The saga of the local poker game raided last summer in Camanche, Iowa, continues. The motion to dismiss based on the prosecutors taking longer than allowed to file an indictment was denied. Most of those charged then pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of third-degree illegal gambling and received a small fine and deferred judgment.
Charges are pending against the host, Adrian Deering. He’s charged with second-degree illegal gaming, a Class D felony, and keeping a gambling house, a misdemeanor. Deering has decided to dig in his heels and fight. He headed to court on Feb. 6, just after Ante Up deadline. Stay tuned for updates.
Nicholas Woolworth’s Gambling with Demons & Drinking with the Devil is Amazon’s best-selling poker book at the moment. The Chicago native, with an extraordinary talent in math, has a journey through high-stakes gambling, sports betting and blackjack fueled with a demoralizing alcohol problem.
He takes you from Chicago’s biggest underground poker games to playing the best players in the world in Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The book documents the pitfalls of early success with poker, yet gives you a detailed eye to what some gamblers can go through at the darkest of measures.
“Writing this book gave me an opportunity to revisit a journey I’ve tried to forget about over the years,” he said. “As therapeutic as it all was, it finally made me at peace with myself for a life that is now just a memory.”
WENZEL LEAVES POTAWATOMI: At the end of 2014, long-time poker industry veteran John “Johnny Quads” Wenzel, former editor of the now-defunct Poker Pro Magazine, left his position as supervisor at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s poker room in Milwaukee. Wenzel has moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he plans to write his second novel and play poker at the Horseshoe Casino.
LEGAL UPDATE: “Legal Poker in Wisconsin,” a grassroots effort by players seeking a declaratory judgment to define poker as a game of skill, received a boost in late January. Robert C. Hannum, a professor of risk analysis and gaming and an expert member of the Gaming Studies Research Center, fielded an expert-witness affidavit in favor of the plaintiffs.
“It is my considered opinion, based on my experience, on research that I have personally conducted, and on a review of the scholarly literature, that Texas Hold’em is a game in which skill predominates over chance in determining the outcome,” Hannum said. “Thus, in my opinion, it would be incorrect to describe Texas Hold’em as a game of chance.”
A judge is expected to rule on the matter later this year.
HPO: The Hollywood Open came to Toledo for the first time in January as the opening weekend event was a record-breaker, boasting 599 entries and an overall prize pool that doubled the $75K guarantee at $150,948. This was Event 4 of a 20-event slate. The winner, Jeff Greear, turned a $300 entry into $34,727.
WSOPC: The circuit hits Horseshoe Cincinnati March 19-30.
Fisher wins Ante Up Chicago event
Ante Up and the Windy City Poker Championship hosted the inaugural Ante Up Chicago Charity Classic, which benefitted Shady Oaks Camp in Tinley Park, Ill.
The $1,100 buy-in main event, which was broadcast online, drew 56 players from all over the country, including 2012 Ante Up world champ Don Bates, tells expert Zachary Elwood, Michael Steinberg, Ron Majers and Heartland Poker Tour champ Michael Puccio.
Ante Up’s Scott Long, Jason Sallman, Jason Finn and Elwood were in the broadcast booth doing commentary for the online broadcast.
“There was so much to like about this event, but the thing that will stick with me the most is how passionate the players were about their participation benefiting Shady Oaks Camp,” Long said. “It again reaffirms how big of hearts poker players have.”
The final four saw three locals and one of charity poker’s most familiar faces, columnist and film critic Richard Roeper. With Nick Hederman and Gary Carr eliminated, Roeper faced chipleader Paul Fisher, who was runner-up to Faraz Jaka in the 2011 WCPC’s High Roller Winner Take All Invitational. Fisher managed to come out on top of Roeper after a lengthy heads-up battle.
Steinberg who was in town from New Hampshire for the charity event, beat Bates to win the Windy City Poker League tournament. In 2012, Bates was runner-up to Chris Moneymaker at a WCPC event.
Al Cluver, who set a league record with five straight final tables, was third.
New for 2015, WCPC will broadcast live online with a delay on select final/featured tables.
