad-beat jackpot was near $100K at press time. The HCA Poker Classic is July 29 with a $100K guarantee. To buy-in directly costs $700 or you can be one of the top five players from each Sunday’s qualifying tournaments. Call the poker room for details.

CHARITY EVENT: Ben Ponzio won the $10K WSOP main-event seat at the Chicago Lighthouse’s second annual Raising the Stakes for Vision poker tourney. The event helped raise more than $100K for programs and services benefitting those who are blind, visually impaired, disabled or veterans.

Wisconsin

WSOPC: In early February, the World Series of Poker Circuit wrapped up its second stop at Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All but one of the dozen rings went to Midwest players with Florida’s T.K. Miles being the outlier after winning the $2,200 high roller for $63,599.

Meanwhile, five of the rings went to Wisconsin players: Madison’s Michael Wolff won Event 1 ($365 NLHE) for $24,286; Greenfield’s Brant Graves got Event 4 ($580 NLHE) for $16,199; Madison’s Lee Rzentkowski captured Event 5 ($365 six-max) for $21,609; Madison’s Eddie Blumenthal earned the Event 9 title ($365 turbo) for $19,623, and Janesville’s Josh Reichard won Event 11 ($365 turbo) for $19,547 and his ninth ring.

As for the 32-year-old Blumenthal, he had three other cashes, including a deep run in the main event, to win the Casino Championship honors, earning him a seat in the Global Casino Championship.

Finally, pro Keven Stammen topped a field of 604 entries to win the $1,675 main event for $190,265 and his first ring. The last remaining Wisconsin player in the field was Madison’s Steven Pike, who finished 10th for $14,206.

HO-CHUNK GAMING WISCONSIN DELLS: The $250 Presidents Day tournament attracted 50 entries, which created an $11K prize pool.

Al Chiozzi and Dave Grandin chopped heads-up for $3,850 apiece.

Others to get paid were Winston Ackerman (third, $1,650), Roger Niewiadomski (fourth, $1,100) and Alex Hill (fifth, $550).

Meet Kirk Fallah

Kirk Fallah’s Windy City Poker Championship is the first and only poker TV show based in Chicagoland. Fallah has helped several charities by bringing in poker’s biggest names, including world champs Chris Moneymaker and Jerry Yang.

How did you get interested in starting a poker show? In 2007, I was trying to work with the local casinos to put on a poker show after becoming a fan of the World Poker Tour. I was working in the film and television industry and the way I would relax after work would be by playing in home games with friends.
After the casino meetings went nowhere, I decided to produce a pilot episode. Fast-forward another year and and I offered to put a friend’s charity poker event on television.

Since then, working with NBC Sports Channel Chicago, I have produced 40-plus programs and plan to continue as long as I can.

Who was the most memorable person you had on the show? (The late) Chad Brown not only is the most memorable person I have had the opportunity to know and work with, he’s the one person who helped launch me to where I am today. Working with (Ante Up’s) Chris Cosenza and Scott Long, they introduced me to him while working on his first Chad Brown Poker Championship in Jacksonville, Fla.
My company was hired to produce the final table for broadcast television and it was a great success.
Chad was a great player, of course, but also a great personality at the table and a very generous man.

What do you enjoy most about running charity events? Knowing where the money goes and who it helps. A lot of these organizations don’t have the resources or experience to run an event to generate revenue and are in need of as much funding as they can. By working with WCPC, they get maximum return on minimal effort thanks to the Illinois Charitable Games Act. — Joe Giertuga