On May 26 Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill that tasks the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission with performing a study of the pros and cons of state regulation of Internet poker. While a long way from passing online poker regulation, this is a sign the state is taking the possibility seriously. Most active players view this as a step in the right. The report is due by the end of the year.
• Elsewhere in Iowa, the Mystique Casino in Dubuque started a $2-$5 no-limit hold’em cash game on Wednesday evenings that has become popular with reports of good action. Previously you’d seldom find a full table on Wednesdays for the $1-$2 game, but with the step up to $2-$5 the room has two tables running for most of the night. This game can be difficult to get into at times so if you want to join and are traveling far be sure to call ahead to get on the list. Unlike some of the other area casinos Mystique accepts call-ins. The direct number to the room is (563) 585-2964. The rest of the week the regular games are at the $1-$2 level.
• Prairie Meadows Casino paid the largest bad-beat jackpot in its history ($215,199) on May 20.
Holding four 10s, winner George Papas of Urbandale, Iowa, emerged with $107,599. Jodie Sinclair of New Zealand earned $53,808 with a queen-high straight flush in hearts.
“Our new bad-beat jackpot is over $100,000,” director of table games Hector Morales said. “In March 2012 our new 168-room hotel will be completed to cater to our clientele from around the country.”
• In the far northwest corner of Iowa a new casino, Grand Falls Casino and Resort in Larchwood, opened June 9. It’s six miles from Sioux Falls, S.D. and will have an eight-table poker room. I spoke with poker room manager Todd Slager and was impressed with his open-mindedness. He wants to get things started and wait to see what’s popular so watch for some initial changes as he tweaks the offerings over the first few months. They’ll start with a bad-beat jackpot of quads or better. Tournaments start July17 and the preliminary schedule is NLHE on Thursday at 6 p.m. ($40) and Saturday at noon ($60). Mondays feature Omaha/8 event at 11 a.m. ($30). He said he’ll spread any cash game that finds interest but expects to start with $1-$2 and $2-$5 NLHE and stud/8. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org om.
— Ken Warren is the Ante Up Ambassador for Iowa. You can email him at email@example.com.