“Players will have the opportunity to analyze their game under the cameras,” WCPC’s Kirk Fallah said. “This new technology can allow for us to have bigger low-buy-in events and give more players a chance to showcase their skills to a new audience.”
The next WCPC event is planned for April 11 with a live $2-$5-$10 cash game. Not too long after that will be the yearly $3K televised SNG, which will feature a lot of familiar faces and several new ones on the nationwide broadcast. For more information on how you can play, call 708-935-2861 or email kirk@windycitypokerchampionshi p.com.
AMERISTAR EAST CHICAGO: The inaugural Ameristar Challenge with a $50K guarantee has a $300 buy-in opening tournament, with four Day 1s. The $1K heads-up main event starts at noon on March 1 and will have a 32-player max. Two $150 tournaments, a seniors tourney and a pot-limit Omaha event round out the series.
HORSESHOE CASINO: The Council Bluffs property hosts a Run Good series March 4-8. The $675 main event will have a $100K guarantee. There also will be smaller events, including a $200 PLO rebuy on March 5.
MESKWAKI CASINO: The Mid-States Poker Tour returns to Tama on March 21-29 with a $300K guarantee.
FIREKEEPERS CASINO: The poker room hosts a $240 event on the second and fourth Sunday of each month at 12:15 p.m.
MOTOR CITY CASINO: Look for a $240 event on the first Sunday of each month at 4 p.m.
SOARING EAGLE: There’s a $275 event on March 28 at 1 p.m.
CANTERBURY PARK: Brady Roth of Eagan, Minn., took home $45,798 when he won the inaugural iNinja Poker $100K guarantee on Jan. 1-4. The $675 event drew 316 entries and generated a $183,912 prize pool. … Rajaee “Robbie” Wazwaz, riding a hot streak, won the Great Minnesota Freeze Out held at Canterbury Park Jan. 16-18. Wazwaz took home $41,109 of the $158,110 prize pool. The 163-player field included second-place finisher Deryl Young, who earned his first Hendon Mob cash ($22,135). Young took out several of the big names over the course of the event. Wazwaz also cashed in the iNinja event making this an impressive third cash in January putting him on pace to surpass his nine Hendon Mob cashes in 2014.
These cashes also move him up to 23rd in the Minnesota all-time money list with career earnings of $413,436.
iNinja Poker is a new league that gives seats to WSOP events and plans on hosting additional open events later this year.
RUNNING ACES: Wazwaz started his hot streak by winning the top prize of $36,297 in the Big Stack Avalanche tournament Jan. 9-11 as 297 players put up $500 to generate a $129,640 prize pool. Wazwaz improved on a second-place finish in 2014 and fifth place in 2013 for the same event. Mark your calendars for the Check Poker Shove Tour event April 1-5 (See ad in our March issue.)
The Mid-States Poker Tour’s regular winter stop at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells was labeled the Wisconsin State Poker Championship. The event, which ran Feb. 14-22, featured a $1,100 buy-in $200K guarantee main event. Look for results in a future issue.
In early September, the MSPT will visit Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee before returning to Ho-Chunk Wisconsin Dells in November.
Meet Jeff Gemini
Jeff Gemini, the poker room manager at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, has been in the casino business for 21 years.
How did you find yourself working in the poker industry? As a longtime table-games employee at Potawatomi, an opening in the management position in the poker room presented itself. At the time, the table-games director wanted a fresh perspective in the room and I was offered the job on an interim basis. After about a year, I was offered the job permanently in 2012.
I’ve enjoyed taking on that challenge head on and I think we’ve developed that room into a premier poker room in the region.
What makes your poker room different/special? Our players enjoy coming to our room because of its comfort. Even with 20 tables, which is large for poker rooms in the Midwest, we have a lot of space. Nobody ever feels like they’re on top of each other. We also feature friendly, knowledgeable dealers with tons of experience.
What has been the most satisfying experience of your career in poker? The biggest satisfaction I’ve had is partnering with MSPT to hold a tournament in our event center last September. That event raised the stakes and made us visible to a whole audience. We’ve elevated our tournament play because of that event’s success. — Chad Holloway