The biggest poker tournament in New Mexico, a televised Heartland Poker Tour event on July 30 at Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque, produced even more excitement than anticipated.
The first-place prize of $71,875 went to none other than 2004 World Series of Poker champion Greg Raymer. Amateur Robert Crawford of El Paso, Texas, took second place ($42,500).
With its $250K guarantee, this $1,500 championship event attracted 131 players and created an overlay of $53,500. It was Raymer’s biggest score since winning third in a $40K event at the 2009 WSOP, and it boosted his career winnings to more than $7 million. The event will be the 200th episode of the HPT.
Other celebrities appeared at this HPT event: Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, Kathy Liebert, Craig Casino, John Sacha and Rob “veeRob” Perelman. But when the poker dust settled, the title belonged to Raymer: “It feels so much better when you win,” he said.
OTHER NEWS: The third annual Poker Championship Tournament will be at Hard Rock Albuquerque on Sept. 7-9, with house-provided $25K in prize money, champion’s bracelet, trophies and 20 places paid.
• Santa Ana Star begins a new promo this month called You Play, We Pay.
• Buffalo Thunder anticipates the opening of an all new room sometime this month.
• Inn of the Mountain Gods’ second annual poker championship on Sept. 28-30 boasts a first prize of $40K if sold out.
— Mary Bradley is Ante Up’s New Mexico Ambassador. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.