Government expands poker options in Minnesota

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Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill that went into effect May 5, allowing Canterbury Park and Running Aces to increase the amount and variety of poker they can offer. The law also establishes a framework for the possible implementation of parimutuel simulcasting of horse races at tribal casinos. The Minnesota racing industry has been lobbying for “racinos” that would allow slot machines at the tracks, however tribal gaming interests have been opposed to that effort. As an alternative, both sides supported the recently passed legislation.

The cardrooms can increase poker, blackjack and other pit-game tables from 50 to 80. Also, the maximum bet size for poker is increased from $60 to $100, permitting larger limit and spread-limit games. The law also allows an unlimited number of tournament tables, enabling the rooms to run bigger tournaments more easily. According to Gregg Bartku, poker manager at Running Aces Harness Park, they received immediate approval from the Minnesota Racing Commission to open all of their existing 63 tables simultaneously. However, a new plan of operation needs to be approved by the MRC before they can enact the bigger betting limits, which Bartku expects will happen this month.

SPRING POKER CLASSIC: Blake Bohn won the main event (and Event 10) of the Running Aces Harness Park series that ran April 12-22. Bohn wasn’t the only player to follow the pattern of multiple deep runs. Kou Vang won Events 3 and 4 and took third in Event 13. Rose Kahnke won Events 1 and 8. Ed Janezich won Event 5 and finish second in Event 9. Eric Wright won Event 9, finish fourth in Event 5 and seventh in Event 10. Results are below.

HPT: Nas Al took top honors for $118,482 at Canterbury Park’s Heartland Poker Tour stop April 19-29. The $1,650 event boasted 333 entrants and a prize pool of $473,928, the biggest in Minnesota history.

— John Somsky is the Ante Up Ambassador for Minnesota. You can email him at john.somsky@gmail.com.

Spring Classic, Running Aces, April 12-22

Event 1 • $65 50-older
Entries: 58 • Pool: $2,796
Rose Kahnke, $1,062
Event 2 • $65 49-younger
Entries: 74 • Pool: $3,572
Aaron Madison, $1,321
Event 3 • $65 NLHE
Entries: 116 • Pool: $5,593
Kou Vang, $1,840
Event 4 • $230 Bounty
Entries: 127 • Pool: $12,286
Kou Vang, $3,994
Event 5 • $500 NLHE
Entries: 78 • Pool: $33,600
Ed Janezich, $12,432
Event 6 • $45 NLHE
Entries: 231 • Pool: $6,689
Larry Smith, $1,833
Event 7 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 123 • Pool: $11,931
John Marlowe, $3,877
Event 8 • NLHE freeroll
Entries: 231 • Pool: $5,390
Rose Kahnke, $1,479
Event 9 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 83 • Pool: $8,570
Eric Wright, $2,989
Event 10 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 126 • Pool: $12,222
Blake Bohn, $3,973
Event 11 • $180 Omaha/8
Entries: 48 • Pool: $6,984
Joe Konstan, $2,933
Event 12 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 115 • Pool: $11,155
Tim Votava, $3,672
Event 13 • $230 NLHE
Entries: 85 • Pool: $16,490
John Olson, $5,686
Event 14 • $125 NLHE
Entries: 108 • Pool: $10,476
Ray Dickerson, $3,510
Event 15 • $340 NLHE
Entries: 77 • Pool: $23,100
Christopher Chaffee, $8,547
$1,100 Main Event
Entries: 90 • Pool: $87,290
Blake Bohn, $31,424