Friends go 1-2 at Heartland poker event in Michigan



The Heartland Poker Tour returned to Michigan in May at Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant. The main event hosted three Day 1s, culminating in a televised final table May 20. The $1,650 event drew 462 runners to generate a $662,280 pool.

Good friends Pat Steele of Chelsea, Mich., and Tom Midena from Jackson faced off for the title, which eventually went to Steele. They roomed together at the event. Midena is one of the hottest Michigan players, with a win in the Mid-States Poker Tour at Firekeepers Casino in March, a World Series of Poker Circuit win in April and now this runner-up finish.

“Pat is a really good friend of mine. We both play at the same charity room,” said Midena, who has $184,635 in tournament earnings in 2013.

Steele has been doing well in 2013, too, coming in fourth at the same final table at Firekeepers and then third at the MSPT at Wisconsin Dells. He won $155,636 for first at Soaring Eagle. Midena collected $96,031 for second.

The HPT will be back at Soaring Eagle for its championship open event in November.

— Frank Panama and Gambit Gras are Ante Up’s Michigan Ambassadors. They host the Michigan Poker Monster weekly podcast at You can email them at

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