Indiana poker champion crowned at Hollywood

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Who’s the best poker player in the Hoosier State? That’s what folks at the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg intended to find out during the Indiana State Poker Championships. The ISPC, which ran Aug. 11-20 and culminated with the $1,500 main event, saw a remarkable increase in attendance.

“Tournament numbers just about doubled over last year,” poker room manager Thomas “TK” Kraus said. “The attendance and registration was simply a major success. When you have your opening day event with over 1,600 entries that is a great start. Every event showed an increase in numbers across the board. We set an attendance and prize-pool record for a regional event.”

The ISPC is just one of the many marquee events Hollywood posts each year.

“The ISPC was started when I was giving names to the events that we would be hosting during a calendar year,” Kraus said. “Knowing that the WPT would be our national event (Hollywood Poker Open) I wanted an identity for the regional events and thus was born Indiana State Poker Championships.”

The ISPC even drew 2005 World Series of Poker champ Greg Raymer, who won the Omaha/8 tournament. He also went deep in the main event. Other WSOP veterans in attendance included Dennis Phillips and 2007 WSOP main event champion Jerry Yang.

The big winner was James Wright of Fairfield, Ohio, who took home $71,195, a trophy and a TagHauer watch.

DENNY CRUM POKER OPEN: Hall-of-Famer and former Louisville men’s basketball coach Denny Crum held his yearly event at the Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Elizabeth, helping support the Denny Crum Scholarship Foundation. The series ran Aug. 18-27 and even included a H.O.R.S.E. and Omaha event. Craig “Smity” Smith of Shepherdsville won the main event for $24,243.

— Don Lawson is the Ante Up Ambassador for Kentuckiana. He’s a part-time journalist and avid poker player. He can be reached at anteupdon@gmail.com.

Indiana State Poker Championships

$1,500 Main Event
1. James Wright, Fairfield, OH, $71,195
2. Samuel Steele, Louisville, $53,195
3. Eli Loewenthal, Carmel, IN, $54,194
4. Justin Truesdell, Ewing, KY, $24,083
5. Dwayne Walters, Paragon, IN, $18,147
6. Jeffrey Rowland, Fortville, IN, $14,416
7. Charlie Cibula, River Forest, IL, $12,211
8. John Curry, Holbrook, NY, $10,854
9. Troy Gamble, Rockford, OH, $9,701

Denny Crum Open

Horseshoe S. Indiana
Aug. 18-27

Event 1 • $200 NLHE
Entrants: 414 • Prize Pool: $70,686
WINNER: Ben Grice, Radoff, KY, $7,321

Event 2 • $225 NLHE
Entrants: 160 • Prize Pool: $29,970
WINNER: Bhavin Patel, Liberty, KY, $6,500

Event 3 • $135 NLHE
Entrants: 212 • Prize Pool: $23,549
WINNER: Roger Branam, Knoxville, TN, $7,771

Event 4 • $135 NLHE
Entrants: 111 • Prize Pool: $11,687
WINNER: Stephen Binkley, Greenbrier, TN, $2,288

Event 5 • $135 NLHE
Entrants: 207 • Prize Pool: $22,962
WINNER: Rodney Dennis, Leitchfield, KY, $3,616

Event 6 • $135 NLHE
Entrants: 65 • Prize Pool: $6,284
WINNER: Marcus Wirth, Plainfield, IN, $2,513

Event 7 • $135 NLHE
Entrants: 188 • Prize Pool: $20,730
WINNER: Ernest Entin, Louisville, $6,841

Event 8 • $225 NLHE
Entrants: 122 • Prize Pool: $22,531
WINNER: Mark Bell, Louisville, $5,300

$600 Main Event
Entrants: 195 • Prize Pool: $101,790
WINNER: Craig Smith, Shepherdsville, KY, $24,243