Ohio poker scene just keeps on growing

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One of the first questions people ask me about poker in Ohio is when will it tail off? The interesting thing is mainstream casino brands such as Horseshoe and Hollywood are building demand in Ohio, not eating it up. The Horseshoe in Cleveland is still one of the busiest and most action-oriented casino poker rooms in the country. While there are surely regulars, there also are a number of new faces every day. One look at the Bravo Live app tells the story.

In Toledo numbers are holding firm in a much different poker market. Hollywood and the Horseshoe are opening a limited tournament schedule. In the biggest of these yet, Hollywood Casino’s Peter Lau posted the state’s first $10K-plus prize in the $300 buy-in Labor Day Poker Classic where Michael Ermie earned $11,135 while besting a field of 125 players.

The fall will bring many changes to the Ohio poker economy with the anticipated Columbus Day opening of the Hollywood in Columbus and the Sept. 8 opening of Buckeye Charity Poker, the Poker Tek charity poker complex just outside downtown Cleveland in Willoughby Hills.

For a long time, Franklin County has been home to official, above-board cardrooms and in Cleveland, there was the Nautica charity poker room, which was quickly eliminated by the Horseshoe. The effect of the Columbus Hollywood property has on the established rooms will be an interesting thing to watch. One thing we can be sure of: Ohio players will have plenty of options and opportunities to find a game.

— Dan Harkenrider is Ante Up’s Ohio Ambassador. He hosts the Division of Poker and Chris Moneymaker radio shows. Email him at anteupdan@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DivisionofPoker.