Six weeks of St. Louis tourney poker comes to an end

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The second annual Hollywood Poker Open was March 7-16 at Hollywood Casino St. Louis and former world champ Chris Moneymaker was the star of the $1,800 main event.

Moneymaker, the HPO ambassador, not only played in a nightly $5-$10 no-limit hold’em cash game, he bested 66 players to win the title, $36,259 and a seat to the HPO Championship in Las Vegas this summer.

“We made an effort to provide a unique tournament structure that would provide a game for every type of poker player and these players continue to positively comment about this year’s overall HPO format,” VP of casino operations Doug Lang said. “In all, we are very pleased with the progression of the HPO as the popularity of this tournament continues to build.”

The prize pool was $106,643. Moneymaker was followed by Frank Wyville from Wellington, Ala., ($22,395); James Basham from O’Fallon, Mo., ($17,063); Todd Bartlett from of Dallas City, Ill., ($10,664); Shabtai Moria of O’Fallon ($8,531); Jovan Sudar of Omaha ($6,399) and Todd Metheny of St. Louis ($5,332).

WSOPC: The World Series of Poker Circuit returned to St. Louis after being absent last year. Lumiere Place hosted its first tournament series from March 20-31 and provided substantial floor space to expand the poker room. This series included a number of notable events.

Event 2 had a $365 buy-in and two starting flights with re-entry. It drew 813 players and a prize pool of $243,900. Local player Andrew Thompson from Fenton, Mo., finished first for $47,570. Ari Engel, the recent Heartland Poker Tour winner in St. Louis, made the final table in Event 5. Other well-known players cashing during the series included Dennis Phillips (Event 6), Bernard Lee (Event 10) and Allen Kessler (main event).

The $1,675 main event, which had a $624K prize pool, became a heads-up battle that lasted more than 10 hours. Robert “Uncle Krunk” Panitch outlasted Robert Edelstein to win $137,283 and a seat to the WSOPC national championship.

— Email Don at anteupdonm@gmail.com.