A few years back the only time a pro poker player came to Chicago was to change planes. But thanks to Caesars Entertainment, big-name players are making their way to Chicago these days. On May 21 the biggest name in poker, Doyle Brunson, paid a visit to Harrah’s Joliet poker room for its grand opening.
He spent the first evening signing books; then on Sunday ESPN radio’s Carman DeFalco interviewed the legend, peppering him with questions from his early days playing poker in Texas to advice on Internet poker. He was even asked who the best female poker player was, to which he said Jennifer Harman for cash games and Va-nessa Selbst for tournaments. When asked who the greatest player of all-time was, he said the late Chip Reese was the most well-rounded player he faced.
After the Q&A session, Brunson played at the final table of a freeroll where the winner earned World Series of Poker Main Event seat, plus $1,500 for travel expenses.
Harrah’s Joliet is the first poker room in the Chicago area to offer a mega and mini bad beat. To win the mega quad eights need to be beat by quad nines or better. The mini needs aces full of kings to be beaten by quads or better. At least four players need to be in the hand with a minimum of $20 in the pot. Seed money for the mega is $10,000 with $1,000 for the mini. The room has several hand promotions. Pocket aces cracked earns $50; royals (using both hole cards) win $150; straight flushes receive $100 and quads get $75. Match hand of the week pays $75. To win a player’s hand must match the hand posted in the poker room.
• Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Mich., recently reduced its rake on the PokerTek tables to a $3 max. The WPT poker room offers the best value for players in the Chicago area. They brought back their $.50/$1 blinds no-limit hold’em cash games with a $20-$100 min-max buy-in on the Tek tables. Last August the room added four live dealer tables, increased the max buy-in to $500 and minimum to $100 with their $1-$2 NLHE games. Since then their deep-stacked tables have become popular.
• Majestic Star, which just moved its poker room downstairs, will run $120 events with a $10,000 guaranteed prize pool (July 11, Aug. 8). For a limited time Majestic Star will run its “Big Money Weekend” promotion. Any full house that wins during the week gets an entry into a drawing held Fridays and Saturdays. Time and prize are 7 p.m., $100; 8 p.m., $200; 9 p.m., $200, and 10 p.m., $1,000. Winner must be present.
• Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee will run its $20,000 added tournament on July 31 at 10 a.m. Buy-in is $440 with an optional $30 add-on.This tournament is limited to 200 players, making the prize pool $100,000. Registration will end July 29. Potawatomi is running weekly hold’em tournaments (Sundays, 2 p.m., $110 with a $10 add-on; Monday bounty, 6:30 p.m., $110, $10 add-on, bounties are $20). For more info call 414-847-7605 or go to paysbig.com.
• The Windy City Poker Championship is back on the air Sunday nights at 9.
— “Chicago” Joe Gieturga is the Ante Up Ambassador for the Chicagoland area. You can email him at email@example.com.