Big poker events coming to the Ohio Valley

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This fall has seen lots of action start to build in the region. The biggest action on the cash-game front is running at Rivers, where $25-$50 is played regularly. There’s much more $5-$10 being played again, highlighted by a game that’s consistently running in Toledo.

Players from Detroit and Northeast Ohio are routinely showing up in these games. Overall, the games are coming back as players turn from the lakes, rivers and mountains to football and poker.

Across all casinos, we’re seeing increased play on the cash side and a variety of tournament action.

There are major events on the horizon, on the heels of the November PPO series at the Rivers that includes Poker Night in America. There’s much talk of March’s World Series of Poker Circuit at Horseshoe Cincinnati and a Hollywood Poker Open series for the early parts of 2015.

But first, the Ohio Poker Championship at Hollywood Casino in Columbus runs this month (Dec. 12-14). The $440 event gets you 15K chips and an optional $10 dealer add-on gets 5K more. Tournament play begins at noon and registration began Dec. 1 at the cashier cage. For more info, please see the ad at the right, or call the poker room.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Jack Schanbacher, who calls Rivers Casino home, has been a pro since 2005. He’s primarily a cash player but enters big tournaments as they come. In 2008, he was a top 10 World Poker Tour player while playing less than30 percent of the events of the average top-10 player. In 2009, he hit the road and experienced the brutal nature of touring and variance. Since then, he has settled into life as a high-stakes player. His favorite events are the PCA in the Bahamas, Borgata Opens and various WPT and WSOPC events and plays cash and main events. He was married in May 2013. I had a chance to chat with him recently.

What’s your best advice for up-and-coming players? Making the big fold, right or wrong, is about making the correct decision in the moment and not tilting off about it. Over the long term, you’re giving yourself the best chance to win.

What’s it like being a featured pro on Poker Night in America? It’s humbling and exciting being on the same stage as Phil Hellmuth and Matt Glantz. It’s truly an honor when people walk up to me and wish me the best. Being from Pittsburgh, you can really sense the support and energy from the local poker community that I respect and enjoy being part of. This region is part of who I am.”

What’s your favorite venue? Borgata.

— Dan Harkenrider hosts the Division of Poker and Chris Moneymaker radio shows. Email him at anteupdan@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DivisionofPoker.